NRS 200.720 is the Nevada child pornography law that prohibits knowingly promoting “a performance of a minor:
- Where the minor engages in or simulates, or assists others to engage in or simulate, sexual conduct; or
- Where the minor is the subject of a sexual portrayal.”
Promoting a child’s sexual performance under NRS 200.720 is a category A felony. The sentence is:
- life in Nevada State Prison (with the possibility of parole),
- up to $100,000 in fines, and
- 25 years as a Tier II offender on the Sex Offender Registry
However, the D.A. may agree to reduce or dismiss the charges as part of a plea bargain. Three typical defense strategies to fight NRS 200.720 allegations are:
- the defendant’s state of mind was not “knowing,”
- the performance was legal under U.S. Constitution, and
- the defendant was falsely accused
In this article, our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys discuss the Nevada offense of promotion of a sexual performance of a minor. Click on a topic to jump to that section:
- 1. Legal definition
- 2. Nevada penalties for the promotion of a child’s sexual performance
- 3. Fighting charges
- 4. Immigration consequences
- 5. Sealing records
- 6. Related offenses
NRS 200.720 makes it a Nevada crime for a person to knowingly “produce, direct, procure, manufacture, sell, give, lend, publish, distribute, exhibit, advertise or possess for the purpose of distribution” the sexual performance of a child under 18 years old. A “sexual performance” includes any type of sexual conduct, such as:
- sexual intercourse,
- lewd exhibition of the genitals,
- anal intercourse,
- sado-masochistic abuse,
- 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 another
It makes no difference whether the sexual performance takes the form of either a:
- electronic representation,
- dance, or
- other visual presentation
In sum, Nevada law prohibits people from promoting any performance involving a minor engaging in sexual conduct. It is irrelevant whether the performance gets recorded or is ever sold.1
An NRS 200.720 charge is prosecuted as a category A felony. The punishment is:
- a life sentence in prison, and
- up to $100,000 in fines
Parole may be available after ten (10) years if the child was under 14-years old. Otherwise, parole may be available after five (5) years.2
In addition to the fines, the judge may order the defendant to give up any money or property derived from proceeds of the promotion. Read more about asset forfeiture.3
The most serious penalty may be the requirement to register for 25 years as a Tier II sex offender in Nevada. The identities of Tier II offenders is available online.4
Note that a conviction also carries lifetime supervision under NRS 176.0931. But it may be possible to get off lifetime supervision after 10 years.
Even though child pornography allegations are very serious, it is not uncommon for prosecutors to agree to a significant charge reduction or dismissal through the negotiation process with defense attorneys.
Three common defenses to NRS 200.720 charges are:
- the defendant’s actions were not knowing,
- no pornography was performed, and/or
- the defendant was falsely accused
3.1. The defendant’s actions were not knowing
A defendant must have acted “knowingly” in order to be guilty of promoting pornography.5
Example: Audrey is a Las Vegas theater owner who agrees to lease the space to a troupe to perform a night of Shakespeare. Audrey did not know that the troupe was a front for kiddie porn live shows. Since Audrey had no idea that the show involved child sex acts, she should not be convicted of violating NRS 200.720.
In the above example, Audrey’s state of mind is key to whether criminal charges can attach. Evidence such as eyewitnesses, texts, emails, and recorded phone calls may serve as evidence to establish what a defendant is thinking.
3.2. No pornography was performed
What one person writes off as porn may serve a legitimate, non-sexual purpose to another. As long as a performance has serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value, the First Amendment should protect it as legal.6 Judges may look to expert testimony and cultural context to determine whether something qualifies as pornography or not.
3.3. The defendant was falsely accused
Judges have seen many cases where defendants are wrongly accused by others, especially children. If the defense attorney can show that the accusers lack credibility, the prosecutors may realize they have insufficient evidence to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
An immigration judge would likely find that promoting a child’s sexual performance is deportable as a crime involving moral turpitude.7 Therefore, aliens facing NRS 200.720 charges should seek experienced legal representation to attempt to have the case dropped or changed to a non-deportable offense.
Convictions of violating NRS 200.720 can never be sealed in Nevada.8 But if the charges get dropped, then there is no waiting time to petition the court for a record seal.9 Read about how to seal Nevada criminal records.
6.1. Using a minor to produce pornography
Using a minor to produce pornography (NRS 200.710) is penalized identically to promoting a minor’s sexual performance. It is a category A felony, and the punishment is a life sentence and fines of up to $100,000.
6.2. Advertising or distributing child pornography
6.3. Using the internet to view child pornography
Watching child pornography on the internet (NRS 200.727) is penalized as a category C felony for a first-time offense. The punishment is one to five (1- 5) years in prison and fines of up to $10,000 (at the judge’s discretion).
6.4. Possessing child pornography
Possessing child pornography (NRS 200.730) is penalized as a category B felony for a first-time offense. The punishment is one to six (1 – 6) years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines (at the judge’s discretion).
Call a Nevada criminal defense attorney…
Have you been charged with child pornography in Nevada? Contact our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys for a consult.
Our mission would be to negotiate a substantial reduction or dismissal of the charges without a trial. But if necessary, we are experienced courtroom advocates ready to fight for a full acquittal.
- NRS 200.720 Promotion of sexual performance of minor unlawful. A person who knowingly promotes a performance of a minor:1. Where the minor engages in or simulates, or assists others to engage in or simulate, sexual conduct; or2. Where the minor is the subject of a sexual portrayal,–> is guilty of a category A felony and shall be punished as provided in NRS 200.750.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.
- NRS 200.750 Penalties. A person punishable pursuant to NRS 200.710 or 200.720 shall be punished for a category A felony by imprisonment in the state prison:1. If the minor is 14 years of age or older, for life with the possibility of parole, with eligibility for parole beginning when a minimum of 5 years has been served, and shall be further punished by a fine of not more than $100,000.2. If the minor is less than 14 years of age, for life with the possibility of parole, with eligibility for parole beginning when a minimum of 10 years has been served, and shall be further punished by a fine of not more than $100,000.
- NRS 200.760 Forfeiture. All assets derived from or relating to any violation of NRS 200.366, 200.710 to 200.730, inclusive, or 201.230 are subject to forfeiture. A proceeding for their forfeiture may be brought pursuant to NRS 179.1156 to 179.1205, inclusive.
- NRS 179D.115.
- See NRS 200.720.
- See NRS 200.700.
- See I.N.A. § 212(a)(2)(A)(i)(I).); I.N.A. § 237(a)(2)(A)(i).
- NRS 179.245.
- NRS 179.255.