Federal child pornography charges are among the most serious offenses in the federal criminal justice system. They carry severe penalties, including mandatory minimum sentences, lifetime supervised release and registration as a sex offender. Federal prosecutors have vast resources and discretion to pursue these cases aggressively and seek harsh punishments.
If you are facing federal child pornography charges, you need a skilled and experienced defense attorney who can protect your rights and challenge the government’s evidence. An aggressive federal criminal defense attorney will fight to get the case thrown out, negotiate a favorable plea deal or fight for your acquittal at trial. If you’re facing federal child pornography charges in Florida, contact the Orlando federal criminal defense attorneys at the Rivas Law Firm. Call 407-644-2466 for a free consultation.
Federal Possession of Child Pornography Charges
The typical defendant in these cases is a middle-aged white male with little or no criminal history. Most people get arrested after downloading images from an internet file-sharing program, chat room, or messaging app.
State and federal law enforcement agencies have well-funded special units that monitor internet traffic for child pornography. Using special software, police track offending images to specific computers. In other cases, tipsters inform police that they suspect someone of possessing child porn. With this kind of crime, law enforcement has little trouble obtaining search warrants.
Several powerful federal agencies are actively pursuing child pornography crimes in Florida. Federal law can punish passive possession of child pornography more harshly than sexual battery on a child. Also, critics say the sentencing provisions of the possession statute are outdated. Based on the idea that taking the time to build up a large collection of images demonstrates serious criminality, each picture or video counts as a separate count in the charge. However, with current technology, hundreds or thousands of images can be downloaded with a single click. So a simple mistake or a few seconds of indiscretion or curiosity can lead to decades in prison.
Defending Against Federal Child Pornography Charges
Some of the common defenses and strategies that a defense attorney may use in federal child pornography cases include:
- Challenging the legality of the search and seizure that led to the discovery of the evidence. If the police or federal agents violated your constitutional rights or failed to follow proper procedures, your attorney can file a motion to suppress the evidence and seek its exclusion from the case.
- Challenging the reliability and accuracy of the forensic analysis of the digital devices that allegedly contained child pornography. Your attorney can question the methods, qualifications, and credibility of the government’s experts and present alternative explanations or interpretations of the data.
- Challenging the sufficiency and relevance of the evidence to prove the elements of the offense. Your attorney can argue that the government has not met its burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt that you knowingly possessed, distributed, received, or produced child pornography involving minors.
- Challenging the applicability and constitutionality of the federal statutes and sentencing guidelines that apply to your case. Your attorney can argue that the laws or guidelines are vague, overly broad, or violate your due process or equal protection rights.
- Presenting mitigating evidence and arguments to reduce your sentence or obtain a downward departure or variance from the sentencing guidelines. Your attorney can highlight your personal circumstances, background, character, mental health, cooperation, acceptance of responsibility, or other factors that may warrant leniency or mercy from the court.
Federal child pornography charges are not hopeless. Call 407-644-2466 for a free consultation with an Orlando federal crimes defense attorney at the Rivas Law Firm. We’ll fight for the best possible outcome.