In this post, we will take a look at why that is, as well as why it’s essential to work with a lawyer to try to avoid the severe penalties that come with a federal child pornography conviction. Whether you are facing state or federal child porn charges, Honolulu sex crimes lawyer Michael Fayard can help.

Call us today at (808) 445-6708 or use our online contact form to reach out.

State vs. Federal Crimes in Hawaii

If you are charged with a federal crime, U.S. federal prosecutors will take on your case to try to convict you. If you are accused of a state crime in Hawaii, you are going up against Hawaii prosecutors. But when is a crime considered state or federal?

The distinction comes down to a few simple rules. You can be charged with a federal crime under the following circumstances:

  • The crime you are accused of occurred on federal property, such as a national park.
  • The crime you are accused of touched federal money. Robbing a federally insured bank is a good example.
  • The crime you are accused of crossed state lines.

That last item is of particular concern in turning child pornography charges into a federal matter.

Why Child Pornography Charges Are Often Federal

A crime can warrant a federal charge when it crosses state lines. So, if a crime involves Hawaii and Texas, for instance, it would likely be federal. But how does this relate to child pornography charges?

Often, child porn is distributed via the internet. While the original meaning of “crossing state lines” used to include only physically crossing or mailing something across state lines, it now includes the internet.

So, if you are accused of sending child porn to someone outside of Hawaii, your charge will likely be federal. But if you allegedly received child porn from someone who is also in Hawaii, the charge could remain a state-level offense.

Penalties for Child Porn Charges

The penalties for federal child pornography charges are severe. Even a first-time child porn conviction can lead to fines and 15 to 30 years in prison.

Even if you are facing a state-level charge, you could still face severe penalties if you are convicted. Child pornography charges in Hawaii can lead to the following punishments:

  • Producing child porn: This is a Class A felony punishable by 20 years in prison and $50,000 in fines.
  • Distributing child porn: This is a Class B felony punishable by 10 years in prison and $25,000 in fines.
  • Possessing child porn: This is a Class C felony punishable by five years in prison and $10,000 in fines.

The Importance of Working With an Experienced Lawyer

As you can see, both federal and state child porn charges can lead to severe punishments. If you don’t act now to defend yourself against this charge, you could find yourself behind bars for years or even decades.

That is why so many people charged with child porn crimes work with a trusted sex crimes defense lawyer. An experienced attorney can gather evidence to show that you are innocent or the charge against you should be thrown out or reduced to a lesser crime.

Speak With Michael Fayard, Criminal Defense Attorney

Criminal Defense Attorney Michael Fayard believes everyone has a right to legal help when charged with a crime. If you have been charged with possessing, distributing, or producing child pornography, we are here to provide that help.

Whether your charge is state or federal, it’s time to contact a lawyer. To speak with our Honolulu criminal defense firm, give us a call at (808) 445-6708 or reach out online.