The possession of child pornography in California state courts (as opposed to Federal courts) can be either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances. You may face imprisonment for up to a year and/or fines of up to $10,000 if convicted. Penalties are more severe for felony charges and for repeat offenders. Possession of pornography involving a minor is a sex crime, so a person found guilty must register as a sex offender. If you are arrested (or believe arrest is imminent) for a child pornography charge, you need to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as quickly as possible. You must also exercise your constitutional right to not to speak to the police and do not give permission for law enforcement to search any of your property.
Below, are several examples of defenses that are sometimes used in cases of child pornography possession.
Accidentally possessing child pornography.
This can happen, for example, if you download files off the internet which you do not believe contain images or video of child pornography. You might also be sent illegal materials through postal mail or email that you did not request or that you did not know contained pornography involving minors.
Someone else possessed child pornography on shared computer or network.
Another defense of possession illegal images or video of children is when someone else is responsible for the materials being in your possession. This can happen if you share a computer with someone else or even a shared network. Your computer could possibly receive illegal files without your knowledge. Should you become aware of illicit materials, you should report them to authorities yourself. Be aware that deleting computer files do not typically make them disappear completely. The files can often be resurrected by forensic specialists.
Law enforcement obtained evidence without probable cause.
A third defense approach against a sex crime charge is to prove law officers obtained evidence without probable cause. This often means police searched and/or seized your property without a search warrant or without a reason to believe you committed a crime. Also, you can claim entrapment if you were coerced in committing the crime by law officials.
Not illegal to possess pornography involving adults.
Finally, you and your attorney can defend against a possession charge by proving the evidence obtained is NOT child pornography. If all the images and/or films only involve persons over age 18 then they are not illegal. Also, certain materials are not always considered illegal even if they contain nude images of children. It is possible for a judge or jury to determine certain materials are not illegal, for example footage of a nudist camp or artistic images might not be deemed sexually explicit.
Charges of child pornography possession are serious and can adversely affect your entire life. If you have been arrested in Temecula, Menifee, Murrieta, Wildomar, Lake Elsinore, Hemet, Perris, Corona, Winchester or any other surrounding Riverside County city, it's important that you obtain the best representation from an effective and experienced criminal defense attorney. Contact our law office immediately to schedule a free consultation.