Knowledgeable Court Martial Attorneys with Experience in Article 134 Defense
According to recently compiled data, the docket in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces is flooded with cases involving video crimes against children. In fact, roughly two-thirds of the pending appeal cases are related to the sexualization of minors. Importantly, this does not mean that the majority of military personnel are engaging in disparaging acts. It may suggest, however, that there are still many unclear lines and unanswered questions regarding online behavior, and using the internet can be more dangerous than we might often realize.
The military justice system relentlessly pursues and roots out suspects involved in child related crimes. Without the best possible defense, an accused service member could face incarceration for decades, mandatory registration as a sex offender, and several other life-altering possible outcomes. If you have been charged or are under investigation for possession, distribution, or transportation of illegal material, it’s absolutely vital that you hire an experienced lawyer in order to get the best possible outcome for your case. These cases are incredibly challenging and often complex, requiring a computer forensic specialist and other experts as members of the defense team. Do not attempt to handle this kind of case without an experienced and knowledgeable defense.
Definition and Clarification
Illegal child material is an Article 134 offense in the US military. Under the law, this material is “…material that contains either an obscene visual depiction of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct or a visual depiction of an actual minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct.” The elements of Article 134 are as follows:
- Possessing, receiving, or viewing child material
- Possessing child material with intent to distribute
- Distributing child material
- Producing child material
Consequences and Punishments Including Sex Offender Registration
At the heart of a child crime charge is knowing that a conviction will result in sex offender registration. Although each state has their own requirement, the impact on any person who is convicted of a child crime offense is life-changing.
Any of the above acts can result in life-altering consequences, which is why it’s important not to discuss any charges until after conferring with an experienced attorney. Your lawyer will advise you on how best to proceed with any charges or accusations concerning illegal child material. It’s very important not to continue discussing the case or moving forward with the case in any way before consulting an experienced military defense attorney.
The maximum punishments for these offenses is a dishonorable discharge and forfeiture of all pay and allowances. The term of confinement increases per offense. Maximum confinement ranges from 10 to 30 years depending on the offense. This is a steep punishment and should be taken very seriously.
Experience is the Most Valuable Asset in Article 134 Cases
In recent years, in part as a result of advanced technology, law enforcement and prosecutors have become more and more determined and experienced at prosecuting child crime cases. Because of the heavy implications and substantial punishments involved, the decision to plead or contest is extremely difficult. An experienced legal team is vital because they are educated in digital forensics, mental health aspects, and when necessary, presentation of a compelling sentencing case in mitigation.
The defense counsel must often conduct a very close examination of any search and seizures that took place. They will also likely seek to obtain experts in specific areas. Often the defense needs a digital forensics examiner. The service member will need to undergo an examination by a mental health professional to evaluate risk assessment. An accomplished attorney will be educated and knowledgeable in how to best go about all of the many elements in a military illegal child material case.
Military Trial Defenders has the experience and expertise to win child crime cases. We understand the heavy consequences of these situations, and we will be sure you receive the absolute best possible defense. Contact us today to get started on your case.