Schools and summer camps, among other places associated with children, often include in the application materials a question or separate form requesting the parent's permission for the institution or organization to take a picture of the child and use it in its publications. This permission is often the result of courtesy and protection more than anything legal.
When a person takes a picture of a child who is not his or her own and it's taken in the public – like a public school – it is pretty much legal, especially if for editorial purposes but many schools post pictures on their Facebook and other social media sites. The law gets a little more complex when not in a public space and/or when not for editorial purposes.
For sex offenders, it is probably never safe to take a picture of a child who is not your own and definitely not without the consent of the parent. In Illinois, you could be charged with Child Photography by Sex Offender, which is an offense controlled by 720 ILCS 5/11-11.24. At Dolci & Weiland, our sex crimes defense attorneys defend alleged sex offenders. We know the law. We know your rights. And we know defense strategies that work to help make sure you get the best outcome in your unique situation. Contact Dolci & Weiland for the kind of defense you expect from top-notch Chicago area sex defense lawyers.
Understanding the Illinois Crime Known as Child Photography by Sex Offender
In Illinois, you commit the offense of Child Photography by Sex Offender if you are a child sex offender and you knowingly:
(1) conduct or operate any type of business in which he or she photographs, videotapes, or takes a digital image of a child; or
(2) conduct or operate any type of business in which he or she instructs or directs another person to photograph, videotape, or take a digital image of a child; or
(3) photograph videotape, or take a digital image of a child, or instruct or direct another person to photograph, videotape, or take a digital image of a child without the consent of the parent or guardian.
Understanding this offense also means understanding how the law defines a child and a child sex offender.
A "child" is defined by the same statute and means a person under the age of 18 years.
A "child sex offender" is defined by 720 ILCS 5/11-9.3 and is pretty lengthy and specific. In brief, a child sex offender is a person who commits a sex crime (or attempts to commit a sex crime) against a person who is under the age of 18 years and is found guilty of the sex offense or is found not guilty by reason of insanity in Illinois, another state, or a federal court. Again, the definition of a child sex offender is extensive, so if you have questions whether or not the definition applied to you, contact an experienced sex crime defense lawyer.
Penalties of an Illinois Conviction for the Offense Child Photography by Sex Offender
Committing the offense of Child Photography by Sex Offender is a Class 2 felony in Illinois unless aggravating circumstances apply, and then it is a Class 1 felony.
Aggravating circumstances refer to the place where the crime was committed, like at:
- a playground
- a park
- a school
- a forest preserve
- a daycare facility, or
- a facility providing programs or serves for children under the age of 17.
The following penalties are what you can anticipate if convicted for a Class 1 or Class 2 felony in Illinois.
- Class 2 felony results in up to 7 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $25,000.
- Class 1 felony results in up to 15 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $25,000.
If you are not already, then you will have to register as a Sex Offender in Illinois. This alone is a devastating and life-altering penalty. Anyone and everyone can learn about it online via the State of Illinois registered Sex Offender location service.
Other penalties are collateral in nature and include things like difficulty finding a job and housing and the loss of your Second Amendment right to own and possess a firearm.
Defending Against Allegations of Child Photography by Sex Offender
Defending against this type of sex offense is difficult unless you are not a child sex offender, in which case this offense does not apply and a conviction will not be rendered.
The large part of a good defense against an allegation of child photography by Sex Offender is the execution of the defense. So, for example, during the forensic interview, you need a plan and your attorney can help you with that. You need to know what you are up against and how to respond to it.
Apart from a well-executed defense strategy, planning what that strategy entails is also key. What experts will you use? To what will they testify? What evidence is there? What are the rules of evidence and how do they apply?
Overall, there's a lot that goes into planning and executing a defense strategy for a child sex offense. Having the guidance of an experienced sex crimes defense attorney will be fundamental to the success of your defense.
Contact an Aggressive Chicago Metro Area Child Photography by Sex Offender Defense Attorney
Sex crimes, especially those related to children, carry some of the harshest sentences if convicted, but even if not convicted, the mere accusation is enough to cause you problems in your life.
If you have been charged with the offense known in Illinois as Child Photography by Sex Offender, you need a sex crimes defense attorney who knows how to address these things and to salvage your reputation. You need a sex crimes defense lawyer who can put together a viable, solid defense strategy. You need to contact Dolci & Weiland – we have law offices in convenient areas to represent clients in both DuPage and Cook Counties.