NRS 200.730 - "Possessing child pornography" in Nevada

NRS 200.730 is the Nevada child pornography law that makes it a crime to knowingly possess "for any purpose any film, photograph or other visual presentation depicting a person under the age of 16 years" engaging in sexual conduct.

A first-time conviction of possessing child pornography is a category B felony in Nevada. The penalty carries:

However, NRS 200.730 charges can possibly be reduced or dismissed through a Nevada plea bargain. Depending on the case, the following defense strategies may be effective in fighting possession allegations:

  1. the defendant did not act knowingly and willfully,
  2. the material was not pornographic, and
  3. no child under 16 was depicted

In this article, our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys discuss the Nevada offense of possessing child pornography. Click on a topic to jump to that section:

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Having child pornography is a category B felony in Nevada for a first-time offense.

1. Legal definition of possessing child pornography

NRS 200.730 makes it a Nevada crime when a person "knowingly and willfully has in his or her possession for any purpose" any photo or video showing a person 15-years old or younger "as the subject of a sexual portrayal or engaging in or simulating, or assisting others to engage in or simulate, sexual conduct."1

Specifically, NRS 200.730 outlaws possessing child pornography depicting any of the following sexual conduct:

  • sexual intercourse,
  • lewd exhibition of the genitals,
  • fellatio,
  • cunnilingus,
  • bestiality,
  • anal intercourse,
  • excretion,
  • sado-masochistic abuse,
  • masturbation,
  • the penetration of any part of a person's body, or
  • the penetration of any object manipulated or inserted by a person into the genital or anal opening of the body of another2

Note that simultaneously possessing more than one image of child pornography at one time and place is prosecuted a just one count of violating NRS 200.730:3

Example: Acting on a tip, police raid Lester's Henderson home and finds five photographs depicting a child under 16-years old having sex. Since Lester was allegedly possessing all five images at one time and place, he faces only one count of possessing child pornography.

Had police in the above example also found child porn at Lester's office, then he would face two possession charges because the office was a separate place from his home.

2. Nevada penalties for possessing child pornography

A first-time conviction of violating NRS 200.730 is a category B felony. The punishment is:

  • one to six (1 - 6) years in prison, and/or
  • up to $5,000 in fines

A second-time or successive conviction of child pornography possession is a category A felony in Nevada. The punishment is:

  • life in prison with the possibility of parole, and
  • up to $5,000 in fines4
banker box
A conviction of possessing just one image of child porn requires that the defendant register as a sex offender in Nevada.

Regardless of whether it is a first or successive conviction, the judge will order the defendant to register for 25 years as a Tier II offender on the Nevada Sex Offender Registry. The general public can search for the identities and addresses of Tier II offenders online.5

Note that a charge for possessing child pornography does not always result in a conviction. The defense attorney would employ aggressive investigation, negotiation, and litigation in attempt to get the charges reduced or dismissed.

3. Fighting Nevada charges for child pornography possession

When defending against NRS 200.730 charges, the defense attorney may argue either:

  1. the defendant did not act knowingly and willfully,
  2. the material was not pornographic, and/or
  3. there was no child under 16 years old depicted

No matter the defense, the D.A. always bears the burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt should the case go to trial.

3.1. The defendant did not act knowingly and willfully

Possessing child pornography is criminal only if the suspect is aware the materials are there:6

Example: Joey shares a Las Vegas apartment with Frank. Joey has no idea that Frank keeps kiddie porn videos in their closet. Even though Joe has access to the closet, Joey is committing no crime because he does not "knowingly and willfully" possess the child pornography.

Had Joey in the above example found the videos in the closet and chose to ignore it, Joey could then be prosecuted for "knowingly and willfully" allowing the materials to remain in his possession. It does not matter if Joey never looked at the videos or disapproved of them.

3.2. The material was not pornographic

What qualifies as pornography is often subjective. If the defense attorney can show that the images in question have "serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value," then the charges should be dropped.7

3.3. There was no child under 16 years old

Possessing sexual images or films is not illegal under NRS 200.730 if all the participants are at least 16-years old,8 which is the age of consent in Nevada. If the prosecutors cannot prove that any of the people in the pornographic materials are 15-years old or younger, then the possession charges should be dropped.

