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Legal Defenses Against Child Pornography Charges

Posted by Ronald D. Hedding | Aug 30, 2017 | 0 Comments


There are a number of different defenses that can be utilized when it comes to a Possession of Child Pornography case that is being prosecuted at the state or federal level.  As you might guess, these defenses depend on the facts of a particular case and what evidence the authorities can bring to bear on a particular defendant.

In other words, there are no “cookie cutter” defenses that can be used in every sex crime or Possession of Child Pornography case.  The facts of the case and the evidence law enforcement has been able to gather will dictate how a particular case will be defended by the best sex crime defense attorneys.

Once your attorney has reviewed all of the relevant evidence, spoke to the other side and spoke to you, they are then in a position to make the moves that are necessary to best defend you.

Giving statements to the authorities who are investigating these type of cases is never a good idea and will usually just serve to help them prove their case against you.  It is always advisable to hire a seasoned sex crime defense attorney as soon as possible and make sure you are honest with them about your involvement and then let them use their experience to guide you through the dangerous waters of a criminal sex crime case.

There is a lot one the line in these type of cases and it is imperative that you attorney all of the relevant information and know how to handle a case of this magnitude.


The first thing that must be established by law enforcement related to these type of cases is that what ever device they found the illegal pornography on belongs to the person they want to charge and they are the ones who downloaded it onto the device they have seized.

In other words, even though a computer might be yours, if you are not the one who downloaded the child pornography on there and you did not know it was on your computer, then you are not guilty of the crime of Possession of Child Pornography.

Of course since the police know that is one of the primary defenses for this type of crime, when they come into serve a warrant and do their investigation, they are going to ask everyone in the household whose computer that is and who uses it.

They will come right to you and ask you if that is your computer and if anyone else uses it.  Further, they will also ask you if you are the one who downloaded the Child Pornography.  If you admit to being the only one to use the computer and or or tell them that you are the one who downloaded the illegal content, then you have basically given them the evidence they need to convict you.

It is not easy when the authorities surprise you and come into to your home.  They will also use this element of shock and surprise against you in order to get you to admit what they need to convict you.  Another issue has to do with you not wanting anyone in your home to get blamed for what they are eventually going to find and this will lead to an admission that can not be taken back later.


Another typical defense that I see in these cases is that the person involved says that they downloaded the illegal content by mistake.  The argument that I see a lot is that the person was looking at legal pornography and somehow stumbled into a site that has Child Pornography.

This is certainly a defense, but the prosecutors, judge and even a jury will look at all of the circumstances that surround the possession and then see if there is evidence that you knew the site contained illegal images and that you intentionally viewed and downloaded them.

Obviously if you have thousands of illegal images and videos stored on your computer's hard-drive, you are going to have a problem arguing that it was an accident.  Most of these cases and criminal defense in general is all based in logical common sense arguments.

If, on the other hand, it is a one time download of Child Pornography, the authorities are not likely to waste their time prosecuting this type of case.  It is my experience that they will give you the benefit of the doubt in this limited circumstance.


The first thing that the authorities have to do when it comes to an investigation of this nature is to be able to trace whom ever they want to target for a Child Pornography case.  The way they do this is to utilize their computer expertise to be able to trace the IP address of whom ever they suspect of downloading and viewing the illegal content.

Once they trace the IP address then they typically will obtain a search warrant for the physical address of that IP address and then go and knock the door down, seize all of the devices in that location and take statements from everyone inside the location.

It takes them quite a long time to review the devices they seize because there is such a huge back log of work for the FBI computer experts.  In the meantime, it is important that your attorney is working with the other side to minimize the damage to you or your loved one.  If your attorney can get ahead of this issue and speak to the prosecutor before anything is filed, things tend to go much smoother in the resolution of the case.

About the Author

Ronald D. Hedding

What Makes Ronald Hedding Uniquely Qualified To Represent You? I've been practicing criminal defense for almost 30 years and have handled thousands of cases, including all types of state and federal sex crime cases. All consultations are discreet and confidential.


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