The First amendment rights do not make provision for the legal protection of the images of child pornography, thus they are considered as illegal contraband under the Federal law. Child pornography is the visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct that involves a person under the age of 18 - a minor (Section 2256 of Title 18, United States Code). Such visual depictions are videos, photographs, digital or computer generated images that share close resemblances with an actual minor, as well as images created, modified, or adapted, but which suggests or represents an identifiable, actual minor. Similar illegal visual depictions under federal law include undeveloped videotape and film, and electronically stored data from which a visual representation of child pornography can be made.
It is important to specify that an image does not have to necessarily show a child engaging in sexual activity before it is considered as a sexually explicit conduct under the law. A picture of a naked child that is sufficiently sexually suggestive is an illegal child pornography. In the same vein, it doesn’t matter what the age of consent for sexual activity in a specific state is, so far the depiction is that of a minor under the age of 18 engaging in sexually explicit conduct, it is illegal.Surprisingly, many people finding themselves in the situation of being investigated or charged for a crime and require the assistance of a child pornography lawyer in their area.For offenders that have been once convicted, there are more severe penalties.
Violating a federal child pornography law is considered a serious crime and several severe statutory penalties are applicable. For instance, a statutory minimum of 15 and maximum of 30 years imprisonment can be slammed on a first-time offender if convicted of creating child pornography (18 U.S.C. § 2251). If a person is convicted of transporting child pornography in interstate or foreign commerce (18 U.S.C. § 2251) for the first time, such a person may be asked to pay fines as well as serve a statutory minimum of 5 years and maximum of 20 years in prison.
The same holds for aggravated situations of child pornography offense where the images are declared violent, masochistic, or sadistic in nature, where the minor was abused, or where the offender has been convicted for child sexual exploitation before. The maximum sentence in these circumstances is life imprisonment.
The prosecution of an offender can come under the state child pornography laws only or the federal law. In some cases, the two may be combined.