4. Possessing child pornography is deportable

Possessing child pornography is a crime involving moral turpitude. Consequently, non-U.S. citizens convicted of it risk being deported once they complete their criminal sentences.9

Aliens who are facing Nevada charges of violating NRS 200.730 are strongly urged to retain experienced counsel to try to have the charges changed to non-deportable offenses. Learn more about the criminal defense of immigrants in Nevada.

5. Sealing Nevada records for possessing child pornography

gavel folder
A Nevada conviction for possessing child porn may never be sealed from the defendant's criminal record.

Convictions for violating NRS 200.730 may not be sealed from a defendant's criminal record.10 But the arrest record may be sealed right away if the charge gets dismissed.11 Learn more about how to seal Nevada criminal records.

6. Related offenses

6.1. Use of a minor in production of pornography

Violating NRS 200.710 - Nevada's laws for using a minor to produce pornography is punished as a category A felony in Nevada. The court may impose a life sentence and fines of up to $100,000.12

6.2. Promotion of a child sexual performance

Violating NRS 200.720 - Nevada's laws for promoting a sexual performance of a child is punished as a category A felony. The court may impose life in prison and up to $100,000 in fines.

6.3. Advertisement or distribution of child pornography

Violating NRS 200.725 - Nevada's child pornography advertising laws is punished as a category B felony. The court may impose one to fifteen (1- 15) years in prison and/or up to $15,000 in fines.

6.4. Using the internet to view child pornography

Violating NRS 200.730 - Nevada's child pornography possession laws is punished as a category C felony in Nevada for a first-time offense. The court may impose one to five (1- 5) years in prison and possible fines of up to $10,000.

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Arrested for possessing child pornography in Nevada under NRS 200.730? Do not wait to contact our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys at 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673). We give FREE consultations to discuss your options.

Las Vegas Defense Group is known throughout Nevada for our effective legal representation, and we have an impressive history of getting serious felonies reduced to misdemeanors or dismissals.


Legal References

  1. NRS 200.730 Possession of visual presentation depicting sexual conduct of person under 16 years of age unlawful; penalties. A person who knowingly and willfully has in his or her possession for any purpose any film, photograph or other visual presentation depicting a person under the age of 16 years as the subject of a sexual portrayal or engaging in or simulating, or assisting others to engage in or simulate, sexual conduct:

          1. For the first offense, is guilty of a category B felony and shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for a minimum term of not less than 1 year and a maximum term of not more than 6 years, and may be further punished by a fine of not more than $5,000.

          2. For any subsequent offense, is guilty of a category A felony and shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for a minimum term of not less than 1 year and a maximum term of life with the possibility of parole, and may be further punished by a fine of not more than $5,000.
  2. NRS 200.700 Definitions. As used in NRS 200.700 to 200.760, inclusive, unless the context otherwise requires:

          1. “Performance” means any play, film, photograph, computer-generated image, electronic representation, dance or other visual presentation.

          2. “Promote” means to produce, direct, procure, manufacture, sell, give, lend, publish, distribute, exhibit, advertise or possess for the purpose of distribution.

          3. “Sexual conduct” means sexual intercourse, lewd exhibition of the genitals, fellatio, cunnilingus, bestiality, anal intercourse, excretion, sado-masochistic abuse, masturbation, or the penetration of any part of a person's body or of any object manipulated or inserted by a person into the genital or anal opening of the body of another.

          4. “Sexual portrayal” means the depiction of a person in a manner which appeals to the prurient interest in sex and which does not have serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value.
  3. Castaneda v. State, 373 P.3d 108 (2016)("As in Liberty and Sutherby, we hold only that, consistent with their reasoning and the rule of lenity long established in our law, Castaneda's simultaneous possession at one time and place of 15 images depicting child pornography constituted a single violation of NRS 200.730.").
  4. NRS 200.730.
  5. NRS 179D.115.
  6. See NRS 200.730.
  7. See NRS 200.700.
  8. See NRS 200.730.
  9. See, e.g. United States v. Santacruz, 563 F.3d 894 (9th Cir. 2009)("We hold that knowing possession of child pornography is a crime involving moral turpitude. The district court's order revoking Santacruz's naturalization is therefore affirmed.")
  10. NRS 179.245.
  11. NRS 179.255.
  12. Wilson v. State, 121 Nev. 345, 114 P.3d 285 (2005) ("[C]hild pornography under NRS 200.730 is not a lesser-included offense of the production of child pornography under NRS 200.710 and therefore Wilson's four convictions for possession of child pornography do not violate the Double Jeopardy Clause.")

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