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DC Federal Child Pornography Charges: Detention Hearing

Following an arrest for child pornography, a person does not have the option of going through the arraignment and bond process immediately upon their arrest. For federal child pornography charges in DC, a person will have to go through the indictment process before they can even think about the arraignment and bond hearing. What a person will usually face is a brief hearing where a judge will decide on whether or not to hold a person for three business days before they face their detention hearing.

DC Detention Hearing Process

When a person is arrested on a federal arrest warrant, they are typically not going to be arraigned right away. An indictment is required in order to be arraigned. Instead what happens is there will be an initial hearing before a magistrate and a decision will be made by the magistrate as to whether a person should be held for three business days until a detention hearing can be conducted.

Probable Cause

All that needs to happen for a person to be held at that point is for the government or the prosecutor to request the person be held for three business days before a detention hearing, and produce an affidavit which shows on its face that there is probable cause that the target of the investigation has committed the offense of either possession or receipt of child pornography and has been identified as that person. This is why it is important to contact a DC federal child pornography attorney who can speak with the prosecutor before that hearing.

If the document presented shows probable cause on its face, then the person will be held for three business days. At the end of these three business days, a detention hearing will be conducted, where a person’s attorney can make arguments about why that person should not be held for the entirety of their case without bond. Arguments can also be made that the person does not pose a risk of flight because they have stable ties with the community and that they are not a danger to the community. This is where creative arguments can be made about where a person can be, such as on electronic monitoring, or in a halfway house. There are a variety of conditions which can satisfy the safety of the community and allow the person to not remain in detention without bail.

What Judges Consider During a Detention Hearing

Judges look for evidence that a person is one, not a danger to the community so they can leave them out of jail before trial, and two, not a risk of flight. What is important for a federal child pornography attorney dealing with these cases in DC is to work with or speak with the prosecutor before the initial hearing even occurs, to get them to not even request that the person be held without bail before the detention hearing.

A person is more likely to assure their success in a detention hearing when they get in contact with an attorney as soon as possible. The earlier a lawyer can start working on cases, the better a lawyer can prepare. As soon as someone knows they are being investigated for this type of charge, they should call an attorney. When an experienced lawyer gets a call from a client, they will know that they need to immediately contact the prosecutor and start negotiating to try to ensure that the prosecutor will not ask for detention pending that detention hearing.

Typically, a DC federal child pornography lawyer will try to establish conditions showing a person is not going to be a danger or at risk of flight. With respect to risk of flight, if a person has a passport, their lawyer will often take possession of their passport. At that point, the defense lawyer will let the prosecutor know that they have the passport, and that it was received voluntarily. This information will show prosecutors that the person facing charges is taking their case seriously and will not try to run away from the case.

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