Federal Sexual Exploitation of Children Defense Lawyer

Home /  Practice Areas /  Federal Sexual Exploitation of Children Defense Lawyer

Federal sexual exploitation of a child is a serious crime that has severe criminal consequences, including long periods of time in prison, large fines, required registration as a sex offender, and forced surveillance upon release from incarceration. Therefore, if you are facing such serious federal charges, it’s important to get in touch with a federal sexual exploitation of children defense lawyer (18 usc 2251a) from Johnson/Citronberg, PLLC, who can provide you with the support you need during this difficult time.

The criminal defense team at Johnson/Citronberg, PLLC, has years of experience defending clients who have been accused of federal sex crimes involving children. Our compassionate defense attorneys understand how intimidating it can be to face these serious charges.

While fighting back may sometimes feel hopeless due to the sheer manpower and resources behind federal prosecutors, our legal team has the experience and knowledge to create an optimal defense strategy that can help you effectively fight back against such charges. We are ready to begin serving you today.

What Is the Federal Law for Sexual Exploitation of a Child?

18 U.S. Code § 2251(a) explains that the crime of sexual exploitation of children occurs when someone coerces, persuades, entices, or induces a minor to participate in sexual conduct. To be charged with the crime, they must have intended to produce a visual depiction or broadcast a live depiction of the sexual acts.

To be a federal crime, the content must also meet certain specifications. To learn more about this code, read about it in The Handbook for Federal Internet Sex Crimes.

What Is 18 U.S. Code § 2251A?

18 U.S. Code § 2251A specifically details the crime of selling or buying children for the intent of sexual favors or the production of sexually explicit child pornographic content.

Under 18 U.S. Code § 2251A(a), any legal guardian, parent, or person with control or custody over a child cannot sell or transfer their control or custody for the purpose of either:

  • Promoting the illicit sexual engagement of the child in activities for visual depiction of the activity, or
  • Promoting the rendering of assistance by the minor to another person to carry out sexually explicit activities that lead to the production of illicit content, or
  • Knowing that because of transferring the child out of their care, the minor will be featured in a visual depiction in which they are engaged in sexually explicit conduct or are assisting another person to engage in sexually explicit conduct.

For the crime to be federal, it is specified that the transport or transfer of the child must have involved interstate commerce or foreign commerce, and the transfer or trading of the child must have been communicated through or carried out by interstate means, such as the internet or via mail. Furthermore, the crime must have taken place in the United States or in a U.S. territory.

The minimum sentence for such a crime is 30 years in prison, and prison for life is also possible for those convicted. Because this federal crime is so serious and can have life-lasting negative consequences, it is critical to get in contact with a dedicated criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible to improve your chances of seeing optimal case outcomes. A federal child exploitation lawyer from Johnson/Citronberg, PLLC, is here to represent your case and advocate for your interests.

What Is 18 U.S. Code § 2251A(b)?

18 U.S. Code § 2251A(b) is a federal United States code section that falls under the code outlining crime definitions for selling or buying children. 18 U.S. Code § 2251A(a) addresses the definitions and ramifications of selling or transferring guardianship or control over a minor for the production or support of production of visual depictions of illicit sexual activity engagement. 18 U.S. Code § 2251A(b) addresses those who are allegedly purchasing, obtaining control of, or offering to purchase or obtain control of the child for such purposes.

The penalties for such a crime as defined under 18 U.S. Code § 2251A(b) are just as severe as those defined under 18 U.S. Code § 2251A(a), with a minimum sentence of 30 years in prison for those convicted and the potential to serve a life sentence. If you believe that you are under investigation for a crime defined under 18 U.S. Code § 2251, or if you are facing charges for such a crime, an experienced criminal defense lawyer can help you understand the penalties you could be facing for your specific case.

Who Is Investigating Federal Sexual Exploitation of Children Defense Crimes?

Depending on the details of your case, there may be multiple government agencies involved in investigating you. For example, for cases associated with internet child sex crimes on the dark web, there are multiple agencies, such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), constantly surveilling and tracking the dark web to find offenders of such crimes.

Other federal agencies, such as DHS, HSI, and the Secret Service may be trying to find evidence to prosecute your case. Federal investigations are almost always secretive in nature and an individual typically won’t know about a criminal investigation until a search warrant is executed or an arrest is made. In some cases, however, an individual may get a letter from an internet service provider or a cloud-based storage company that they have received a subpoena or search warrant.

If you suspect that you are under criminal investigation for federal sexual exploitation of children crimes, it is crucial to contact an attorney as quickly as possible. They can analyze the details of your case, help protect your rights throughout the investigation process, and help you avoid any acts that could potentially be self-incriminating.

The federal legal defense team at Johnson/Citronberg, PLLC, has been helping clients who are under federal investigation for years. The sooner you contact us, the sooner we can help you. Even if you only suspect that you are being investigated, our attorneys can provide crucial guidance, advice, and representation.

