Although all sex-related criminal charges have a certain degree of emotional energy attached to them, the possession, production or distribution of child pornography is particularly upsetting to many because of the implications that children are being exploited.
All child pornography laws in Texas are governed by federal statutes. As a result, a conviction of child pornography charges can result in lengthy prison sentences as well as having to register as a sex offender for the rest of your life.
Retaining a highly skilled attorney to mount an effective possession of child pornography defense is critical to giving yourself the best chance at having charges dismissed and retaining your freedom. From the moment you become aware that you are under investigation, assume that authorities will mount a vigorous attempt to prove your guilt.
The most common defense strategy used in this type of case involves the concept of intent. A prosecutor must be able to show that a defendant had clear intent to possess child pornography and that they knew it was illegal to do so. For this reason, a defense attorney may claim ignorance about the nature of the image(s).
Another possible defense is to claim that the images in question were not child pornography, but actually served an educational or scientific purpose. The goal is to raise reasonable doubt in the jury’s mind. This argument has been debated widely in many child pornography court cases.
Two other defenses that are related include illegal seizure and entrapment. If a warrant was served under false pretenses, then materials that were seized cannot be used as evidence; or if law enforcement officials go beyond the scope of a warrant they obtained, then that evidence could be inadmissible as well. Entrapment is far less common, but also involves law enforcement going beyond the scope of what may be legally permissible.
Sometimes the defense of non-ownership is also used. A defendant may try to claim that illegal images did not belong to them because they were downloaded by someone else onto their computer, perhaps in a work environment. Angry spouses have also been known to plant these kinds of images on their mate’s computers to cause trouble for them as well.
Maverick Ray & Associates serves clients in Houston, Pasadena and other nearby Texas communities.