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5 Things You Should Do If You’re Accused of Possessing Illegal Porn

accused of possessing illegal pornWhat can you do if you’re accused of possessing illegal porn?

There’s no denying that people intentionally seeking illegal pornographic materials, much of which features minors, deserve to face legal consequences.

But what about people who accidentally end up in possession of illegal pornography?

Modern technology allows for the simple and rapid exchange of all kinds of material. It surprises many people to learn how often illegal porn ends up on people’s computers and other devices by accident.

What to Expect and What Should You Do If You or a Loved One is Accused of Possessing Illegal Porn?

First, it’s important to understand what the law deems illegal when it comes to pornographic content. You can learn more in this guide from the Department of Justice.

Most of these cases begin with a search warrant for a computer or other device believed to contain illegal material. Law enforcement requests a warrant when someone reports to them the suspicion of pornographic material. In other cases, websites shut down for posting or promoting illegal material have their client/customer lists confiscated.

If law enforcement has a search warrant, there isn’t much you can do to prevent the confiscation of your device. But this doesn’t mean you should say anything to them about the matter.

Avoid Speaking to Law Enforcement

One of the worst things you can do if questioned by police about illegal pornographic material is to speak to them without an attorney. Even if you had no idea the material was on your device or you believe that it is not on your device, the prosecution can use anything you say against you.

Law enforcement has no obligation to be honest with you during its investigation. They can use a variety of tactics to trick you into admitting something. Sometimes, they try to confuse you into saying something that paints you as a criminal. Everything you say once an investigation is underway is evidence and becomes part of the prosecution’s defense against you.

The sooner you hire an attorney the better. These types of investigations can be lengthy. Waiting until the prosecution files charges to contact an attorney costs you precious time that you could be building a defense.

If you’ve been accused of possessing illegal porn, now is not a time to do nothing and hope for the best. You must be aggressive and make smart choices when facing charges of possession of illegal pornography, even if you are innocent.

Will Law Enforcement Return My Device?

You should not expect to get your device back, at least not any time soon. If law enforcement has confiscated it for an investigation, you’re better off replacing the device. The original device is evidence in a criminal investigation and chances are, you’ve lost the original device forever.

Possession of child pornography could result in both state and federal charges. You could face lengthy time in jail, as well as significant fines. Charges with or without a conviction could ruin your reputation and interfere with all aspects of your life. You must take the situation seriously and assume the worst-case scenario will unfold, even if you are innocent.

What are the Potential Defenses for People Facing Illegal Pornography Charges?

The good news is most people accused of possessing child pornography have several potential defenses they can use. For example:

  • The prosecution must prove intent to convict you of possessing illegal pornography. The defendant must know that the material in their possession is illegal and the prosecution must show this to be the case. If you had no idea what was in your possession was illegal could be part of your defense.
  • If you share your computer or another device with someone else, the prosecution could have a tough time proving you were the person who intended to gain access to the illegal materials. Likewise, if you or someone using your device downloads material without knowing what the content of the material might be. This is often the case when clicking on links without knowing what they lead to and/or extracting images in bulk from a zipped file.
  • Some states require the defendant to download the material. If there is only proof that someone viewed the illegal material without downloading it or they did not realize they’d downloaded it – they did not “knowingly possess it,” the prosecution could have a tough time proving possession.
  • The prosecution must show you intended to distribute the materials to other people if you’re accused of dissemination of illegal pornography. If someone gained access to illegal material on your computer via a peer-to-peer sharing system and you didn’t know how these programs worked, a conviction of intent to distribute is unlikely.
  • The original search warrant used to seize your devices must be legal. This means law enforcement needs probable cause. Otherwise, they cannot use the evidence gathered as a result of the warrant against you. Your attorney will carefully review the search warrant filed against you to ensure it was legal.

Contact an Experienced Attorney

Despite the challenges the prosecution faces proving its case against you, it still has the upper hand. There is no doubt the legal system favors the prosecution in these cases. Those people accused of possessing illegal pornographic material face an uphill battle. This is why it’s so important to reach out to an attorney immediately, as soon as you suspect you are under investigation.

To discuss your situation with an experienced professional or to learn more about your options if accused of possessing or distributing illegal pornography, contact David Lindsey to schedule a free consultation.



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David Lindsey, Attorney at Law

7887 East Belleview Avenue, Suite 1100
Englewood, CO 80111
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Phone: 303-228-2270
Fax: 303-228-2271 

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1900 Grant Street, Suite 750
Denver, CO 80203
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Phone: 303-228-2270
Fax: 303-228-2271