California laws governing Internet content are complex. Various agencies with different criteria and penalties can become involved and a criminal defense law firm in California is beneficial in working through the complicated possibilities
In 1996 the Communications Decency Act was passed at the Federal level. This act attempts to control the transmission, production, and possession of materials that are “indecent.” Many portions have been found to be in violation of the First Amendment, but guidelines regarding decency remains in effect.
Contemporary community standards determine the material that is “patently offensive.” The problem is that each community has a different idea of that means. The Internet creates confusion because of the availability of material. A great deal of Internet content comes from countries that do not regulate content and allow for free enterprise of materials.
This means that while it may be OK for someone to possess and sell certain content in one state or country, distributing it to another state or country may be a crime. Crossing State or national boundaries in possession of some content may also be a crime.
While states may define the age of a minor as anywhere between 17 and 21, Federal law considers a minor anyone under 18. Possessing, distributing or producing material of explicit content involving a minor carries stiff sentences. Offenders may be prosecuted using state laws, Federal laws, or a combination of both. Penalties for first time offenders range from 5 – 30 years mandatory jail time along with stiff fines, depending on content. Help from a criminal defense law firm in California is important if there is an accusation.
Laws involving adult are more difficult to navigate. Community standards for decency may include many different facets, including the use of animals and violence. Convicted violators of laws involving explicit materials can become sex offenders
Being a convicted sex offender is a life-altering situation that can make employment and living difficult.
- Having a sex offense on a background check limits the kinds of jobs available. Working in schools, churches, nursing homes, or environments where patrons or participants may be vulnerable is generally not allowed for sex offenders.
- Areas in which landlords accept such tenants are also limited. Some cities have strict ordinances, even if the state or Federal guidelines allow for more liberty.
- Sex offenders must register in the national sex offender registry. The term of registration is between 10 years and life, meaning that every time an offender moves they must register their new address, and many offenders are required to register annually whether they move or not. Failure to register could be considered a Federal crime and is a felony.
- Depending on local ordinances and laws, additional requirements for tracking offenders who live in their boundaries are also part of a sentence.
Lack of clarity involving content make both prosecution and defense difficult. People finding themselves accused of crimes involving Internet pornography should seek advice from a Criminal Defense Attorney Los Angeles, CA right away.