The seriousness of a possession of child pornography charge cannot be underestimated. Possession of depictions of a minor engaged in obscene actions or sexual conduct can lead to criminal charges for each and every picture. Convictions for each count can mean a year in jail and a $1,000 fine. Anyone convicted a second time can face multiple years in prison. In addition, possession of illegal child pornography means that you’ll have to registers as a sex offender which can destroy your reputation.

Often, child pornography is part of a virus. If child pornography is sent to you without your request, the best course of action is to call the police and show that you were the one lodging a complaint and that you’re the victim, instead of deleting the image.

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Some of the possible defenses to child pornography on your computer devices

Generally, the prosecution must prove that you knowingly or intentionally downloaded the child pornography. Still, if the porn is on your computer, the burden will often shift to you to explain how it got there. Possible defenses include factors like:

  • The age of the person depicted. The prosecution must normally show that you knew the child on the computer screen was under 18. It’s normally not a defense that the website claimed that the child was 18 or older. If the child looks like they’re under 18, then the burden will normally shift to the defendant to provide a credible reason why you reasonably believed she/he was 18 or older.
  • P2P networks. Child pornography may be included or misidentified when you download files through peer-to-peer networks. Downloading pornography always includes the risk that depictions of minors may be included. Still, defendants can assert that the download was accidental and not intentional.
  • Malicious conduct. Some websites and hackers gain access to your computer devices and place the child pornography images or videos to your files. Technical experts can help show that you never downloaded the files yourself.

Deleting the file immediately (though deleted files can be detected on your device’s hard drive) is an indicator that the download was accidental. Technical experts can also review your browser history (the searches you made) and your file history (when the file was downloaded, when it was opened/watched, and what was done with the file). These factors can also help show the download was accidental.

In some cases, we can help show that the download occurred due to somebody else’s use or malicious abuse and not through any action or your part.

The Annapolis criminal defense lawyers at Drew Cochran, Attorney at Law, understand the fundamental issue that prosecutors need to prove – to show that you committed a crime and not that you made an innocent mistake. We work with computer experts to verify what happened to your computer. We fight to exclude evidence that was illegally seized. Many times, we can reduce the charges or have them dismissed. For help with any child pornography charge, call our respected Annapolis and Ellicott City attorneys at 410.777.8103, or use my contact form to schedule a consultation.

And remember: Keep Calm – and Call Drew.