Not all pornography is legal.
Specifically, possession of child pornography is a serious offense that can land a person in prison, even if it is that person’s first time being accused of a crime.
Under federal law, child pornography includes any image of anyone under 18 that is “sexually explicit.” This rule is without regard to the age of consent in Hawaii, which is 16.
It is important to remember that prohibited images do not have to be especially violent or sexual. In the right context, even a picture of a child who is not fully clothed can be illegal.
Federal penalties for child pornography are significant. Someone involved in the production of child pornography may wind up in prison for decades. Someone who shares these images, even one time through an online site, will face a minimum five-year prison term.
Penalties at the state level are also serious
Even someone who simply has these images on their computer can face felony charges under Hawaii law. The maximum prison sentence is five years under state law. As is the case with federal law, the penalties get more severe if the person was involved in manufacturing or distributing illegal pornography.
These penalties can apply per image.
As a result, someone accused of possessing many images of child pornography may be looking at what amounts to a lifetime in jail.
In addition to prison, child pornography charges can lead to fines and other penalties, including the possibility of very strict parole, probation or supervised release.
The person convicted may also have to register as a sex offender. Doing so will impose several restrictions on the person.
Finding work after being convicted of a child pornography offense can be difficult. Many trades and professions will be legally off-limits.
Those accused of crimes related to child pornography should know their options
Those accused of crimes related to child pornography may have a number of legal options available to them.
In some cases, they may have a defense. In other cases, authorities may have not lawfully collected evidence for their case.
Given the seriousness of charges related to child pornography, those accused should make sure they understand their rights and their alternatives.