September 28, 2023
A child is special. When you have children of your own, it’s natural to want to share them with the world when they’re at their cutest.
It’s not uncommon to find parents with photos of their babies in the bathtub with absolutely no nefarious purpose behind it – but does the law see it that way?
With the popularity of social media, there’s talk online that those precious photos may get you into legal trouble.
Sexual Exploitation of a Child in Colorado: What Is It?
The police will take issues with pictures posted online if they believe they are crossing the line into the exploitation of a child.
At its basic level, this crime is committed in Colorado if a person knowingly induces, allows, causes, or entices a child to be used for, or engage in, explicit sexual conduct for the making of sexually exploitive material.
It also covers the arrangement, publishing, and preparation through electronic or digital means of sexually exploitive material as well as the distribution, exhibition, dealing, financing, selling, or offering of sexually exploitive material.
The law goes on to cite the cause, enticement, permission, or inducement of a child to be used for or engage in explicit sexual conduct for the purpose of performance.
In layman’s terms, if anyone encourages, forces, or uses a child under the legal age of 18 to create child pornography, or they participate in the distribution of it or own it, then they can be charged with the crime of sexual exploitation of a child.
Colorado Penalties for Sexual Exploitation of a Child
If found guilty of charges of sexual exploitation of a child, a person can face a range of felony penalties depending on the level of the crime for which they’re found guilty.
Generally, speaking these crimes are classified as either Class 5, Class 4, or Class 3 felony charges. Learn more about each below.
Class 5 Felony Exploitation of a Child
This is charged if you control or possess any sexually exploitive material in the form of still images for any reason and it is your first offense. It can result in a jail sentence of up to three years in prison and fines of as much as $100,000.
Class 4 Felony Exploitation of a Child
This is charged if you commit a subsequent offense to a prior child pornography charge or the material you are in possession of is a recording, broadcast, or video as well as other items that qualify as sexually exploitive material that number more than 20.
The penalty if found guilty of this level of offense is up to six years in prison and fines for as much as $500,000.
Class 3 Felony Sexual Exploitation of a Child
This is charged if a person plays a role in the making or distribution of sexually explicit material involving a child. The penalty is up to 12 years in prison. And fines of as much as $750,000.
A conviction of any of these crimes will also require you to register as a sex offender in the state of Colorado. If you were legally an adult at the time of the offense, then you will be required to register for at least 20 years.
Failure to register is itself a Class 6 felony offense, which is punishable by up to 18 months in prison and fines of as much as $100,000.
About the Author:
Denver-based criminal defense and DUI attorney Jacob E. Martinez is a knowledgeable and experienced litigator with a record of success providing innovative solutions to clients facing criminal charges of any severity. Mr. Martinez has been recognized by countless legal organizations for his exemplary defense work, including Avvo, Best DWI Attorneys, Expertise, Lawyers of Distinction, The National Trial Lawyers, and others. He was also named one of the 10 Best in Client Satisfaction in Colorado by the American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys for 2020 and is Lead Counsel rated.