Although your first instinct may be to cooperate with law enforcement and give them whatever they want, it is important you understand your legal rights and refrain from doing anything that could hurt you down the road. In this regard, a DC federal child pornography lawyer may be able to assist you in protecting yourself and mitigating the damage of a child pornography investigation. For more, read below to learn about what rights you possess before calling and scheduling a consultation today.
If law enforcement agents come to your door and have an arrest warrant, you should be cooperative with the law enforcement agents and not resist. However, you should under no circumstances speak to any law enforcement agent other than to give your name, date of birth, and social security number.
On the other hand, if the law enforcement agent comes to your door and asks to enter your place of residence to conduct a search, the immediate question you ask them should be, “Do you have a search warrant?” If the answer is no, then politely respond with, “I decline to allow you into my home.” Law enforcement agents will sometimes counter with, “If you do not let us into your home, we will just go get a search warrant.” Again, this should be politely answered with, “I think you should go get a search warrant.” This is due to the fact that law enforcement agents may be attempting to bluff their way into your home. If they had enough information to get a search warrant, they would have gotten one.
In instances like this, law enforcement agents are typically trying to persuade you to to give voluntary permission to search your computer. They might say, “If you have nothing to hide, then you should not have a problem giving us permission. If you will not give us permission, that means you have something to hide and you are not being cooperative.” They will imply that you will be arrested. Again, it is most likely a bluff. If the law enforcement agents had enough material to arrest you, they would have done so already.
Accordingly, the main thing is to not speak to anybody. Do not speak to law enforcement agents or anybody else about the investigation. Law enforcement agents will try a variety of ways to get you to speak. However, the answer should always be, “I do not want to speak, I want an attorney.” That is the standard answer and you will not be penalized for it. You will be penalized for giving any other answer and for providing information to law enforcement. It will almost always hurt the person to provide information to law enforcement. It cannot hurt you to not provide information.
If a police officer or law enforcement agent asks if you will come down to the police station to answer questions, the first question should be, “Do you have an arrest warrant?” If the answer is yes, then you should go and should not resist. However, you should not answer any questions. If the answer is no, then your response should be, “I do not want to speak to you. I do not want to go with you,” and there should be no further information provided by you.
Police officers will often say, “If you have nothing to hide, then there should not be a problem.” However, providing any information to a law enforcement officer can come back to hurt you, even if you are providing a totally innocent explanation. Agents do not care about what you are saying, but they want you to provide explanations for things. Then they take what that person said and try to verify it. For example, a law enforcement agent might ask you about something that happened a year ago and you provide an innocent explanation.
However the explanation later turns out to be incorrect. Law enforcement officers will find out that the information provided is incorrect and will try to use that to claim you are lying because you are actually guilty of something. In essence your words will be twisted. Often you will recorded, and your words will almost always be used to try to hurt you. Simply put, you should never, ever provide information, even if it is an innocent explanation, to a law enforcement agent.
The main thing to remember is that you cannot talk your way out of a child pornography charge. There is no way to talk your way out of it. You are either going to get charged or you are not, but nothing that you say can help you. It can only hurt you.