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Federal and state laws make it a crime to produce, possess, distribute, or sell pornographic materials that exploit or portray a minor. Increasingly, child pornography laws are being utilized to punish use of computer technology and the Internet to obtain, share, and distribute pornographic material involving children, including images and films.
Under federal law (18 U.S.C. §2256), child pornography is defined as any visual depiction, including any photograph, film, video, picture, or computer or computer-generated image or picture, whether made or produced by electronic, mechanical, or other means, of sexually explicit conduct, where
- the production of the visual depiction involves the use of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct; or
- the visual depiction is a digital image, computer image, or computer-generated image that is, or is indistinguishable from, that of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct; or
- the visual depiction has been created, adapted, or modified to appear that an identifiable minor is engaging in sexually explicit conduct.
Federal law (18 U.S.C. §1466A) also criminalizes knowingly producing, distributing, receiving, or possessing with intent to distribute, a visual depiction of any kind, including a drawing, cartoon, sculpture or painting, that
- depicts a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct and is obscene, or
- depicts an image that is, or appears to be, of a minor engaging in graphic bestiality, sadistic or masochistic abuse, or sexual intercourse, including genital-genital, oral-genital, anal-genital, or oral-anal, whether between persons of the same or opposite sex and such depiction lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.
Sexually explicit conduct is defined under federal law (18 U.S.C. §2256) as actual or simulated sexual intercourse (including genital-genital, oral-genital, anal-genital, or oral-anal, whether between persons of the same or opposite sex), bestiality, masturbation, sadistic or masochistic abuse, or lascivious exhibition of the genitals or pubic area of any person.
Who Is a Minor?
For purposes of enforcing the federal law (18 U.S.C. §2256), “minor” is defined as a person under the age of 18.
Is Child Pornography a Crime?
Yes, it is a federal crime to knowingly possess, manufacture, distribute, or access with intent to view child pornography (18 U.S.C. §2252). In addition, all 50 states and the District of Columbia have laws criminalizing the possession, manufacture, and distribution of child pornography. As a result, a person who violates these laws may face federal and/or state charges.
Where Is Child Pornography Predominantly Found?
Child pornography exists in multiple formats including print media, videotape, film, CD-ROM, or DVD. It is transmitted on various platforms within the Internet including newsgroups, Internet Relay Chat (chatrooms), Instant Message, File Transfer Protocol, e-mail, websites, and peer-to-peer technology.
What Motivates People Who Possess Child Pornography?
Limited research about the motivations of people who possess child pornography suggests that child pornography possessors are a diverse group, including people who are
- sexually interested in prepubescent children or young adolescents, who use child pornography for sexual fantasy and gratification
- sexually “indiscriminate,” meaning they are constantly looking for new and different sexual stimuli
- sexually curious, downloading a few images to satisfy that curiosity
- interested in profiting financially by selling images or setting up web sites requiring payment for access
Who Possesses Child Pornography?
It is difficult to describe a “typical” child pornography possessor because there is not just one type of person who commits this crime.
In a study of 1,713 people arrested for the possession of child pornography in a 1-year period, the possessors ran the gamut in terms of income, education level, marital status, and age. Virtually all of those who were arrested were men, 91% were white, and most were unmarried at the time of their crime, either because they had never married (41%) or because they were separated, divorced, or widowed (21%).3
Forty percent (40%) of those arrested were “dual offenders,” who sexually victimized children and possessed child pornography, with both crimes discovered in the same investigation. An additional 15% were dual offenders who attempted to sexually victimize children by soliciting undercover investigators who posed online as minors.4
Who Produces Child Pornography?
Based on information provided by law enforcement to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children’s Child Victim Identification Program, more than half of the child victims were abused by someone who had legitimate access to them such as parents, other relatives, neighborhood/family friends, babysitters, and coaches.
What is the Nature of These Images?
The content in these illegal images varies from exposure of genitalia to graphic sexual abuse, such as penetration by objects, anal penetration, and bestiality.
Of the child pornography victims identified by law enforcement, 42% appear to be pubescent, 52% appear to be prepubescent, and 6% appear to be infants or toddlers.
What Are the Effects of Child Pornography on the Child Victim?
It is important to realize that these images are crime scene photos – they are a permanent record of the abuse of a child. The lives of the children featured in these illegal images and videos are forever altered. Once these images are on the Internet, they are irretrievable and can continue to circulate forever. The child is revictimized as the images are viewed again and again.
