Child Pornography Charges in Tennessee

Under Tennessee law, child pornography charges are called sexual exploitation of a minor.

In Tennessee, sexual exploitation of a minor is unlawful when a person knowingly possesses material that includes a minor engaged in: (1) sexual activity; or (2) simulated sexual activity that is patently offensive. T.C.A. § 36-17-1003(a) (2016).

A conviction of the sexual exploitation of a minor statute is a Class E felony under Tennessee law. The range of punishment for a Class E felony is between 1 to 6 years in jail.

In addition, Tennessee also has an aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor charge. T.C.A. § 36-14-1004(a)(1)-(2) (2016) states:

(a)(1) It is unlawful for a person to knowingly promote, sell, distribute, transport, purchase or exchange material, or possess with the intent to promote, sell, distribute, transport, purchase or exchange material, that includes a minor engaged in: (A) sexual activity; or (B) simulated sexual activity that is patently offensive.

(2) A person violating subsection (a)(1) may be charged in a separate count for each individual performance, image, picture, drawing, photograph, motion picture film, videocassette tape, or other pictorial representation.

A violation of aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor statute is a Class D felony under Tennessee law. The range of punishment for a Class D felony is between 2 to 12 years.

However, if there are more than fifty (50) individual materials recovered, the offense is a Class C felony. The range of punishment for a Class C felony is between 3 to 15 years.

Further, if there are more than one hundred (100) individual materials covered, the offense is a Class B felony. The range of punishment for a Class B felony is between 8 and 30 years.

Lastly, Tennessee also has an especially aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor charge. T.C.A. § 36-17-1005(a)-(b) (2016) states:

(a) It is unlawful for a person to knowingly promote, employ, use, assist, transport or permit a minor to participate in the performance of, or in the production of, acts or material that includes the minor engaging in: (1) sexual activity; or (2) simulated sexual activity that is patently offensive.

(b) A person violating subsection (a) may be charged in a separate count for each individual performance, image, picture, drawing, photograph, motion picture film, videocassette tape, or other pictorial representation.

A violation of especially aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor statute is a Class B felony under Tennessee law. The range of punishment for a Class B felony is between 8 and 30 years.

In Tennessee, a minor is considered to be a person under the age of 18 years old. However, for each type of sexual exploitation of a minor charge, the State does not have to prove the actual identity or age of the minor. Therefore, Tennessee law states that the trier of fact (either the jury or the judge) may:

consider the title, text, visual representation, Internet history, physical development of the person depicted, expert medical testimony, expert computer forensic testimony, and any other relevant evidence in determining . . . whether the material or image otherwise represents or depicts that a participant is a minor. T.C.A. § 36-17-1003-1005 (2016).

For more information on sexual exploitation of minors cases in Nashville or Middle Tennessee, please call 615-686-2115 or contact us via email to schedule a confidential meeting to discuss your options and possible defenses.