Virginia Child Porn Defense Attorney | State and Federal Charges
Technology has changed the way we communicate and changed the way we share information. Unfortunately, it has also made it difficult to know exactly what you are looking at, exactly who is using your network to access the internet, and hard to know when a virus has hijacked your machine. These are generally innocuous incidents until they lead to serious charges such as being charged with possession of child pornography. Suddenly you may find that you are right in the middle of something very serious when you had no clue anything was wrong.
This serious charge carries penalties that will last a lifetime. Not only will it result in a significant loss of liberty, it will completely ruin your good name and could force you to register as a sex offender. This will mean being ostracized from friends and family and severely impact your ability to get a job. Society does not treat people convicted of child pornography kindly whether they are actually guilty or not. A conviction will mean the end of life as you know it. Therefore it is vital to contact a criminal defense attorney with specific knowledge and experience, such as Attorney Patrick Anderson.
Definition of “Child Pornography”
“Child pornography” means sexually explicit visual material which utilizes or has as a subject an identifiable minor [less than 18 years old]. An identifiable minor is a person who was a minor at the time the visual depiction was created, adapted, or modified; or whose image as a minor was used in creating, adapting or modifying the visual depiction; and who is recognizable as an actual person by the person’s face, likeness, or other distinguishing characteristic, such as a unique birthmark or other recognizable feature; and shall not be construed to require proof of the actual identity of the identifiable minor.” (Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-374.1)
Definition of “Sexually Explicit Visual Material”
“Sexually explicit visual material” means a picture, photograph, drawing, sculpture, motion picture film, digital image, including such material stored in a computer’s temporary Internet cache when three or more images or streaming videos are present, or similar visual representation which depicts sexual bestiality, a lewd exhibition of nudity, as nudity is defined in § 18.2-390, or sexual excitement, sexual conduct or sadomasochistic abuse, as also defined in § 18.2-390, or a book, magazine or pamphlet which contains such a visual representation. An undeveloped photograph or similar visual material may be sexually explicit material notwithstanding that processing or other acts may be required to make its sexually explicit content apparent. (Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-374.1)
Many people use file sharing software like Limewire or Kazaa to share music and movies. An unsuspecting user may be searching for something completely unrelated and wind up accidentally downloading child pornography. If this is the case, they can suddenly find themselves on the wrong end of the law without even realizing they had broken it.
In a similar way, if a person has an unsecured wireless network or if their network password is compromised it can lead to unauthorized access of your wireless network. If that person uses your network to access illegal files, you may find authorities at your home even though you yourself have downloaded nothing whatsoever. These people can also load malicious software onto your hard drive that causes it to download these files without your knowledge. These complicated cases require a high degree of technical knowledge as well as knowledge of the law. At The Law Offices of Patrick N. Anderson and Associates, we work with investigators and experts in computer forensics to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you have not accessed the files that you are accused of.
Possession of Child Pornography
In Virginia, if you produce, possess, distribute or sell sexually explicit materials involving or exploiting a minor, including receiving or distributing materials via the mail or Internet, you may be charged with child pornography charges. These charges can occur even if you are unaware of this content in your home.
Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-374.1:1 prohibits the possession of child pornography. In order to convict a person for possession of child pornography, the Commonwealth of Virginia must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that an individual knowingly possessed sexually explicit visual material utilizing or having as a subject a person less than 18 years of age. The key terms here are 1) “knowingly,” 2) “possessed,” 3) “sexually explicit,” and 4) “a person less than 18 years of age.” If you are being charged with this crime, our experienced lawyers will mount an aggressive and meticulous defense where we challenge each of these required elements under the letter of the law.
Due to the steep penalties that follow a conviction for child pornography, it is imperative to hire an attorney that routinely handles these specific cases. For a first offense, it will likely be charged as a Class 6 felony. If convicted you may face up to five years in either jail or prison and a possible fine of up to $2,500. For a second and any subsequent offenses, you may face a class 5 felony which carries with it up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $2,500. Please be aware that the penalties are even greater for crimes that involve production, reproduction, distribution, selling, and sharing.
If convicted of running a website that profits off the exploitation of children, you may face a class 4 felony with a punishment of at least two and up to 10 years in jail as well as a possible fine up to $100,000.
Free, Private Legal Consultation
If you are facing child pornography charges, you need the best team on your side. Overcoming such charges requires a legal team with a thorough understanding of both the technical and holistic defenses. You can reach us 24/7 at (703) 930-5117, or email us for a free consultation. Rest assured that any information provided to us is completely confidential. We look forward to helping you.