Crimes relating to the possession, making, selling and distribution of pornography are taken so seriously in Illinois that most child pornography offenses are classified as Class 1 felonies, which can result in imprisonment for four to fifteen years and a fine of between $1,000 and $100,000.
If you have been charged with a pornography offense, you need the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney who is fully dedicated to protecting your interests and knows what it takes to reach a favorable outcome. At Wolfe & Stec, Ltd., our experienced and compassionate Illinois pornography defense lawyers provide aggressive representation for clients throughout the DuPage County (Naperville, Woodridge) and Cook County (Chicago / Chicagoland) region who are facing criminal pornography charges. We offer a free consultation and examine every aspect of your situation to see where we can help.
Pornography is considered to be material, often photographs or movies, which is designed to sexually arouse a person. Much of this material is legal since the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States gives people the rights to freedom of speech or expression, and this allows us to read and write whatever we choose. Therefore, generally adults are allowed to own or even make or publish pornography.
However, certain types of pornography are illegal. For example, the courts have decided that the First Amendment does not protect obscenity, or child pornography. Child pornography includes the portrayal, through film, photographs or other media, of children under the age of 18, or of severely intellectually disabled people engaged in acts that show or simulate sexual activity, such as penetration, oral sex, masturbation, sexual fondling or touching, and excretion or urination of a sexual nature.
Generally, obscenity is sex-related material that goes beyond mere nudity. The basic test used to determine if something is obscene asks:
Under this standard, obscenity shows “hard core” sexual conduct that’s clearly and plainly offensive. However, the standard may change in various states and cities, depending on what the members of that community determine is obscene.
In Illinois, statute 720 ILCS 5/11-20.1 makes it a crime to knowingly possess, produce, make, or distribute films, photographs or other material that is child pornography. It is also a crime to solicit, use, persuade, induce, entice, or force a person under the age of 18 or a person who is severely or profoundly intellectually disabled to perform in child pornography (720 ILCS 5/11-20.1(a)(4), (a)(7)).
In addition, while as of January 1, 2011, minors who are caught sexting will generally not be charged under the State’s child pornography laws, minors who are caught possessing or distributing a sexually explicit image of a minor can be arrested and tried in juvenile court. Adults 18 or older who are caught exchanging or requesting sexually explicit images with or from a minor will still be prosecuted under the State’s child pornography laws and, if convicted, will be required to register as a sex offender.
Here are some examples:
Most offenses are Class 1 felonies, which may result in prison terms of 4-15 years. However, if film or other moving depictions are involved, the charge may be increased to a Class X felony, with a possibility of imprisonment for up to 30 years, or in some cases 60 years. If the children depicted in the pornographic material are under the age of 13, a charge of production, dissemination or solicitation for child porn is also a Class X felony.
A charge of possessing child pornography that is not film is a Class 3 felony, with a prison term of 2-5 years. If film is involved, the charge becomes a Class 2 felony with 3-7 years in prison.
If you have prior convictions in any state, charges may be elevated. These include convictions for aggravated child pornography, aggravated criminal sexual abuse, aggravated criminal sexual assault, predatory criminal sexual assault of a child, deviate sexual assault, indecent liberties with a child, and aggravated indecent liberties with a child.
In addition, since June 1, 2015, there is a “revenge porn” law in Illinois — so called because intimate photos and videos are commonly distributed by a former romantic partner —that punishes offenders with 1-3 years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000.
For conviction of pornography felonies, possible fines range from $1,000 to $100,000 (720 ILCS 5/11-20.1(c)).
If you have been charged with the possession, manufacture, production or distribution of child pornography, you need legal counsel to advise you on any defenses that apply in your particular case. For example, we may be able to prove that you took action to make a “bona fide inquiry” regarding the child’s age or whether the person involved was intellectually disabled, and reasonably relied on the information obtained before getting involved with anything that would be considered child pornography
The Illinois seasoned sex-crimes defense attorneys at Wolfe & Stec, Ltd., are skilled trial lawyers with extensive experience handling complex criminal cases. Our team is trusted and respected in the community. When we take on a criminal case, we gather information quickly and look at all viable defense options. Based on the facts of the case, we make a decision about a legal strategy and pursue it vigorously.
We know the judges and the court system and will aggressively explore every avenue for your defense. We work hand in hand with our clients, explaining all elements of the case and the processes involved in an effective defense strategy. Our goal is always to minimize the negative impact of the situation and to focus on protecting your freedoms, liberties and rights.
Don’t delay — contact us for a free consultation today at 630-305-0222 if you have been accused of any pornography charges. We represent clients in DuPage County, Naperville, Aurora, Wheaton, Downers Grove and Bolingbrook, and the greater Chicagoland area. Your free initial consultation can be scheduled at our office.