A first-time NRS 200.727 violation is a category C felony in Nevada. The penalty is:
- 1 – 5 years in Nevada State Prison, and
- up to $10,000 in fines (at the judge’s discretion), and
- 25 years as a Tier II sex offender in Nevada
But the D.A. may be willing to offer a Nevada plea bargain where the charges get reduced or possibly dropped completely. Potential defense strategies to charges of watching child pornography on the internet include:
- the defendant did not act willfully,
- the material online was not pornography, and
- there was no child under 16 depicted
In this article, our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys discuss the Nevada offense of viewing child pornography online. Click on a topic to jump to that section:
- 1. Definition
- 2. Penalties
- 3. Defenses
- 4. Immigration consequences
- 5. Record seals
- 6. Related offenses
NRS 200.727 makes it a Nevada crime for a person to “knowingly, willfully and with the specific intent to view” child pornography to then use the internet to control that pornography. One example would be surfing an online porn site and playing videos on the site. Another example would be video-conferencing with a child online for cyber-sex.
The pornography specifically prohibited by NRS 200.727 must involve a minor under 16 engaging in or simulating any of the following sexual conduct:
- sexual intercourse,
- anal intercourse,
- sado-masochistic abuse,
- masturbation, or
- the penetration of any object manipulated or inserted by a person into the genital or anal opening of the body of another
Note that viewing a pornographic image that is saved on a computer’s hard drive would not violate NRS 200.727 because the internet is not being used.1
A first-time conviction of violating NRS 200.727 is a category C felony. The punishment is:
- one to five (1 – 5) years in prison, and/or
- up to $10,000 in fines
A second-time or successive conviction is a category B felony in Nevada. The punishment is:
- one to six (1 – 6) years in prison, and
- up to $5,000 in fines2
Whether it is a first or successive conviction, defendants would be required to register for 25 years as a Tier II offender on the Nevada Sex Offender Registry. Their information would be publicly searchable online.3
An arrest for child pornography does not guarantee a conviction. The defense attorney and prosecutor may be able to agree to a plea bargain where the charges get lessened to minor offenses or possibly dismissed.
Typical defenses to NRS 200.727 charges are:
- the defendant did not act willfully,
- the material on the internet was not pornography, and/or
- the was no child under 16 years old
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 willfully
NRS 200.727 charges require that the defendant act “knowingly, willfully and with the specific intent to view” the pornography.4 So a defense attorney may try to show that the defendant acted with no criminal intent:
Example: Kim is surfing the internet when her computer gets infected with a virus. Suddenly a window pops up showing kiddie porn. She immediately closes the window and contacts the authorities. Since Kim had no intention to watch the pornography, Kim committed no crime.
Had Kim in the above example continued to watch the porn after it appeared on her screen, then she would have a more difficult time trying to prove she did not willfully view it.
3.2. The material on the internet was not pornography
No law was broken if what the defendant watched online had “serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.”5 If the defense attorney can convince the prosecutor that there was no pornography involved, then the case should be dropped.
3.3. There was no child under 16 years old
NRS 200.727 charges apply only if the sexual conduct involved a child under 16 (which is the age of consent in Nevada).6 If the prosecutor cannot prove that the people depicted were 15 or younger, then the case should be dropped. (Note that it is not a defense if the defendant genuinely believed the child was over 15.)
An immigration judge could deport a non-citizen for using the internet to view child porn because it is presumably a crime involving moral turpitude.7 That is why the immigrant’s defense attorney should try to negotiate a plea deal where the charge gets dismissed or changed to something non-deportable. Read further about the criminal defense of immigrants in Nevada.
5. Sealing Nevada records for using the internet to control visual representations of child pornography
It is not possible in Nevada to seal a criminal record conviction for violating NRS 200.727. It does not matter how many years have passed since the case ended.8
However, it is possible to seal an NRS 200.727 arrest record if the criminal charge ultimately gets dismissed. And there is no waiting period required.9 Read more about how to seal Nevada criminal records.
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 a category A felony in Nevada. The judge may impose a life sentence and fines of up to $100,000.
6.2. Promotion of a child sexual performance
Violating NRS 200.720 – Nevada’s laws for promoting a sexual performance of a child is a category A felony. The judge 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 penalized as a category B felony. The judge may impose one to fifteen (1- 15) years in prison and/or up to $15,000 in fines.
6.4. Possession of child pornography
A first-time offense of violating NRS 200.730 – Nevada’s child pornography possession laws is a category B felony. The judge may impose one to six (1 – 6) years in prison and potentially up to $5,000 in fines.
Call a Nevada criminal defense attorney…
If you are facing criminal charges for child pornography, contact our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys.
We have a long track record of getting very serious charges drastically reduced and sometimes dismissed completely. And if you choose to go to trial, we are prepared to fight zealously for a “not guilty” verdict.
- NRS 200.727 Use of Internet to control visual presentation depicting sexual conduct of person under 16 years of age; penalties.1. Any person who, knowingly, willfully and with the specific intent to view any film, photograph or other visual presentation depicting a person under the age of 16 years engaging in or simulating sexual conduct, uses the Internet to control such a film, photograph or other visual presentation is guilty of: (a) For the first offense, a category C felony and shall be punished as provided in NRS 193.130. (b) For any subsequent offense, 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. As used in this section, “sexual conduct” means sexual intercourse, fellatio, cunnilingus, bestiality, anal intercourse, excretion, sado-masochistic abuse, masturbation, or the penetration of any object manipulated or inserted by a person into the genital or anal opening of the body of another.
- NRS 200.727.
- NRS 179D.115.
- See NRS 200.727.
- See NRS 200.700.
- See NRS 200.727.
- See I.N.A. § 212(a)(2)(A)(i)(I).); I.N.A. § 237(a)(2)(A)(i).
- NRS 179.245.
- NRS 179.255.