“Serious” doesn’t even begin to describe the severity of child pornography in the eyes of the law. A single first-time conviction at the federal level could receive anywhere from 15-30 years in prison.
Sentencing guidelines under Texas state law go even further. A tried-and-convicted defendant could receive anywhere from 5-99 years in prison. This sentence falls on first-degree felony cases.
The more charges — or the more egregious a single charge — the more serious the sentencing.
Have you or has someone you know been accused of child pornography? Your next moves will be extremely important. Here are some tips to keep in mind for developing a sound legal strategy.
Discuss the Case with No One
The stigma of child pornography can have severe repercussions regardless of conviction.
Because of this, defense strategies will need to develop close to the vest. Anything you say should be under the umbrella of attorney-client protection.
It’s likely you will not have access to your everyday hardware since investigators often seize that into evidence. Just in case, it’s a good idea to stay offline. Encourage family living in the residence to do the same.
Attacking ‘Intent’ and ‘Knowledge’ Arguments
Child pornography convictions occur when prosecutors succeed in showing the defendant had the intent to obtain the pornographic images and that he/she had knowledge of the materials they were possessing before they made the decision to access.
Hurdles for the prosecution’s case include the following:
- Multiple actors have access to your computer.
- A one-time user on the computer network accessed child pornography materials. Intent behind the user access is immaterial.
- Photos were accessed through a bulk download containing other non-pornographic images.
- Search warrants used to seize hardware and other evidence lacked a probable cause basis.
- Defendant viewed images on the computer, but did not possess (download).
Any viable legal strategy must focus on disproving the knowledge and intent burdens. With no proof, there’s no conviction.
What to Do If Accused of Breaking Child Pornography Laws
Child pornography brings with it severe consequences. But the prosecution must be able to prove their case beyond a shadow of a doubt before they can take away your freedom.
For over 30 years, John Teakell has provided aggressive defense for clients in sensitive cases like these. If you feel you or someone you know has been unfairly targeted or represented in a child pornography case, contact Teakell’s office today for the best possible legal strategy moving forward.