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Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney
Former Cook County Felony Prosecutor

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Possessing Child Porn in IL: What Does It Mean?

The issue of child pornography is something that is of great concern to the general public as well as law enforcement. That’s why the laws surrounding the crime are decisive and strict, and the definition of what constitutes child pornography and its possession is clearly spelled out under the current laws.

What does it mean to possess child pornography in Illinois? What types of penalties are associated with this crime? These are important questions for every citizen, so read on to find out the answers.

What Is Child Pornography?

The state of Illinois defines child pornography as photographs, videos, films, or other visual mediums that depict a child or someone with a severe intellectual disability in one of these situations:

  • Engaged in sexual conduct either with someone or alone
  • Engaged in conduct that involves sex organs
  • Engaged in masturbation
  • Portrayed as an object of lewd touching or fondling
  • Engaged in an act involving excretion in a sexual context
  • Engaged in a pose or in a setting that involves the exhibition of them in an undressed state

Child pornography charges will be considered aggravated if the child in the above material is under the age of 13.

What Does It Mean to Possess Child Pornography?

Under the law in Illinois, you cannot legally have in your possession materials that depict child pornography such as videos or photos.

Of course, the term possession has a legal definition, which is that the person accused of possessing child pornography must know or have a reason to know that they are in possession of it.

If you don’t know that you are in possession of material that depicts someone under age 18 in a sexual way, then it’s not a crime in the state. The knowledge of having that material in your possession is the lynchpin of the crime – and necessary to charge someone in the state.

What Are the Penalties for Child Pornography?

What Are the Penalties for Child Pornography?

If prosecutors can prove that someone had knowledge of the possession of child pornography, then they have a case that can lead to a conviction. Those convicted of child pornography possession can face one of two versions of the crime and their associated penalties.

Class X Felony

Possession of child pornography that involves the possession of video, film, or other moving depictions is a Class X felony in the state. That can mean a prison sentence of 30 years but with an extension that can go all the way to 60 years, $25,000 in fines, and supervised release for three years. There is no possibility of a conditional discharge or probation for the crime.

Class 1 Felony

A Class 1 felony for child pornography encompasses crimes that don’t involve a moving depiction like video. If you are found guilty of a Class 1 felony for child pornography, you face up to 15 years behind bars. The sentence can extend up to 30 years in some circumstances. You will also be required to pay $25,000 in fines, be subject to supervised release for two years, and conditional discharge or probation for as much as four years.

If you are considered a repeat child pornography offender, then you may also have to undergo psychological evaluation and testing.

Child pornography charges are serious. If you’ve been accused of possessing child pornography, then it’s vital to know your rights.

 

About the Author:

Andrew M. Weisberg is a former felony prosecutor who now serves as a defense attorney in the greater Chicago area. He has extensive experience in handling all types of criminal cases, from sex offenses and domestic violence to retail theft-related crimes, murder, and drug crimes. His work has been recognized by Avvo, Expertise, National Trial Lawyers, and others, and he has been featured on countless news outlets for his experience and knowledge in criminal law.

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