Houston Child Pornography Defense Lawyer: The Charles Johnson Law Firm
Depending on the facts of your case and the evidence against you, we work to help you beat a false accusation or try to lessen the punishment. We understand your freedom is at stake and that a conviction of possession of child pornography may result in lifetime registration as a sex offender. To protect your rights and liberty, we conduct thorough investigations to prepare for trial or to minimize the consequences or sentence.
Related News Stories – Child Pornography in Houston, TX
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Have you been accused of operating a marijuana grow house? Grow houses have been popping up all over Texas and all over the nation. As a result, law enforcement has intensified investigations. They are reviewing electrical usage and water usage to determine if excessive amounts are being used — creating suspicion that the manufacture/cultivation of marijuana is being carried out on the premises. If you are under investigation or have been arrested and are facing drug manufacturing charges, you need experienced legal counsel on your side. Houston Criminal Lawyer Charles Johnson expertly defends clients who have been charged with marijuana-related crimes through the entire State of Texas, with offices in Houston, Austin, Dallas and San Antonio.
At the Charles Johnson Law Firm, we take marijuana charges seriously. We provide aggressive manufacture/cultivation defense representation to each client. Contact Attorney Johnson directly at (713) 222-7577 anytime night or day to discuss your case with an experienced criminal defense attorney.
Marijuana Cultivation: Defense Lawyers You Can Trust
Our law firm provides exceptional defense representation. We have earned a reputation for our diligence and our commitment to our clients. Clients have come to respect and trust us when they are in need and their future is at stake. We know the law and how to effectively defend our clients.
When clients have been charged with marijuana cultivation or other drug manufacturing, we analyze every aspect of the case.
- How did law enforcement become aware of the use of grow lights?
- Was reviewing the occupant’s electrical bills legal?
- Was a valid search warrant obtained before entering the home?
- Did someone else have access to the home?
- Was the home actually owned by someone else?
In marijuana cultivation cases, penalties are based on quantity. Therefore, if you have possession of a significant amount of plants in your home or an amount of marijuana of substantial weight, you may face a mandatory minimum sentence. Experienced defense counsel is paramount to the success of your case.
We use our knowledge of the law to our client’s benefit. If required procedure was not followed or our clients’ rights were violated, we petition to have evidence suppressed from the record — weakening or destroying the case against you. If you have been arrested for marijuana cultivation, trust the Best Houston Drug Lawyer Charles Johnson to provide the zealous defense representation you need. You can contact Attorney Johnson directly anytime night or day at (713) 222-7577.
About Marijuana Cultivation in Texas
In Texas, it is against the law to possess, distribute, or grow marijuana. The charges for these crimes are serious and the penalties include jail time, probation, prison, and expensive fines. In addition to these consequences, your driver’s license will be suspended even if you are not driving a vehicle at the time of your arrest.
Texas marijuana cultivation laws make it illegal for you to grow and possess certain plants or other organic materials that are used to produce marijuana. This means that if you are found with cannabis seeds, grow lighting systems, or marijuana plants, you will be charged with marijuana cultivation.
Large-scale federal marijuana cultivation charges are serious and carry severe consequences. As a federal offense, your case would be handled in the federal court system, which places strict sentencing guidelines on convictions. It is important that you retain a lawyer who has experience trying cases at the federal level. I can evaluate your case from every angle to determine the best course of action.
Marijuana is derived from the hemp plant called Cannabis sativa, which can be found growing naturally in many parts of the world. Though it may be commonly known as a hallucinogenic drug, the hemp or marijuana plant can be used in many other ways to produce paper, hemp oil, food and clothes. Owning items that are made of hemp is not illegal; however, growing or cultivating a marijuana plant in Texas is punishable as a criminal offense.
Marijuana remains readily available and is considered the most widely used illegal drug throughout the State of Texas. Marijuana in this area is primarily imported from the Texas/Mexico border via privately owned vehicles (POV) and commercial trucks. Large quantities of marijuana are routinely seized by all levels of law enforcement during highway interdiction stops in the North Texas area. In recent years, increased enforcement activity has lead to the seizure of several significant indoor marijuana cultivation operations in North Texas. These operations range in size from 100 to over 1100 plants and have produced marijuana with THC levels as high as 15%. Mexican marijuana is the most predominantly trafficked drug in the Houston Division. It is not uncommon for the US Border Patrol to make multi-hundred pound marijuana seizures from “back packers” at points along the Rio Grande River, and from vehicles at the US Border Patrol secondary checkpoints in Texas. At the Ports of Entry, ton quantity seizures of marijuana are often made from commercial trucking attempting to enter the United States.
