The legal definition of child pornography in Virginia is sexually explicit material, which includes pictures, photographs, drawing, sculpture, motion picture films and digital images involving a person under the age of 18. The legislators in Virginia are known to be the toughest when it comes to the possession and production of sexually provocative imagery or depictions of sexual activity involving a minor and conviction can result in up to 20 years of prison. An exception to this law are the people who use the images as part of their professional duties.
In Virginia, deliberately obtaining and keeping child pornography is a Class 6 felony and is convicted under the VA Code of 18.2-374.1:1 as possession of child pornography and it can lead to harsh penalties, such as up to 5 years in prison and/or a $2500 fine. Being charged with possession one more time can add more years to the sentence. The Virginia law states that the intention of the person is irrelevant when it comes to possession of child pornography. A person can get charged with the possession of child pornography even if they deleted or never downloaded any sexually explicit material involving a minor on their device because the forensics can recover temporary files left in the computer’s hard drive and that is deemed as possession of child pornography.
A person can be charged with production of child pornography under the VA Code 18.2-374.1:1 if they solicited a minor to be the subject of porn, attempted or took part in producing a sexually explicit picture or a video of a juvenile, supported the production financially or in any other way. The consent of the minor involved is irrelevant when it comes to the production of child pornography. The production of child porn is much more of a severe crime than possession and it can result in severe penalties, such as:
- up to 20 years in prison if the subject is over 15 years
- up to 30 years in prison if the accused is more than 7 years older than the juvenile who is over the age of 15
- up to 30 years in prison if the victim is below the age of 15
- up to 40 years in prison if the victim is under 15 and the defendant is more than 7 years older than the minor
The production and possession of child pornography are considered as two separate felonies, according to the law of Virginia and thus, they result in separate penalties for each crime. If a person gets accused of both – possession and production of child pornography, they will be charged with a separate count for production and a separate count for possession. Each count for production can result in up to twenty years in prison, whereas, each count of possession can lead to up to five years in prison and thus, the person can face a prison sentence of up to 25 years.