What Penalties am I Facing for Federal Sexual Exploitation of Children Charges?

The penalties that you could be facing for federal exploitation of children charges are dependent on a variety of factors, including the your criminal history, the age of the child victims, the relationship you have with the child, and the nature and the extent of the crimes allegedly committed. For example, if you have previous similar convictions for child sex crimes, then you will likely face more severe sentencing, which could even include prison for life.

An experienced and knowledgeable lawyer from Johnson/Citronberg, PLLC, can listen to your story, understand all the details of your case, and give you a more accurate estimate of the penalties that you could be facing. When you work with a fierce lawyer from our team, we can work closely with you to minimize your penalties and move toward having your charges reduced or even dropped.

Collateral Consequences of a Federal Sexual Exploitation of Children Conviction

In addition to the hefty criminal penalties associated with federal sexual exploitation of children crimes, there are a wide variety of collateral damages that come with a conviction or even charges. These consequences could seriously impact the defendant’s life in the long run. Simply being charged with such a serious crime can have a negative impact on your reputation, straining personal and professional relationships. Additional collateral consequences include:

  • Restricted Access to Jobs. If an employer chooses to hire a convicted felon as a candidate, they will likely run a background check on them. After they discover the candidate’s criminal record, they may deny them the job.
  • Barred Housing Opportunities. Convicted felons will have difficulty receiving government benefits that could support accessing affordable housing, and they could be denied by a landlord when attempting to rent a home or apartment due to their criminal record.
  • Blocked From Education. Certain college and graduate programs will not admit convicted felons, and they will also likely be blocked from getting certain financing options, such as student loans with low interest rates and certain scholarships.
  • Cut off From Licenses. Certain professionals will likely lose their license as a result of being convicted of a federal sexual exploitation of children crime.
  • Registration as a Sex Offender. Once you are registered as a sex offender in a federal or jurisdictional registry, everyone can see this. Registered sex offenders are under tight surveillance, as they must continually update authorities when they move or even travel.
  • Barred From Areas with Children. Sex offenders are not allowed near certain places that are frequented by children, such as schools and recreational centers. This means they cannot live in these areas, and if there is a school zone on their way to work, for example, they will have to find an alternate route.

As being convicted of a federal sexual exploitation of children crime has a variety of consequences, including personal and professional ones, it’s important to work with a lawyer who can deliver a strong defense in order to fight your federal charges. A knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer from Johnson/Citronberg, PLLC, can employ key defense strategies to help you fight back against your charges.

How We Can Help: An Overview of Federal Crime Processing

The legal processes associated with fighting federal crimes are completely different from those associated with state crimes in Virginia or Georgia. Therefore, it is key to have a lawyer who is deeply experienced in handling federal cases, as a sex crimes defense lawyer who only has experience on the state level will not be equipped to adequately represent your case.

A devoted and knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer from Johnson/Citronberg, PLLC, can actively represent you throughout the processing of a federal crime, which generally includes:

  • The Investigation Phase. One or more federal government agencies or entities will conduct an investigation against a person, group, or network if they have a suspicion about a specific crime. During the investigation process, you may be presented with legal documents such as search warrants, and they will collect evidence and attempt to speak with people involved in or related to the crime.
  • Arrest. During the investigation phase, if federal law enforcement has sufficient evidence, they may arrest the suspect. It is important to know your rights during arrest, search and seizure, and requests for materials, as you could accidentally incriminate yourself or commit another offense unintentionally. If you are being investigated for the federal sex crime of child exploitation, a devoted attorney from Johnson/Citronberg, PLLC, can protect you during the arrest process.
  • Indictment. After the federal prosecutor’s office has reviewed all of the collected evidence to determine whether there is reason to present the case to a grand jury, the grand jury will determine if there is enough evidence to formally charge the defendant. If they find that the evidence is sufficient, an indictment will be handed down.
  • Assignment of Legal Representation. At this point, if the suspect does not already have a lawyer, they could opt to hire their own federal criminal defense attorney. A legal representative from our law firm can assist defendants in understanding the scope of their charges and the potential sentencing they could be facing, and we can help them prepare for the legal processes to come.
  • Arraignment. The arraignment hearing is the first official hearing on the case, in which the defendant is brought before a magistrate judge. During this hearing, the defendant is informed of their rights under federal law and informed of whether they will be held and detained or released on bail until the date of the trial.

    During the arraignment, the defendant will be asked to plead guilty or not guilty to the charges against them. An experienced criminal defense lawyer from our firm can help guide you to what plea might make sense for your case.