Seasonal marijuana growing operations may be conducted on lands of all ownership. Some individuals elect to grow their illegal crops on publicly owned lands where isolation and limited public access lessen the likelihood of accidental detection. Certain things may be indicators of an outdoor growing operation. Some of these are:
- An unusually large purchase of fertilizer,
- garden hoses, PVC pipe, and
- camouflage netting.
- Excessive security measures out of place
- in remote forested areas.
- An unusual structure or out-of-place
- items in remote forested areas, such as
- buckets, garden tools, hoses, PVC pipe,
and fertilizer bags.
Many individuals choose to cultivate marijuana indoors in order to have total control of the environment. These operations may divert power from power companies to circumvent payment of high bills and attempt to avoid detection. This only raises the cost of power for law-abiding citizens.
Certain things may be indicators of an indoor growing operation. Some of these are:
- Covered or blackened-out windows.
- Loud humming sounds (from fans or ballasts).
- An unusually strong musty odor.
- Unusually large amounts of potting soil, containers, fertilizer, hoses, halide light system, and ballasts.
- Excessive security measures and use of guard dogs.
Marijuana possession, sale, and manufacture are regulated by both state and federal law. In Texas, marijuana is classified as a Schedule I substance, which means that it has a high potential for abuse and no generally recognized medical value. (Texas Stat. and Code Ann. § 481.002.)
It is a crime to possess marijuana in Texas. Penalties vary according to the amount possessed, with increased penalties for offenses in a drug free school zone. (Texas Stat. and Code Ann. § 481.121.)
Two ounces or less. Penalties include a fine of up to $2,000, up to 180 days in jail, or both.
More than two ounces, but less than four ounces. Penalties include a fine of up to $4,000, up to one year in jail, or both.
Four ounces or more, up to and including five pounds. Penalties include a fine of up to $10,000, between 180 days and two years in prison, or both.
More than five pounds, up to and including 50 pounds. Penalties include a fine of up to $10,000, between two and ten years in prison, or both.
More than 50 pounds, up to and including 2,000 pounds. Penalties include a fine of up to $10,000, between two and 20 years in prison, or both.
More than 2,000 pounds. Penalties include a fine of up to $50,000, between five and 99 years in prison, or both.
Marijuana Cultivation and Sales
It is illegal to cultivate or sell marijuana (or possess marijuana with the intent to do so) in Texas. Penalties vary according to the amount cultivated or sold, with increased penalties for sales to a minor or within a drug free school zone. (Texas Stat. and Code Ann. § 481.120.)
Gift of one fourth of an ounce or less. Penalties include a fine of up to $2,000, up to 180 days in jail, or both.
Selling one fourth of an ounce or less. Penalties include a fine of up to $4,000, up to one year in jail, or both.
More than one fourth of an ounce, and up to and including five pounds. Penalties include a fine of up to $10,000, between 180 days and two years in prison, or both.
More than five pounds, up to and including 50 pounds. Penalties include a fine of up to $10,000, between two and 20 years in prison, or both.
More than 50 pounds, up to and including 2,000 pounds. Penalties include a fine of up to $10,000, between five and 99 years in prison, or both.
More than 2,000 pounds. Penalties include a fine of up to $50,000, at least ten (and up to 99) years in prison, or both.
It is illegal in Texas to manufacture, sell, or use drug paraphernalia (or possess paraphernalia with the intent to do so). Paraphernalia includes items used in growing, harvesting, processing, selling, storing, or using marijuana. Penalties for possession include a fine of up to $500, but no jail time. Selling paraphernalia may be punished with a fine of up to $4,000, up to one year in jail, or both. (Texas Stat. and Code Ann. § 481.125.)
A stamp tax is a tax imposed on certain types of transactions (such as the transfer of property) that requires a stamp to be purchased and attached either to the item sold or to an instrument documenting the transaction (such as a deed). The federal government imposes stamp taxes on deeds, the issue and transfer of stocks and bonds, and on playing cards.
In Texas, those who buy, transport, or import marijuana into Texas are required to pay a stamp tax and place the stamp (proof of payment) onto the contraband. However, because the possession of marijuana is illegal, people typically don’t pay the stamp tax. When you are convicted for possession, you will also be liable for payment of the unpaid taxes ($3.50 for each gram or portion of a gram). (Texas Stat. and Code Ann. § 159.101A.)
