Michigan Sex Crimes Attorney
Internet Sex Crimes, Child Enticement, Child Pornography, And Sexting
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In a modern age where technology seems to rule everything, things like sexting (sexual communication via cell phone or instant messaging), social networks, and the Internet can open many gateways to access pornographic material. Police officers, investigators, and prosecutors are cracking down on sexting and internet sex crime offenses involving children and minors. Ranging from child pornography to sexual abuse, all types of criminal activities are considered to be serious offenses and will be treated as such. Unfortunately, overreaching practices have led to hasty arrests, unlawful accusations, and in some cases, wrongful convictions.
Our Michigan sex crime lawyers handle the following:
- Possession of child pornography
- Taking sexual photos of minors
- Producing child pornography
- Possession with the intent to sell
- Sexual abuse of a child
- Solicitation of a minor
Due to nature of these types of charges, child pornography cases often also involve internet crimes. Because our firm is only devoted to handling sex-related offenses, we have a laser focus on helping our clients get the results they need. We accomplish this by performing thorough investigations and can even utilize internet forensic experts to secure evidence that can be used to leverage your defense.
Distribution of Child Porn
Both possession and distribution of child pornography is an especially serious crime in the state of Michigan. Federal law defines child pornography as any visual depiction, whether a photography, film, video, computer or computer-generated image of sexually explicit conduct which involves the use of a minor. Even if the image in question has been computer-generated, adapted or modified to appear that a minor is engaging in sexually explicit conduct and is virtually indistinguishable from the real thing, it is still considered child pornography. It is further considered illegal to produce, distribute, receive, or possess with intent to distribute any such images. The penalties for distribution of child pornography can depend somewhat on the number and type of images found on the defendant’s computer.
Michigan Penalties for Distribution of Child Pornography
You are facing extremely serious consequences for distributing of child pornography which range from jail time, a mandatory minimum prison sentence, being required to register as a sex offender, not to mention the loss of your privacy, the potential loss of respect in your community and family, and both short and long-term employment difficulties. You should be aware that the sex offender registry does not differentiate between levels of sex offenses, meaning you could be grouped with the very worst sex offenders, and have your photo and address splashed across the Internet for anyone to look up. With such high stakes, do you really want to trust your future to anything less than the most knowledgeable, highly qualified and skilled Southfield sex crime attorney?
Felony Penalties for Downloading
Michigan courts hand down severe felony penalties for merely downloading child pornography onto your computer, and federal penalties are even stiffer. One of the major problems with charges of this type is that there are many reasons you could have such images on your computer, even from a third-party hacker who has used a Trojan horse or another virus to download illegal images onto your computer. The criminal defense attorneys of Satawa Law, PLLC are highly experienced, both in the state and federal arena, in the representation of those accused of distribution of child pornography, and if you have been charged with such a crime in the state of Michigan, you need aggressive representation.
In a case of distribution of child pornography, the burden of proof is squarely on the government and the credibility of the forensic computer data. In other words, can the prosecution prove who was sitting at your computer at the time the distribution took place? Perhaps you can prove you were somewhere else, or had no e-mail access to the account in question, giving you a much stronger defense. The attorneys at Satawa Law, PLLC will work diligently and tirelessly to minimize the negative effects of such devastating charges on your life. Should your case go to trial, we will present a compelling case in your defense, fighting hard to prove your innocence. We never, ever, accept a plea which is not 100% in your best interests. While many Michigan attorneys are not familiar with defending federal charges of child pornography, our attorneys absolutely are. Our goal at Satawa Law, PLLC is to allow you to put the incident behind you and move ahead with your life. Call us today for a free, confidential consultation, and get your life back on track.
Do Not Settle for a Plea Bargain. Speak with Us Today.
Have you been accused of any of the above-mentioned offenses? Overzealous prosecutors will most likely be pushing for the harshest penalties under the law. We understand that though they may be doing their job, they may not have all sides of the story. Our Southfield child pornography lawyers can investigate your case thoroughly to create an effective defense strategy. Let us put our experience to work for you.
Child Enticement Charges
Having any kind of intimate, sexual relations or contact with a minor is illegal under Michigan law. However, even talking, texting, emailing, messaging, or otherwise attempting to convince a minor to engage in sexual relations or contact is also crime, and is heavily prosecuted – regardless of whether or not the intercourse actually occurred. This is crime, commonly known as “child enticement,” is also called child sexually abusive activity (“CSAA”) in Michigan, and carries heavy penalties, including a possible prison sentence, the sex offender registry, and large fines. They are frequently charged in conjunction with the crime of using a computer to commit the crime of CSAA. This makes it a separate crime to using a computer, laptop, iPad, tablet, or smart phone to communicate with the minor. What is worse is that the law gives the judge the discretion to sentence someone found guilty of both consecutively, in essence stacking the two sentences on top of each other.
Having any kind of intimate, sexual relations or contact with a minor is illegal under Michigan law.
