Ask a Lawyer: Possible Defenses For Child Pornography Crimes in Ohio
The possible consequences of sex offenses can be carried out by both the justice system and the general public. Those who are charged with sex crimes are often vilified by their communities, regardless of whether they are actually guilty of these offenses. While there are many types of sex offenses that exist, today's post will center around child pornography crimes and the defense against sex crime charges your lawyer might use.
Explaining Child Pornography Crimes
Child pornography is defined as any visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct involving a minor under the age of 18. Both federal and state law prohibits the production, receipt, promotion, possession, or distribution of child pornography. Child pornography images do not fall under the category of protected speech outlined by the Constitution of the United States in the way that adult pornography is. Instead, they are considered to be sexual exploitation of a child (who cannot legally give consent).
These criminal acts are taken very seriously by state and federal agencies alike; in fact, you can be prosecuted on both a state and a federal level for the same crime. Due in part to public outrage surrounding these crimes, those who are accused can face massive consequences. It's therefore essential to contact a criminal defense law firm if you find yourself facing these kinds of charges.
Possible Defenses Against Sex Crime Charges Related to Child Pornography
While these sex offenses are taken very seriously by both the court and by the public, that doesn't mean everyone who is accused of such a crime will be convicted. Your attorney will make every effort to mount a proactive and effective defense and ensure your rights are protected throughout this process. Such defenses may include:
- Unintended Possession: In the digital age, much of child pornography possession occurs through technology. While this is often how those who are guilty of these sex offenses purposely come into contact with these images, it's also possible for an individual to accidentally or unknowingly receive child pornography by the same means. For example, if these images are sent in an email or via text message, it's possible that the individual who receives them may do so without intent. The same can be said for an accidental click on a website that results in an immediate download to that person's computer. Your lawyer could argue this defense by presenting evidence to support such claims.
- No Possession At All: If you share a device with someone else, it's possible that your lawyer could argue the images found do not even belong to you. They could belong to a colleague or a friend who uses the same computer, for example. Your attorney could also argue that an angry ex-employee or spouse could have downloaded the content to the shared device in an attempt to frame you. In order to argue this defense, your attorney will have to provide evidence supported by a computer forensics expert.
- Illegal Search or Entrapment: In this defense, your attorney may not argue your innocence in the matter. Instead, they will present an argument pertaining to the methods used by law enforcement to gather evidence. If the evidence against you was obtained in such a way that violates your constitutional rights (e.g., through a police search with no warrant approval), your lawyer can argue that this evidence be thrown out. Without that evidence, there may be no case against you. If you were arrested as the result of an online sting, your attorney could argue entrapment if police did not do their due diligence in running their operation. Your charges may not hold up in court if the pornography files purchased were ambiguously named; your lawyer could argue that you had no idea what you were agreeing to purchase.
There are other possible defenses for child pornography sex offenses as well. If an image cannot be legally designated as child pornography or if your lawyer can argue a psychological addiction, the charges against you may be lessened or potentially dropped. But no matter what, you'll need help in fighting these charges. For more information on our firm and how we can assist you, please contact us today.