Federal Child Pornography Sentencing Guidelines

Here are the United States Sentencing Guidelines that apply to most federal child pornography charges - at least those involving the possession, receipt, or distribution of child pornography.

The commentary to these guidelines matters - you might want to read them if you have a very specific question, and they're available here.

§2G2.2.     Trafficking in Material Involving the Sexual Exploitation of a Minor; Receiving, Transporting, Shipping, Soliciting, or Advertising Material Involving the Sexual Exploitation of a Minor; Possessing Material Involving the Sexual Exploitation of a Minor with Intent to Traffic; Possessing Material Involving the Sexual Exploitation of a Minor

(a)       Base Offense Level:

(1)       18, if the defendant is convicted of 18 U.S.C. § 1466A(b), § 2252(a)(4), § 2252A(a)(5), or § 2252A(a)(7).

(2)       22, otherwise.

(b)      Specific Offense Characteristics

(1)       If (A) subsection (a)(2) applies; (B) the defendant's conduct was limited to the receipt or solicitation of material involving the sexual exploitation of a minor; and (C) the defendant did not intend to traffic in, or distribute, such material, decrease by 2 levels.

(2)       If the material involved a prepubescent minor or a minor who had not attained the age of 12 years, increase by 2 levels.

(3)       (Apply the greatest)  If the offense involved:

(A)       Distribution for pecuniary gain, increase by the number of levels from the table in §2B1.1 (Theft, Property Destruction, and Fraud) corresponding to the retail value of the material, but by not less than 5 levels.

(B)       Distribution for the receipt, or expectation of receipt, of a thing of value, but not for pecuniary gain, increase by 5 levels.

(C)       Distribution to a minor, increase by 5 levels. 

(D)       Distribution to a minor that was intended to persuade, induce, entice, or coerce the minor to engage in any illegal activity, other than illegal activity covered under subdivision (E), increase by 6 levels.

(E)        Distribution to a minor that was intended to persuade, induce, entice, coerce, or facilitate the travel of, the minor to engage in prohibited sexual conduct, increase by 7 levels.

(F)        Distribution other than distribution described in subdivisions (A) through (E), increase by 2 levels.

(4)       If the offense involved material that portrays sadistic or masochistic conduct or other depictions of violence, increase by 4 levels.

(5)       If the defendant engaged in a pattern of activity involving the sexual abuse or exploitation of a minor, increase by 5 levels.

(6)       If the offense involved the use of a computer or an interactive computer service for the possession, transmission, receipt, or distribution of the material, or for accessing with intent to view the material, increase by 2 levels.

(7)       If the offense involved—

(A)       at least 10 images, but fewer than 150, increase by 2 levels;

(B)       at least 150 images, but fewer than 300, increase by 3 levels;

(C)       at least 300 images, but fewer than 600, increase by 4 levels; and

(D)       600 or more images, increase by 5 levels.

(c)       Cross Reference

(1)       If the offense involved causing, transporting, permitting, or offering or seeking by notice or advertisement, a minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing a visual depiction of such conduct or for the purpose of transmitting a live visual depiction of such conduct, apply §2G2.1 (Sexually Exploiting a Minor by Production of Sexually Explicit Visual or Printed Material; Custodian Permitting Minor to Engage in Sexually Explicit Conduct; Advertisement for Minors to Engage in Production), if the resulting offense level is greater than that determined above.


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