There are many protections under California law meant to ensure the safety of minors and apprehend those who violate such laws. One of these measures is the active pursuing of those who deal with child pornography. The California penal code has addressed all the ways someone could be involved with child pornography in section 311, and this includes knowingly possessing pornography that involves minors, making a minor engage in pornography (through whatever means necessary), developing/reproducing/exchanging the pornography, and intending to distribute the pornography.
Common to all of the specific laws are several elements that legally define child pornography. These include specific matter or material that explicitly depict the real or simulated sexual conduct of a minor under the age of 18 years. Furthermore, it is critical that the accused must have had knowledge that the nature and material include sexual conduct of a minor.
A Brief Summary of Convictions
In many TV crime shows they show the police handling the computer of a suspect and finding child pornography on it. This is a crime under California PC 311.11 and deals with the possession of child pornography. In such a case, the accused must have known that the material they possessed or controlled contain child pornography.If the defendant is convicted under this law, they face a wobbler penalty. For first-time offenders, it is a misdemeanor conviction that involves serving up to a year in jail. However, if the defendant faces a felony, they will face a longer sentence in a California state prison. If it is their first offense, they will serve up to 3 years in prison, but for those with a prior history, it is up to 5 years in prison.
Furthermore, according to PC 311.4(a), if an individual hires a minor to engage in sexual conduct for the purpose of creating child pornography, they can face a wobbler offense. It is important to prove that the defendant was aware that the person they were hiring was indeed a minor. Given that it is a wobbler offense as well, a felony conviction requires spending up to 3 years in jail and paying a fine, whereas a misdemeanor conviction only has a one-year sentence in jail with a lesser fine.