What is the maximum punishment for possession of child pornography? When I have a client that’s facing federal charges, if they’ve never been in trouble, then the maximum is ten years. Why is it that the sentencing guidelines so high at or above that maximum? And the answer is in the question, because of the federal sentencing guidelines. If you have no criminal history, you’re in a good place to start with, but every child pornography case involves a computer and the use of a computer to commit a crime under federal law is an enhancement. If you have more than 600 images, that’s a major enhancement of that baseline sentencing. Every video is considered to be 75 so essentially if you have 8 videos or more, you’ve already hit the maximum and gone over that 600 limit. Then depending on how many total images, whether or not there are victims involved, there are so many different enhancements in child pornography cases that put these sentences above the maximum. So the maximum is ten years, but you could be looking at a guideline range above the maximum. So you cannot go above the maximum, but with all the enhancements you can actually go above the maximum. Why is it so serious in federal court? It’s because of the sentencing guidelines and that’s what we have to use with the court in determining your situation.
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