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What Actions Can Result in Child Exploitation Charges in Illinois?

 Posted on February 12, 2021 in Criminal Defense

Joliet criminal defense lawyerLaws regarding criminal offenses can be complicated since there are often varying degrees of charges based on the severity of the crime. For example, crimes committed against a child or elderly person may be classified separately from those against other alleged victims. Sexual crimes can be punished more severely due to the nature of the offense. The exploitation of a child is one such crime, and it is important to understand what constitutes this type of charge if you or someone you know is arrested for it in Illinois. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help protect your rights and help you get the charges dismissed if they were based on false accusations.    

How Illinois Defines Child Exploitation

It is important to note when discussing any crime against a child that children or minors are individuals who are under 17 years old. According to Illinois law, someone commits sexual exploitation of a child if he or she knowingly performs either of the following while in the presence (or virtual presence) of a child:

  • Engages in a sexual act

  • Exposes his or her genitalia, anus, or breast for sexual arousal or gratification of himself or herself or the child

In addition, an individual commits sexual exploitation of a minor if he or she knowingly entices, persuades, or coerces the child to take off the child's clothing for sexual arousal or gratification of the adult or the child, or both. 

These days, so much of our world is online or digital. “Virtual presence” refers to a created environment that is made with computer software that is displayed via the Internet. In these cases, the user appears via a camera (webcam), typically on a computer screen or mobile electronic device. Users experience a video or image by live transmission either visually or with sound, or both. In some cases, what is sent can be viewed interactively using a computer or hand-held electronic device.

Illinois Penalties for Child Exploitation

Regardless if the virtual transmission of a sexual act was done unintentionally, the punishments for a child exploitation conviction can be harsh, ranging from probation to prison time, fines, and a negative mark on a person’s record. Here is a breakdown of the potential criminal charges for child sexual exploitation in Illinois:

  • Class A misdemeanor: A first-time offense of child exploitation.

  • Class 4 felony: A second or subsequent violation of this offense or a similar law from another state.

  • Class 4 felony: The accused person has a prior sex offense conviction.

  • Class 4 felony: The alleged victim was under 13 years of age at the time the offense was committed.

  • Class 4 felony: A person 18 or older who is within 500 feet of an elementary or secondary school when children are present.

Even though a Class 4 felony is the least severe of all felony charges, it can still result in serious penalties. A Class 4 felony conviction can carry 1-3 years of imprisonment, in addition to a possible $25,000 fine.

Contact a Will County Criminal Defense Lawyer

As in most states, crimes against children often carry significant penalties in Illinois, especially if they are sexual offenses. In some cases, however, false allegations are made against people for various reasons. If you are facing charges for child exploitation, be sure to take them seriously and consult with a legal professional who can prove your innocence. The seasoned Joliet criminal defense attorneys at McNamara Phelan McSteen, LLC can build a strong defense on your behalf to avoid a conviction and jail sentence. To arrange a free, confidential consultation, To learn more, call us today at 815-727-0100.  






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