What are the Penalties for Child Pornography?

First time offenders are often shocked by how harsh federal penalties for child pornography offenses are: prison time is the norm, even in cases of mere possession. Cases involving transmission of child pornography -- for example, emailing a single image to an undercover agent -- carry a mandatory minimum five-year sentence in federal prison. Maximum sentences range from 10 years to life imprisonment and Congress is constantly trying to raise them. In New York, lifelong sex offender registration frequently follows a conviction for possession of child porn.