Being arrested for possessing or distributing materials that depict children in a sexualized fashion can be a terrifying experience. Because child sexual exploitation is such a loaded topic, accusations of being involved with child pornography could lead people to assume your guilt, even if there is no evidence to back it up.
A Greenville child pornography lawyer has a deep understanding of the law and law enforcement procedures in these cases. There are often weaknesses in the prosecution’s evidence. An experienced legal representative could mount the strongest defense possible, given the specifics of your case.
Defending a Child Pornography Case
Child pornography is almost always shared across the internet and viewed as a digital or electronic image. This fact gives rise to some special circumstances that could create weaknesses in a prosecutor’s case. However, it is crucial for anyone accused of a child sex crime to recognize that ignorance of age is never a viable defense.
Accused Lacked Intent
Intent to possess, disseminate, or produce child pornography is an element of the crime. A prosecutor must establish beyond a reasonable doubt that you knew the images depicted a child in a sexually explicit manner.
If the images at issue were in a file with other images—for example, sexually explicit images of adults—it could be possible to assert a defense that you had no intent to possess or distribute child pornography. Similarly, if you shared the computer on which the images were found with others, you might assert that you lacked knowledge of the content of the files.
Law Enforcement Overreach
In many cases, suspects are identified through police monitoring of websites where sexually explicit images of children are traded and sold. Law enforcement personnel sometimes pose as buyers or sellers of child pornography and track persons who indicate an interest in the material. Depending on the nature of the communication, entrapment could be a viable defense in these cases.
Sometimes law enforcement tracks a particular image or file across the internet to identify when someone downloads it. In such cases, a Greenville child pornography attorney might challenge the procedures law enforcement used to follow the images to the accused’s IP address.
Infringement of Rights
Law enforcement officers must follow strict procedures to avoid violating your freedom from an unreasonable search or seizure. They must have a valid search warrant to enter a suspect’s home or office or examine or seize their cell phone, computer, or other devices. A diligent child pornography lawyer in Greenville could examine the search warrant to ensure that it was valid on the day of the search and contained no technical defects. An illegal warrant or arrest could result in the suppression of any evidence collected pursuant to the warrant or arrest.
Consequences of a Child Pornography Conviction in Greenville
According to South Carolina Statute §16-15-395 through 495, all child sexual exploitation crimes are felonies, and anyone convicted of a child sex crime could potentially spend time in jail. Even after an offender has served their time, the social costs are enormous. Sex offender registration is mandatory, and personal information, including their address, is available to anyone with an internet connection.
Someone convicted of possessing pornographic images depicting a child could face up to ten years in prison. However, there is no mandatory minimum sentence for this crime. In some circumstances, a skilled local attorney could negotiate a resolution to the child pornography charges that does not include jail time.
Anyone convicted of distributing or reproducing child pornography is subject to a mandatory minimum prison sentence of two years. A conviction for producing child pornography or inducing sexual activity or a sexual performance from a child carries a mandatory minimum sentence of three years.
Get in Touch with a Greenville Child Pornography Attorney
Facing child pornography charges is difficult, but a charge is not a conviction. A capable defense attorney could find weaknesses in a prosecution’s case that could lead to a decision not to prosecute, reduced charges, or an acquittal at trial.
Defending these charges requires technical skill and fortitude. Christopher L. Jones, a Greensville child pornography lawyer with experience as a former prosecutor and municipal judge, could help you build a strong defense against your charges. Call today to schedule a free consultation.