Child Enticement and Sexual Abusive Activity Statutes
Michigan Penal Code 750.145a states as follows: “A person who accosts, entices, or solicits a child less than 16 years of age, regardless of whether the person knows the individual is a child or knows the actual age of the child, or an individual whom he or she believes is a child less than 16 years of age with the intent to induce or force that child or individual to commit an immoral act, to submit to an act of sexual intercourse or an act of gross indecency, or to any other act of depravity or delinquency, or who encourages a child less than 16 years of age, regardless of whether the person knows the individual is a child or knows the actual age of the child, or an individual whom he or she believes is a child less than 16 years of age to engage in any of those acts is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 4 years or a fine of not more than $4,000.00, or both.”
In order to be found guilty of child enticement, the following elements of the crime must be present:
You must entice or solicit a child below the age of 16 to submit to a sexual act (not necessarily intercourse) OR you encourage a child below the age of 16 to submit to a sexual act
You do so regardless of whether or not you are aware that the victim’s age
Michigan Penal Code 750.145c(2), states that “A person who persuades, induces, entices, coerces, causes, or knowingly allows a child to engage in a child sexually abusive activity for the purpose of producing any child sexually abusive material, or a person who arranges for, produces, makes, copies, reproduces, or finances, or a person who attempts or prepares or conspires to arrange for, produce, make, copy, reproduce, or finance any child sexually abusive activity or child sexually abusive material for personal, distributional, or other purposes is guilty of a felony, punishable by imprisonment for not more than 20 years, or a fine of not more than $100,000.00, or both, if that person knows, has reason to know, or should reasonably be expected to know that the child is a child or that the child sexually abusive material includes a child or that the depiction constituting the child sexually abusive material appears to include a child, or that person has not taken reasonable precautions to determine the age of the child.”
A child is defined as anyone under the age of 18.
Michigan Penal Code 750.145d(1) states that “A person shall not use the internet or a computer, computer program, computer network, or computer system to communicate with any person for the purpose of doing any of the following:
(a) Committing, attempting to commit, conspiring to commit, or soliciting another person to commit conduct proscribed under section 145a, 145c, 157c, 349, 350, 520b, 520c, 520d, 520e, or 520g”
In simple terms, this means that can be arrested and charged with child enticement and/or child sexually abusive activity if you believed that the victim was below the age of 16 at the time of the incident, even if they were older. In other words, if you are talking to a police officer or sheriff deputy posing as a 15 year old teenager, you have committed the crime of child sexually abusive activity even if that police officer is age 45. You can then be charged with a separate crime if you were communicating using a computer, tablet, or smart phone. These charges are considered a felony, and could potentially result in you being sentenced to jail, prison, and be required to register as a sex offender
It is not uncommon for prosecutors to seek maximum possible penalties in sex crime cases, and for judges and juries to convict and imprison the offenders. This means you should not delay in obtaining legal representation who can fight back and work to protect your name and reputation. Our Michigan sex crimes lawyers at Satawa Law are dedicated to helping you through these extremely complex and strenuous cases. We understand the law, and the technology behind these complex cases, and provide high-quality representation that fights to put the law on your side through careful preparation and analysis of all of the evidence of your case to create an optimal defense strategy.
To speak with the team at Satawa Law regarding your case, call us today at (248) 356-8320.
Sexting and Sexual Abusive Activity Statutes
Sexting is “the practice of sending or posting sexually suggestive text messages and images, including nude or semi-nude photographs, via cellular telephones or over the Internet.” Miller v Skumanick, This activity, though a relatively recent phenomenon, has become very widespread. Studies reveal that about 1 in 5 American teenagers engage in sexting.
The problems with sexting are too numerous to count. First, and most importanatly, it is illegal – and frequently for the sender as well as the sendee. In Michigan, the consequences for sexting could be life changing. Enticing a minor (under 18) to pose for a photo is a 4-year felony. MCL 750.145a. Sending such a picture is a 7-year felony. MCL 750.145c(3). Even mere possession of a “sext” is a 4-year felony. MCL 750.145c(4). The penalties can get much more serious. Encouraging a minor to engage in sex via sexting can be a 20 year felony (Child sexually abusive activity – MCL 750.145c(2)). It is even illegal to surveille, distribute, disseminate, or transmit a recording, photograph, or visual image of individual having reasonable expectation of privacy, if the victim is a minor. MCL 750.539j. There are added penalties for using computers and second offenses. MCL 750.145d; MCL 750.145b. And the offender is likely to be required to register as a sex offender depending on circumstances. MCL 722.28. While not nearly as common, the consequences of a federal charge are even more severe, including possible mandatory minimum prison sentences of 5 and even 10 years.
The second problem is the permanence of the sext, and its devastating impact as evidence. The simple truth is that once you send an e-mail, a text, picture, instagram, or snap chat, the evidence is now out there for the police to discover and the prosecutor to use. This is no longer a he said/she said situation – the text is there for all to see (and read). If a fifteen-year-old girl sends a naked picture of herself to her sixteen-year old boyfriend, that evidence is now there, on at least two phones or computers, and frequently even if both parties want to get rid of it.
The importance of this cannot be over stated. The data on teenagers and texting is simply stunning – studies show that over 70% of communication between teens is done by texting. While parents, teachers, and other adults all make fun of the next generation because they never talk to each other, opting instead to text, every single text message has the potential to be used as evidence to support a criminal accusation by a spurned ex-girlfriend, or the parents of an ex-boyfriend.
Facing Sexting or Child Enticement Charges? Call Now! A free, confidential consultation is waiting at (248) 356-8320.