Being arrested for child pornography is a terrifying moment. In addition to facing serious criminal penalties, your reputation will be completely tarnished. Many people automatically assume that those accused of sex crimes are guilty. If convicted, you will also need to register as a sex offender—all for downloading some images on your computer with one click of the mouse.
The internet has made sharing child pornography much easier. But technology has also increased the odds of an unfair arrest. At Bruno Lilly Legal, we defend those accused of sex crimes, and we can review your case in a consultation if you reach out today.
Who Downloaded the Images?
The fact that offensive images are found on your computer or phone does not mean you were the one who downloaded them. In fact, any number of people might have had access to your computer.
For example, your child or even spouse could have used the computer. If your work computer is implicated, then almost anyone at work could have used the computer without your knowledge. We would need to know the date and time that someone downloaded the images.
Remember, the prosecutor needs to show you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of downloading the images. That might be hard for them to prove.
Are the Pornographic Images Illegal?
It’s not illegal to have pornographic images of adults. So everything turns on whether the people depicted are minors, i.e., under the age of 18. This might require some analysis of the evidence.
Furthermore, images of children are not illegal, even if the child is nude. According to CRS 18-6-403, it is illegal to possess “sexually exploitative material.” The law further defines this term to mean imagery that depicts children being used for explicit sexual conduct, which can include intercourse but also erotic fondling.
Some images of nude children are either for artistic purposes or medical/educational purposes. We will need to carefully review the images to determine whether they are “sexually exploitative” under the law.
Did the Police Have Probable Cause to Search Your Phone or Computer?
All people have a Fourth Amendment right to be free of unreasonable searches and seizures. Generally, this means the police need probable cause to search your effects, including your home, computer, and phone (unless you give consent). If they don’t have probable cause that you’ve committed a crime, they can’t search and use the evidence against you in court.
We can ask a judge to suppress evidence that is obtained without a warrant backed up by probable cause. This is a special type of pre-trial motion our sex crime lawyer has argued before.
If the state can’t introduce the images, it is much harder for them to get a conviction. In fact, many cases fall apart if the judge agrees to suppress the evidence.
Help is Available
Aggressive prosecutors regularly bring sex crime charges when evidence is weak or shaky. Let our Greeley sex crimes attorney review the circumstances of your arrest. We can defend you against charges and hold the prosecutor to their burden of proof.