Tennessee law regarding child pornography mirrors those set forth in federal law. Sex crimes involving these offenses fall into three broad categories -- sexual exploitation of a minor, aggravated exploitation of a minor and especially aggravated exploitation of a minor. Each category covers a different aspect of child pornography.
Sexual exploitation of a minor covers the possession of child pornography. Anyone accused of this crime could face a separate charge for each image. If there are less than 50 images, the charge is a Class D felony. If there are 50 to 99 images, it would be considered a Class C felony. Finally, anything over 100 images is considered a Class B felony.
Aggravated exploitation of a minor covers the sale, distribution or purchase of child pornography. Each movie, drawing or photograph, along with other images or materials can constitute a separate Class C felony. However, more than 25 of any combination of these mediums raises the charge to a Class B felony. Especially aggravated exploitation of a minor is reserved for those suspected of being engaged in the production or performance of child pornography and is considered to be a Class B felony.
In every case, the person suspected of crimes involving child pornography must be knowingly involved in the activity. The material must include a minor engaged in sexual activity or simulated sexual activity that is patently offensive. Tennessee prosecutors will need to prove the elements of these crimes beyond reasonable doubts in a court of law, which means that it is up to you to protect your rights from the moment you are contacted by investigators.
Investigators who handle sex crimes will often make contact with someone they suspect of being involved in child pornography in an attempt to obtain permission to conduct searches. If you are contacted in this manner, do not consent to a search without a warrant. Do not be intimated by investigators. Contact an attorney right away who can explain and protect your legal rights.