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Illinois Child Pornography Laws

Overview of Illinois Child Pornography Laws

Child pornography laws protect children from sex offenses. In general, Illinois child pornography laws prohibit the making or distribution of images depicting or involving a child under the age of 18. Child pornography includes videos, films, or photos of underage minors participating in sexual acts or showing body parts specified by law. The state also punishes individuals who permit their children to participate in child pornography or who coerce children to participate in child pornography. In addition, state laws prohibit the possession of child pornography if the individual voluntarily and knowingly possesses pornography depicting children.

Illinois state laws increase the criminal charge of child pornography to aggravated child pornography when the child involved is under the age of 13.

See Crimes Against Children to learn about related crimes.

Defenses to Child Pornography Charges

  • The defendant took action to make a "bona fide inquiry" regarding the child's age and reasonably relied on the information obtained

Penalties and Sentences

The state of Illinois charges most child pornography offenses as Class 1 felonies, which can result in terms of imprisonment ranging from four to fifteen years. The state might prosecute the possession of child pornography as a Class 3 felony, which generally results in a lesser sentence than the punishment for a Class 1 felony. For each type of felony, the state might pursue increased sentencing if the defendant's criminal history includes previous felony convictions. In addition, Illinois child pornography laws require a fine in an amount between $1,000 and $100,000, depending on the circumstances of the crime.

Illinois state laws require the prosecution of a Class X felony for most offenses of aggravated child pornography. The punishment for a Class X felony may result in a sentence of imprisonment for six to thirty years, but the state may pursue an increased sentence for a habitual criminal or a defendant who has previous felony convictions. A convicted defendant will also need to pay a fine in an amount between $1,000 and $100,000, depending on the circumstances of the crime and the type of felony charged by the state.

A conviction for child pornography or aggravated child pornography generally requires the convicted defendant to register as a sex offender in Illinois. Sex offenders must register each year for a period lasting at least ten years. The ten-year period starts with the date of conviction if the defendant is sentenced to probation or with the date of release from prison if the defendant receives a sentence of prison time.

Illinois Child Pornography Laws: Statute

Illinois Criminal Code of 1961 section 11-20.1 (scroll down for section)

Note: State laws are constantly changing -- please contact an Illinois criminal defense attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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