Both federal and local law enforcement agencies were involved in the recent arrest of a South Lake Tahoe fire captain who was charged with having received sexual images of children. Allegedly, an anonymous employee of the city tipped them off to this man’s activities. Due to his high-ranking position, very little information has been provided to media outlets concerning the specifics of the crime, but it is known that the U.S. Attorney’s Office is handling the case from here on out.
California law treats the possession and reception of child pornography as a serious crime, and the penalties are harsh. CA Penal Code 311.1 – 311.11 are the state laws that concerns child pornography as a whole. Many of these charges are technically ‘wobblers,’ meaning that the specifics of each case will determine exactly how prosecutors decide to treat it, either as a misdemeanor or as a felony. If you are convicted of a misdemeanor child pornography charge, you can expect to spend up to $2,500 in fines and to be incarcerated for a period of no more than 1 year in a county facility. However, if you are convicted of a more serious, felony, charge of child pornography, you can expect a more severe sentence. In other words, you could end up in prison for up to 8 years and find yourself paying a $100,000 fine. In either case, you will be required to register as a sex offender, often for your lifetime.
When it comes to any charges related to child pornography, at the very least you may anticipate a long journey back to the way that your life was before you were arrested. Even if you are found to be innocent of these crimes, the stigma may follow you for many years.