Challenging the Prosecution’s Case – Why You Shouldn’t Give Up Hope
Marijuana cultivation cases often depend on informants. People who have been arrested on drug and related criminal charges may agree to provide police with information in exchange for a reduced sentence. As a result, someone may give your name to the police when in reality you have little, if anything, to do with the cultivation of marijuana. Houston Drug Lawyer Charles Johnson will investigate the background of informants and their relationship to the police in order to expose leads and information ignored by law enforcement in building their case against you.
Facing Possession Charges
Often marijuana possession charges result from police contacts while in your car. Typically, officers will ask the driver if they can search their car. In many cases, drivers agree to a search thinking officers have a right to inspect their car. However, an officer must first have reasonable suspicion that a law has been broken to pull you over. Second, in order to search your car, one of the following must apply: You must give voluntary, informed consent to the officer; the officer must see something in plain sight that gives them probable cause to conduct a search; or the search must be incident to a lawful arrest. Attorney Johnson will review the evidence, dashboard camera footage and the actions of arresting officers to determine if your rights were violated.
The Value of Local Legal Representation
If you have been charged with a marijuana-related offense, consult an experienced criminal defense attorney. While the penalties and consequences of a marijuana charge are governed by statutory law, only a local criminal defense attorney can tell you how cases like yours tend to be handled by prosecutors and judges in your courthouse. As you can see, the penalties for marijuana cultivation in Texas are life changing. Not only is your freedom at stake, your bank account can be cleaned out and you will lose your driving privileges. You need an experienced drug-offense attorney on your side at a critical time like this.
Houston Drug Lawyer Charles Johnson expertly defends clients who have been charged with marijuana-related crimes through the entire State of Texas. Due to his dedication to fighting drug charges, he is familiar with the most effective defense strategies to defend you. If you’ve been arrested on marijuana cultivation charges in Houston or anywhere in Texas, it’s in your best interest to speak with an experienced drug cultivation defense lawyer who can inform you of your legal rights and provide you with the aggressive defense you need against your charges.
When you come to our firm, you can rest assured that a knowledgeable and well-practiced Texas marijuana cultivation defense attorney will thoroughly look into your charges to determine if the police violated your constitutional rights, or conducted an unlawful search and seizure. If we find any evidence that may indicate the police violated the law, we will make it known to the judge immediately, and motion to have the charges dropped.
To learn more about our defense services, please contact Houston Marijuana Cultivation Lawyer Charles Johnson anytime night or day at (713) 222-7577 to speak with him directly.
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Felony charges for drug distribution or possession are the most typical felonies in criminal law.
If you have been arrested for possession or distribution of illegal drugs, Houston Lawyer Charles Johnson can help you in your effort to clear your record. The federal court structure is well known for the extremely tough penalties for illegal drug cases. Most of these cases are prosecuted as conspiracies and, given that penalties are calculated with the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, low-level dealers may have their sentences increased significantly according to the quantity of illegal drugs having been dealt by their supposed associates. The federal structure is very different in comparison to the state court structure within these criminal matters. These cases will need a legal professional who’s skilled and experienced with the various trial rules and sentencing guidelines. This expertise provides him a significant edge over those attorneys who don’t work on a frequent basis within federal court. Houston Lawyer Charles Johnson has effectively represented numerous customers facing cocaine distribution charges in both the State and Federal courts, and he is able to do the same for you.
Cocaine Distribution in the Houston Area
Houston, Texas is among the most significant illegal drug distribution center within the U. S. It’s a distribution center utilized by many drug traffickers to provide unlawful drugs to main market locations all through the United States as well as to supply dealers located within the Houston HIDTA (High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area) area. Cocaine, Crack, marijuana and, to a lesser extent, heroin, methamphetamine, and MDMA (3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine, also recognized as Ecstacy) are shipped from Houston to main market locations including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Kansas City, St. Louis, and Philadelphia. As soon as illegal drug shipments are delivered to Houston, they’re frequently stored at nearby stash locations awaiting additional distribution to illegal drug markets. Illegal drug trafficking operations are very susceptible at these stash locations; seizures of unlawful drugs from places where substantial amounts are stashed usually lead to a significantly larger loss for DTOs (Drug Trafficking Organizations).
Houston’s well-developed freeway system, organized financial structure, racial and ethnic diversity, and significant level of worldwide trade contribute towards the area’s role as a main shipment point for unlawful drugs meant for American drug markets and illegal drug profits headed for Mexico. The substantial quantity of drug-related investigations linked with the city demonstrates Houston’s role as an integral national drug distribution and cash laundering center.
Drug Trafficking Organizations, Criminal Groups, and Gangs Defined
Drug trafficking organizations (DTOs) are intricate organizations with exceptionally defined command-and-control structures that transport, distribute, and/or produce substantial volumes of one or more unlawful drugs.
