Reproduction of Child Pornography In Virginia

Reproduction of Child Pornography In Virginia

(The Computer Printer)

According to Virginia Law, § 18.2-374.1:1, a person can be convicted of Reproduction of Child Pornography if it is proved beyond a reasonable doubt that they knowingly “[reproduced] by any means, including by computer…child pornography.” According to the Virginia Code, § 18.2-374.1, “child pornography” means sexually explicit visual material which utilizes or has as a subject an identifiable minor.

Reproduction of Child Pornography In Virginia

Reproduction of Child Pornography In Virginia

Both crimes of simple possession and reproduction are included in the same Virginia code section. Possession is specified in paragraph “A” and is designated a Class 6 Felony, which carries a penalty of 1 to 5 years in prison. Reproduction is specified in paragraph “C” and is an “unclassified felony” that carries a penalty of 5 to 20 years in prison. A second or subsequent violation carries a mandatory minimum of 5 years in prison for each subsequent offense. Unless a conviction carries a “mandatory minimum” sentence, a court imposing sentence can suspend some or the entire actual prison sentence. This is often done after consideration of the pre-sentence report which is prepared by a probation officer. A person with no previous criminal history will sometimes serve no time in prison if he successfully completes his probation requirements that are imposed by the court.

According to the law, reproduction can be by any means, and in the case of Commonwealth v. Slavek in 2000, the Norfolk City Circuit Court convicted the defendant of 4 separate counts of reproduction of child pornography for using a computer printer to print 4 separate photographs depicting child pornography. The Virginia Court of Appeals upheld each conviction, ruling that double jeopardy was not implicated either on the grounds that the reproduction and possession were the same offense or on the defense theory that multiple offenses could not be charged for one episode of printing multiple pictures. This means that a person can be convicted of a separate offense for either printing single photos or saving the photos to a hard drive, thumb drive, memory card, or any other electronic storage device.

Because the law specifies that each second or subsequent offense of reproduction carries a mandatory minimum of 5 years in prison, someone convicted of printing or otherwise reproducing 5 images of child pornography must be sentenced to at least 20 years in prison, none of which can be suspended by the court. A skilled attorney who knows the law will make every effort to limit the exposure of his client to the severe penalties for multiple offenses. The fact that his client is caught with a number of photographs or images on his computer of what is alleged to be child pornography is insufficient evidence to convict him of the crime(s) of reproduction of child pornography. Even a confession by the client that he printed or electronically copied the photographs is by itself insufficient. This is because the law that a defendant cannot be convicted solely on his uncorroborated confession to the police. The confession must be corroborated in a material and substantial way by separated evidence of the actual crime.

A client who has confessed to printing and keeping several photos, who is facing 20 or more years of mandatory minimum sentence for multiple counts of reproduction may be spared this draconian penalty if the prosecution can be denied the convictions for reproduction and has to settle for convictions of possession only.

If you, or someone you know, has been charged with possession or reproduction of child pornography in Virginia and are concerned about the consequences, you need to talk to a lawyer who has experience in this field and is supported by a law firm with the resources to mount an effective defense. If you even think you may be charged with any such offense, you should seek the assistance of counsel at first opportunity. Contact our law firm for help and speak with one of our lawyers.

We have client meeting locations in Fairfax, Prince William, Loudoun, Richmond, Virginia Beach, Fredericksburg, and Lynchburg. We will do our absolute best to help you get the best result possible based on the facts of your case. Our law firm has the necessary experience to assist you with these matters.

Article contributed by Bryan Block
Sris Law Group


These summaries are provided by the SRIS Law Group. They represent the firm’s unofficial views of the Justices’ opinions. The original opinions should be consulted for their authoritative content.

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