It is often thought that in cases involving the distribution, receipt, or possession of child pornography are not taken as seriously as cases involving the production of child pornography because the offense does not involve an actual victim. However, this is untrue. Just looking at or possessing child pornography on your computer, or other electronic device, can secure a minimum of five years in prison.
These types of cases are also taken very seriously in state courts today, and in California, whether you are charged with a misdemeanor or felony, you will be listed as a registered sex offender for the rest of your life under California Penal Code section 290. Therefore, if you are under an active investigation for the possession of child pornography, distribution of child pornography, or any related offense, you should immediately obtain the services of a seasoned criminal defense lawyer, specifically one who specializes in child pornography cases.
Child Pornography Cases Are on the Rise
With the advancements in technology, accessing child pornography has gotten much easier, especially due to Peer to Peer networks where individuals can share or distribute child pornography with one another. Now, anyone with a computer and an internet connection can obtain an infinite number of illegal images or videos in seconds.
For this reason, the federal government, as well as various State of California Task Forces, are ramping up their investigations by carrying out frequent sting operations, posing on or infiltrating internet chat rooms, tracking IP addresses and investigating file sharing networks. Furthermore, the federal courts have significantly increased the length of prison sentences for federal defendants who have been convicted of possession of child pornography and related offenses.
What to do If You Are Being Investigated or Have Been Arrested for Child Pornography
Assert Your Rights
Regardless if you are innocent or guilty, if you are confronted by the FBI or police, best practice is to state you would like an attorney and they do not have permission to search anything. Besides those two statements, stay silent because even engaging in the slightest conversation can be used to incriminate you. If the FBI or police have a warrant, do not obstruct them, but also do not consent to anything either.
If you have reason to believe you are under investigation, but have not yet been confronted by the FBI or police, you should obtain the help of a criminal defense attorney immediately. Here, your lawyer can evaluate your situation, the degree of the case, and whether or not you should cooperate with the government. With this, you are much more likely to avoid criminal charges in the future.
If you go to delete files on your computer or other electronic device, it is important to know that they are not permanently deleted. The files will be stored in another part of your device’s hard drive where it will live indefinitely. Further, the government has very sophisticated computer forensic software that can recover any file type, regardless of how long it has been deleted.
Obtain Legal Representation
Regardless if you are innocent or guilty of viewing, possessing, or distributing child pornography, you must retain the services of an experienced criminal defense lawyer. Here, you must fully disclose all information that is relevant to your case so they can fully defend you and protect your freedom. With this, they can investigate your case and may be able to find gaps in the evidence or faults in the FBI or police investigation.
Along with immediately hiring a criminal defense lawyer, you need to proactively be doing several other things to help your case. This often entails submitting to a polygraph examination, collecting work and personal letters of reference, cooperating with your attorney and assisting them in their investigation of your case, submitting to a psychological evaluation or sex-offender evaluation, and participating in treatment programs. It is also a good idea to work with an attorney who can obtain a forensic examination of your computer, as many potential defenses can arise from that.
Contact an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer Today
Possession or distribution of child pornography is taken very seriously in a court of law and it can secure life-altering consequences if you are convicted. Whether you are under investigation or have been charged with a related offense, it is important to contact a seasoned criminal defense lawyer who specializes in these types of cases. Call Premier Federal Criminal Defenders today and we will work tirelessly to defend you and protect your freedom. For a free consultation: 1-800-455-6200.