Criminal groups operating within the U. S. are plentiful and consist of limited to moderately sized, loosely knit organizations that disperse one or more illegal drugs at the retail level and midlevel.
Gangs are defined by the National Alliance of Gang Investigators’ Associations as groups or associations of three or more persons with a common identifying sign, symbol, or name, whose members on their own or jointly practice criminal activity that produces an atmosphere of fearfulness and intimidation.
Mexican DTOs are probably the most pervasive organizational menace towards the Houston region. The proximity of their operations to the U.S.- Mexico border along with their access to main drug market locations all through the U.S. have allowed Mexican DTOs to emerge as the most important traffickers within the region, in most locations along the U.S.- Mexico border, and in numerous locations of the United States.
Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs (OMGs), Street gangs, and Prison gangs disperse unlawful drugs at both the retail and wholesale levels within the Houston region. Virtually all gangs within the region use illegal drug trafficking as their primary revenue stream. Even though most gangs distribute drugs on the retail level, a few have developed partnerships with Mexican DTOs that permit them to acquire wholesale quantities of illegal drugs straight from Mexico. These gangs are most prevalent in urban locations, which include Houston, Corpus Christi, and Beaumont, where violence related to their drug and gang related behaviors is often a significant menace to community and law enforcement protection.
As a direct result Hurricane Katrina, interactions among New Orleans and Houston illegal drug traffickers are reportedly growing. Roughly 150,000 Katrina evacuees relocated in the Houston region due to the hurricane. Several of these evacuees had been illegal drug traffickers from high-crime locations of New Orleans and, upon relocating to Houston, developed associations with illegal drug dealers and gang members. Several of these traffickers then returned home to New Orleans, and the connections which they established with these Houston-based drug dealers and gang members have provided them the potential to acquire substantial quantities of illegal drugs straight from associations in Houston.
The distribution and use of unlawful drugs within the Houston region places considerable societal and economic burdens on communities and local, state, and federal agencies. Cocaine in the form of Crack stands out as the principal illegal drug of abuse for numerous drug abusers in metropolitan locations of Houston; this drug has experienced a significant influence on the degree of violent and property criminal activity taking place in a number of communities. Nevertheless, the quantity of marijuana, cocaine, and methamphetamine seized within the region has lessened in recent years. This reduction may be credited, to some extent, to a rise in seizures made prior to the drugs being smuggled across the Southwest Border, increased seizures in South Texas counties that border Mexico, and traffickers’ utilization of alternate routes to smuggle illegal drugs across the Southwest Border.
Cocaine Distribution Defense: Hire the Leading Houston Criminal Lawyer
In Texas, charges for Cocaine distribution are 1st degree crimes, and bring the toughest penalties. Possession of the illegal drug or possession with the intent to distribute the drug, is usually a 2nd degree crime, and can result in substantial penalties, probation and/or imprisonment. Drug distribution is an extremely serious offense. Having said that, as with any drug crime, drug distribution should be placed into the correct context to be able to make certain that charges aren’t excessive. What might seem to be drug distribution might in fact not be, and a competent attorney will see to it that you are furnished a powerful defense all through your criminal arrest.
The quantity of drugs within your possession, just how the drugs are prepared, which drugs are discovered to be on your person, and how many different kinds of drugs you have are typical elements which will be considered throughout a drug distribution case. For example, if many different packaged drugs are discovered within your possession, then it might be assumed that you, similar to a shop, possess a large number of new items prepared to sell. Also, your previous criminal background will play a factor, along with the place that you had been arrested. Getting busted in an area recognized to be visited by drug dealers, for instance, won’t assist your case.
If a person is discovered to be in possession of unlawful drugs, doesn’t seem to be using the illegal drugs himself, and is also acting in a manner that’s suggestive of drug distribution, then police might place that person under arrest on suspicion of drug distribution. Even though other drug charges including possession for sale require that some kind of monetary transaction take place, drug distribution only demands that unlawful drugs are transferred from a single individual to another person. Consequently, protection against these charges may be complex, particularly within the state of Texas. Due to the complexities of Texas law, the most effective plan of action taken by a person charged with drug distribution is retaining the expertise of an seasoned Houston Criminal Defense Lawyer .
Attorney Johnson will analyze the circumstances surrounding your case, and will develop the most powerful defense possible considering the situation. If you need skilled legal assistance now, please do not hesitate to get in touch with the Charles Johnson Law Firm Twenty-four Hours A Day, 365 Days /year to talk about the specifics of your case.
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