Child pornography is an image or images explicitly depicting children (those under the age of 18) in a sexual way. A child pornography arrest can include possessing material depicting children commencing in sexual acts or creating this material by filming or taking pictures. The major medium used to spread child pornography is over the internet. Child pornography convictions cannot be expunged.

Most people who are being investigated for child porn possession have been flagged by federal and state task forces after downloading sexually explicit material on their computers. The laws detailing the sexual exploitation and abuse of children are found in U.S. Code 18 Chapter 110. The penalties will differ depending on the nature of the violation, but some of the punishments are as follows:

  • Knowingly making, printing, publishing or otherwise advertising by depicting child pornography shall be punished by 15 to 30 years in prison.
  • Being convicted after one prior offense related to child pornography is punishable by 30 years to life imprisonment.
  • Purchasing or obtaining custody of a child for the purpose of child pornography or with the knowledge that the minor will be portrayed in a sexually explicit way is punishable by 30 years to life imprisonment.


There are a few different actions that could constitute a child pornography charge according to 720 ILCS 5/11-20.1. Some of those are listed below:

  • Downloading child pornography videos
  • Selling child pornography
  • Producing child pornography(ex: filming, videotaping, photographing, etc.)
  • Possession with intent to disseminate
  • Soliciting or enticing a child to participate in pornography
  • Being a legal guardian/parent of a child and either allowing or forcing their participation in pornography

Child pornography charges of any kind can only stand if the accused person knew or “reasonably should have known” that the person or persons being depicted were under the age of 18 (or were severely intellectually disabled and unable to give their consent).

What are the charges for child pornography offenses?

Charges will differ depending upon the type and nature of the child pornography offense. Listed below are the various charges that the Illinois Compiled Statutes gives:

  • Class X Felony: Most violations involving some sort of film or moving depiction of a child engaged in sexual acts are charged as Class X felonies. This warrants a $2,000 to $100,000 fine.
  • Class 1 Felony: Child pornography offenses not involving moving depictions are charged as Class 1 felonies with the same fine schedule as Class X felonies.
  • Class 2 Felony: One possible way child pornography can be charged as a Class 2 felony is pornography involving a person(s) under the age of 13.
  • Class 3 Felony: Usually, this is the charge for possession of child pornography. Minimum fine is $1,000.

Will I have to register as a sex offender?

Conviction of child pornography possession, disbursement or creation also means that the offender will have to register as a sex offender on both the state of Illinois sex offender registry and the national sex offender registry. Offenses related to child pornography require “Tier II” registration, which means that you must register on the sex offender registry for a period of 25 years with semiannual verification. This period of time will be increased if the child pornography offense involved violence.


If you have been arrested or are currently under investigation for a child pornography offense, you need strong representation that is the best of the best. Okabe & Haushalter was featured by Newsweek Magazine as a Leader in Criminal Defense for 2012 and attorneys at our firm have also been selected for inclusion in the list of Super Lawyers on multiple occasions. You may very well be facing investigation from the federal level.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has many resources at their disposal that can bring strong evidence against you. For this very reason, you need representation from only the strongest type of legal advocate- a Chicago sex crimes attorney from Okabe & Haushalter. A child pornography conviction can have a massively negative impact on the rest of your life. When your future and your reputation are at stake, seek legal representation right away and contact  a Chicago child pornography attorney from our firm at 312-767-3869 today!

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