Hiring legal counsel for child pornography charges can be crucial because of the minimum mandatory sentencing for these cases. There are some ways to get around the minimum mandatory sentencing in limited circumstances, but the judge has broad discretion in how they punish the defendant.

This is where a seasoned child pornography defense attorney can advocate for less harsh sentencing by presenting some mitigating factors of the defendant. A diligent lawyer can explain what the sentencing for Charleston child pornography cases looks like and help you minimize the consequences for the offense.

Range of Penalties and Long-Term Consequences

The long-term implications of a child pornography conviction can stay with somebody the rest of their life. It does not mean a person cannot have a productive life, but they may have a lot of challenges and obstacles from having this conviction on their record.


The federal government has a five-year, 15-year, and a 20-year minimum mandatory, depending on what the nature of the charges are. From there, the sentences go up based on the amount of evidence. A local representative will work to get the minimum sentence for the defendant by challenging the evidence presented.

At the federal level, sentencing guidelines for child pornography convictions must be calculated by the court by the federal probation office through a pre-sentence report. They go through the sentencing guideline manual to come up with a calculated range and the court will consider, among other factors. The judge may consider the defendant’s good deeds, whether or not they have a previous criminal record, and attempting to face their problems outside of court.

For example, if a pedophile faces their illness and tries to treat it prior to sentencing, it shows the court and that the defendant is willing to address the problem, and the judge may take this into account when deciding the punishment.


One of the consequences of a child pornography charge is being on sex offender registries. Being on a registry is a very heavy burden that people carry once they have been convicted of a sex-related charge in this area. This could hurt future living opportunities, as it restricts the places a person can live. It could also impact a person’s ability to gain employment. Using Charleston legal representation in this case can be beneficial for minimizing the long-term effects of child pornography charges.

Aggravating and Mitigating Factors that Determine Child Pornography Cases

Some aggravating factors that could lead to harsher sentencing in a possessing sexually explicit images of minors case include the number of images found and the role that the defendant is accused of having in the offense. Sentencing could vary depending on if the defendant was indirectly sharing images in a chat room with others or actually interacted with the child directly.

Some mitigating factors in child pornography cases include addressing their pedophilia problem prior to coming to court as the evaluation and treatment plan for their condition can be a very helpful defense in showing the judge that the defendant can be potentially redeemed. Showing a lack of criminal record and the love and support of their families and their communities can help as well. A good attorney could present the humanity of the person to the court in an effective way.

How Much Discretion Do Judges have in Sentencing Child Pornography Cases?

Judges have tremendous discretion in sentencing child pornography cases. There are sentencing guidelines and a lawyer has to prepare and fight for every point. A qualified Charleston attorney can advocate for less harsh sentencing in a child pornography cases. Call today to learn more.