  • Discovery. During discovery, federal prosecutors need to provide the defendant and the defendant’s attorney with the evidence and materials that will be used to prosecute them at trial. The prosecutor and the criminal defense attorney will share information and evidence, and the defense lawyer will familiarize themselves with all details of the trial, interview the defendant and witnesses, and work to build a strong defense strategy to implement in court.
  • Plea Bargaining. Plea bargaining might make sense at this point. For example, if the federal government has an extremely strong case against the defendant, and the defendant has a low chance of winning their case, a federal criminal defense lawyer could help them implement an effective plea bargain. This option is only presented in some cases, and your lawyer can advise you on whether to accept a bargain.
  • Pre-Trial Motions. A motion is a request to the court from the defense attorney or prosecutor that asks the court to make certain decisions before the trial begins. The judge will have to grant or deny motions, which could have a strong impact on the trial, including the testimony, evidence, and defendants.
  • Trial. During the trial, the evidence and facts associated with the case are brought forward, and both the prosecutor and defense lawyer present their arguments. A dedicated criminal defense lawyer from our firm can leverage key evidence, such as witness testimony and expert testimony, in an attempt to demonstrate that the defendant is not guilty of the crimes they are being accused of.

    The federal judge will make decisions about what evidence can be shown to the jury.

  • Sentencing. If the jury finds the defendant guilty, there is a separate sentencing hearing in which they are informed of their sentence for their particular case. In order to decide on a sentence for an individual who is found guilty, the United States Sentencing Commission will use a set of federal sentencing guidelines and consider specific details relevant to the case. Many factors may influence the sentencing, including the

Even if a defendant is found guilty, they have the possibility to appeal the decision to the Circuit Court. Appeals can include many different arguments, ranging from complaints that the sentence was too harsh for the case or that the trial was not lawfully carried out according to procedure. As a result of an appeal, a decision can be reversed, a sentence can be changed, or there may be a new trial ordered, for example. Appeals can be made multiple times and may go up to the United States Supreme Court.

An experienced and compassionate federal sex crimes criminal defense lawyer from our firm can help you appeal a case decision, working to help you exercise your rights and your options. From the beginning of the case, they will serve as an advocate and communicator on your behalf to work to get optimal case outcomes. Our legal team will leverage all available options to ensure that you receive excellent legal representation.

Can I Be Released on Bail for Federal Sexual Exploitation of Children Charges?

If you have been indicted for federal sexual exploitation of children charges, whether you will be released on bail during the prosecution process is dependent on a variety of factors. The magistrate judge will consider factors such as whether you have family nearby and live in the area, the amount of time you have lived in the area, your existing criminal record, and whether you pose any immediate danger or threat to the community.

While being arrested and detained by federal authorities is intimidating and confusing, the compassionate federal criminal defense team at Johnson/Citronberg, PLLC, can walk you through each step of the way and ensure that your rights are protected. We can argue to have you released on bail or to have your bail amount reduced in a detention hearing. Whether or not a defendant is detained during the prosecution and trial process can make a significant difference in the final outcome of the case.

What Is Child Prostitution in the United States?

Child prostitution is defined as transactions that involve a minor performing certain sexual acts for the financial gain of another individual. Child prostitution crimes are serious federal crimes that are commonly found to be linked with child pornography offenses.

Those convicted of federal child pornography crimes can be sentenced to decades in prison, forced to pay large fines, and required to register as sex offenders. They will also likely be under strict surveillance upon release. If you are being charged with federal child prostitution crimes, it is imperative to get in touch with a fierce criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. A devoted and experienced child sex crimes criminal defense lawyer from our firm can help you craft and implement a strong defense strategy.

How Much Does a Federal Sexual Exploitation of Children Defense Lawyer Cost?

The price of a federal sexual exploitation of children lawyer depends on various factors, such as the location of the law firm, the experience of the lawyer, the complexity of your case, the seriousness of your charges, and other factors. Hiring a lawyer for your case will likely be a significant investment, as federal crimes are often more difficult and complex.

It’s important to work with a criminal defense attorney who is transparent upfront about their costs and other expected expenses associated with the case, such as court fees so that you can budget accordingly. By getting in touch with a knowledgeable federal criminal defense lawyer from Johnson/Citronberg, PLLC, you can discuss your case to get a more accurate understanding of how much you can expect to pay in legal fees.

Work With a Knowledgeable Federal Sexual Exploitation of Children Defense Lawyer

Fighting back against federal charges tends to be more effective when you hire effective legal representation as soon as possible. Being charged with a federal sex crime can be overwhelming, as the process is complex, and the stakes are high. The personal and criminal consequences that can result from a conviction can be devastating. However, our criminal defense legal team is here to provide you with the strong advocacy and representation that you deserve.

From informing you of your rights during the investigation process to helping you decide on a plea during your arraignment hearing and presenting strong evidence in the trial, we are ready to put all of our resources behind your case to protect your rights and work toward positive outcomes. Contact a federal criminal defense lawyer from our team today to get started with your sex crime charges defense strategy.


Request Your Consultation

Fields Marked With An “*” Are Required

"*" indicates required fields

I Have Read The Disclaimer*
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.