If you have been searched or questioned about internet child pornography, your life is about to change. A good lawyer can make all the difference.
The FBI, Homeland Security Investigations, and state and local police all investigate child pornography on the internet. If any of these agencies has contacted you, it is essential to consult with a lawyer before interacting with them in any way—even a simple call back can lead to an "admission" that can affect your case down the road. Child pornography functions like an illegal drug, but one that is created for free, smuggled internationally without any interference, and has long-lasting, devastating effects on both users and suppliers. Illegal images are everywhere on the internet. Some small portion of the population uses child porn obsessively, and a much larger group is curious about it, trying it once or twice since it is free and easy to get. People frequently stumble across illegal images of child pornography by accident. Nonetheless, possession of child pornography is quickly becoming the most commonly prosecuted sex crime in America.
Child pornography charges are frequently brought against doctors, lawyers, public officials, military officers, teachers and other professionals. Most cases are easy for the government to prove: illegal images are traced to a user via his or her IP address, then police conduct a search, child pornography is found on the person's computer and, all too often, they confess, sometimes trying to talk their way out of trouble by saying they did not intend to download the material or are not really interested in it. Evidence of possession and distribution of illegal child pornography is typically left behind on a user's computer or phone. A forensic computer examiner can usually uncover even deleted images, or at least traces of them sufficient to bring to court.
Prosecutors in child pornography cases seek high sentences—years in prison—even for simple possession. While many state cases end in probation or shorter jail terms, most federal child porn offenses carry mandatory minimum sentences. Investigators and prosecutors tend to focus on people with access to children: parents, teachers, and doctors who even accidentally view child pornography can expect little sympathy from the authorities.
In order to avoid terrible results, it is essential to do two things at the very beginning of a case. First, do not speak to the police, federal agents, or prosecutors. Second, seek out a lawyer with experience handling child pornography cases, and follow the lawyer's advice. All is not lost when a person is investigated for child pornography, but the matter must be handled carefully to avoid a long prison term, soul-crushing probation restrictions, and a lifetime of sex offender registration.
While past results are no guarantee of future outcomes, our office has had success in helping people accused of possession of child pornography avoid being charged or avoid prison time. We are familiar with how child pornography cases are investigated in New York by the FBI, Homeland Security. and the NYPD. We understand how prosecutors and judges view the cases and the defendants. We have experience with the many technical issues that arise from internet cases, including forensic examinations, government "Network Investigative Techniques," and cell phone searches. We maintain relationships with leading forensic psychiatrists who can assist in obtaining appropriate treatment and evaluation services. In federal cases, we have frequently argued for and received the minimum sentences available by presenting judges with the facts about chid pornography and about our clients.
If you think you might be under investigation for child pornography, please contact us right away.