When an individual is accused of a sex crime, it will often become a very high-profile case. Media may cover the matter extensively, making it difficult to find an impartial jury. Suspects will often need to clear their name with the public before going into the courtroom.
Besides prison time and fines, there are other severe consequences that may result from being convicted of a sex crime. In most cases, a conviction means that an individual will be required to register as a sex offender, which can have a serious impact upon all aspects of his or her life. It can be difficult to find a job or a place to live with the restrictions that are imposed.
A 2012 Wisconsin law has also increased the penalties that those convicted of Underage Pornography may be facing. This law imposes a mandatory prison sentence of three years for anyone who possesses Underage Pornography. The prior law gave judges some discretion on sentencing. This resulted in many disparate sentences being handed down - some individuals would get prison time, while some would receive probation.
Judges were allowed this discretion if they felt that the public would not be harmed if the offender was solely sentenced to probation. The judges would have to list the reasons for making this decision in the record, so that it could be examined at a later point in time, if necessary.
Legislators felt that the penalties needed to be stronger, and more absolute. The new rule is beginning to show up in sentences that individuals are currently receiving. The only exception that is permitted is that a deviation from the mandatory three-year sentence if the offender was close in age to those portrayed in the images.
The impact of the law is yet to be determined. It is expensive to house these offenders, and this could result in significant costs to taxpayers. It could also lead to more convictions, because prosecutors might be less willing to make a deal with those facing these accusations. So far, only a handful of offenders have been convicted while the new sentencing law has been in effect, and all have received at least a three-year prison sentence.
If you are facing Underage Pornography charges, speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. These are extremely serious cases, and can result in extensive penalties if convicted. It is important to understand the options that you have available to you, so that you can make the best decision for your future.