Potential Defenses to Child Pornography Possession and Distribution Charges
Pennsylvania and federal laws prohibit the intentional possession and/or distribution of child pornography. Law enforcement agencies conduct long and detailed investigations to gather as much information as possible before moving in to arrest an alleged offender, often through so-called sting operations. A criminal prosecution can include a wide range of charges related to using or conspiring to use the internet (or physical mail) to obtain or distribute images, videos or other material depicting minors sexually.
Anyone charged with a child pornography crime faces an immediate fallout that can hurt their careers, reputations and personal lives. If you find yourself in that situation, you need a lawyer who can aggressively devise and implement defenses designed to lead to reduction or dismissal of the charges.
One type of potential defense concerns illegal searches and seizures by law enforcement. Police might have lied to get a warrant or they may have seized materials and devices that weren’t specified in a warrant. Evidence obtained in these and other unlawful ways can be suppressed in court through the efforts of an effective defense attorney.
Entrapment is another defense related to police misconduct. You may have been induced to purchase content that wasn’t identified as child pornography, perhaps by an undercover agent initiating contact with you online. Entrapment often occurs when law enforcement conducts wide-ranging sting operations.
Accidental possession may be another viable defense. In the connected world of the internet, many people end up with numerous files on their devices that they didn’t even know were there. Files can be placed on devices by viruses, malware, pop-ups, screen hijacks or other involuntary means. Along the same lines, it is not a criminal act to view child pornography unintentionally. Accidental viewing can happen if someone sends you a link that you click on without knowing that it might take you to illegal images or videos. Or you might open an executable file that places an unwanted program on your computer or device.
Furthermore, the content alleged to be child pornography may not in fact be so. If the content consists of images or videos of young-looking people who are over 18, it is not illegal. The prosecution has the burden of proving the person was a minor when depicted or described.
In addition, the accusations against you may be false or fabricated. A bitter ex or vindictive co-worker or business associate may have downloaded child pornography onto your computer and then tipped off police that you had such material, all to make it look like you committed a crime when you did not.
Even if the government has a strong case against you, there are still efforts that a skilled defense attorney can make to seek a reduction of sentence or an alternative to criminal penalties.
The Law Offices of David Jay Glassman provides vigorous defense for people accused of child pornography-related crimes in Pennsylvania. Call our Philadelphia office 24/7 at 215-563-7100 or contact us online today.