DC Federal Child Pornography Offenses
DC federal child pornography offenses are heavily prosecuted and hold a lot of stigma in society. Individuals convicted of child pornography possession face incarceration and must also register for the sex offender registry in their respective state. This can have life altering consequences. A child pornography conviction can result in someone losing access to housing opportunities, and opportunities to find gainful employment. A conviction can also turn an individual into a pariah in their community. Therefore, if you face child pornography possession charges, get in touch with a skilled federal child pornography attorney who can work tirelessly to defend your case.
Digital Possession and Peer to Peer Sharing
Someone can be charged with possession without having a hard copy, or any sort of copy of the pornography. People who access images on a peer-to-peer sharing network can be deemed to have possessed the image. That is where it gets very technical. Viewing an image, if the person is not on peer-to-peer, does typically not constitute possession. Downloading it would. Sometimes, someone will download an image then there can be issues as to whether or not it was done intentionally.
There is also an issue of what actually constitutes an image. In other words, if someone downloads an image and then the image is deleted and what is recovered is what is called a thumbnail which is kind of a ghost image of the original. Then, there is the debate on whether or not that actually constitutes possession of child pornography.
What Are Common Situations in Which a Person Might Be Charged?
One relatively common situation is the peer-to-peer sharing scenario if someone is on one of the older peer-to-peer sharing scenarios like Limewire, but there are other peer-to-peer networks or in another scenario, an organization like the National Center for Missing or Excluded Children will red flag it. They monitor the internet and they will see that the images of child pornography have been downloaded or uploaded to a certain website, they will red flag that and alert authorities who then might do a trace and attempt to figure out where the images are coming from.
There are law enforcement monitoring tools that are used to monitor the internet that look for certain metadata which is embedded in images of child pornography and they look for those codes and, essentially, they are on the internet essentially fishing for those codes and when they find them, then they try and trace them back to their origin.
Distribution of child pornography and production of child pornography charges can be brought in federal court. Distribution is probably charged more often than production. Production in federal court is usually reserved for those instances where someone is actually creating child pornography using a camera or other recording device. It is usually more difficult for law enforcement to actually determine where child pornography is being produced. The distribution of child pornography is prosecuted more often than production but less often than possession or receipt. Distribution can be charged if someone is emailing images of child pornography. Now, those constitute distribution but it is prosecuted less often than possession or receipt.
Requirements For Charges to Be Brought to DC Federal Courts
Whether someone will be brought up on charges for committing DC federal child pornography offenses depends on where the person actually possessed it. The possession would have to occur in D.C. Typically, the person would have to either have a computer in D.C. or if it is a hard copy, the image would have to be found in their possession in the District of Columbia. If someone is emailed an image and they are not in D.C. when they received it but it is sent from D.C., then there might be an issue of jurisdiction but most likely, they would be charged outside of the District of Columbia; they would be charged where they received it rather than where they were sent from.
Involvement of D.C. Agencies
Typically, only federal agencies get involved in these cases but every once in a while, the Metropolitan Police Department gets involved. The Metropolitan Police Department might get involved if someone is working on an investigation and happens to include it, if they are part of a joint taskforce, they might be involved. There are some Metropolitan Police Department officers or detectives that are assigned on a permanent basis to the FBI, who do these types of investigations but that is the only way they would be involved.
Contacting a Lawyer
Being charged with a child pornography offense can have harmful consequences for an individual. The social stigma and the material/financial consequences of a charge can ruin someone’s life. With the stakes so high, it is vital that you get in touch with an attorney. They will be able to devote the time and resources necessary to build your case. An attorney can look at the existing evidence, conduct their own investigation, and do everything in their power, to make sure that you receive a fair trial. If you have been charged with a DC federal child pornography offenses, contact a lawyer today.