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First-Degree Sexual Exploitation of a Minor

Experienced Charlotte Sex Crimes Lawyers Defending the Rights of Clients Charged with Manufacturing or Creating Child Pornography

In North Carolina, the possession, distribution and manufacture of child pornography is strictly illegal; however, the North Carolina Legislature doesn’t refer to these crimes as child pornography offenses. Instead, they are labeled “sexual exploitation of a minor.” First-degree sexual exploitation of a minor is the most serious child porn law on the North Carolina books, carrying the possibility of a decades-long prison sentence.

At the Olsinski Law Firm, PLLC, our team of Charlotte sex crimes defense attorneys is committed to aggressively representing clients charged with these serious crimes. We understand that allegations are just that—allegations—and you are presumed innocent unless and until the prosecution proves every element of the crime against you—if it can.

What Is the Crime of First-Degree Sexual Exploitation of a Minor?

Under North Carolina General Statutes § 14-190.16, first-degree sexual exploitation of a minor is a North Carolina law prohibiting the creation of child pornography, or what’s come to be known as Child Sexual Abuse Material (“CSAM”). There are various ways one can violate § 14-190.16:

  • Using a minor to put on a live sexual performance;
  • Permitting a minor in your custody to engage in sexual activity for a live performance;
  • Transporting or financing the transportation of a minor through the state so they can put on a live sexual performance; or
  • Recording, photographing, videotaping or duplicating child pornography.

Under this law, any conduct that depicts a minor engaging in sexual activity is prohibited. In this context, the term “sexual activity” includes the following:

  • Masturbation,
  • Vaginal, oral or anal intercourse,
  • Actual or simulated sexual abuse,
  • The touching of genitals, over or under the clothes,
  • Acts of torture,
  • Excretory functions, and
  • Display of the public region.
Examples of 1st Degree Sexual Exploitation of a Minor?

The various NC child pornography laws can be hard to distinguish. Below are a few examples of conduct that might constitute first-degree sexual exploitation of a minor:

  • Paying for a child to travel to Charlotte, renting a hotel, and paying the child to masturbate.
  • Getting paid to record someone having sex with a minor.
  • Organizing and directing a video depicting a minor being tortured while their hands and feet are bound.
Punishments for First-Degree Child Pornography Crimes?

First-degree sexual exploitation of a minor is a Class C felony. A conviction for a Class C felony typically carries a maximum sentence of 231 months. However, North Carolina law provides for enhanced sentences for those convicted of registerable sex offenses, which includes 1st degree sexual exploitation of a minor. Thus, the maximum term of imprisonment increases to 279 months, or 23 years and three months.

Additionally, anyone convicted of sexual exploitation of a minor in the first degree must register as a Sexually Violent Predator for the rest of their life. Additionally, failure to register as a sex offender may result in additional felony charges being filed against you.

Effectively Resolving Child Pornography Cases

Child pornography cases can be some of the hardest crimes to defend against because law enforcement officers typically create strong cases before making an arrest. However, that isn’t to say they don’t make mistakes. If a police officer or federal agent violates your constitutional rights, for example, by conducting a search of your home or computer without a warrant or probable cause, any evidence they recover may be suppressed. The same goes for statements you make to detectives without the benefit of your Miranda warnings.

Additionally, an experienced child pornography defense lawyer may be able to successfully challenge your role in creating or distributing the material, which may lead to dismissed or reduced charges.

Are You Facing Child Pornography Charges in North Carolina?

North Carolina courts take an especially aggressive approach to crimes involving the manufacture or distribution of child pornography. If you were arrested for sexual exploitation of a minor, it is imperative you work with an experienced defense attorney who knows what it will take to secure the best result in your case. At the Olsinski Law Firm, PLLC, our child pornography defense lawyers understand the gravity of these charges and how to effectively defend against even the toughest cases. We also have extensive experience negotiating favorable plea agreements on behalf of clients who would rather avoid a public trial. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation with one of our Charlotte criminal defense lawyers, give us a call at 704-405-2580. You can also reach our Cabarrus County sex crimes attorneys at 704-918-4747. We represent clients in Charlotte, Concord and Kannapolis, as well as throughout Mecklenburg, Gaston, Iredell, Rowan, and Union Counties.

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