A federal child pornography attorney in Maryland speaks about the arrest process that takes place when an individual has been federally charged with child pornography by law enforcement officers. If you have been charged with a federal child pornography offense, contacting an attorney is in your best interest.
Typically, what initiates a child pornography arrest is when someone is chatting online and it turns out they’re chatting with an undercover officer. Then, there is a search warrant that’s executed based on either the chat. Undercover officers will also send corrupted files that they represent are child pornography to their target. When they send that, there’s more chat interaction about it, or if there’s an alleged arrangement with a person being investigated to meet with a child, then a search warrant and sometimes an arrest warrant will be executed. At that point, normally, multiple law enforcement agents or police officers will show up at a person’s house or business and arrest them. They’ll normally show up with a search warrant. They will search the person’s computer or phone or both.
The person, once they’re arrested, will be taken down to a police station or to an FBI field office and usually a law enforcement officer will attempt to interview the person.
It is never a good idea to speak. It is an affirmatively bad idea to speak to law enforcement. People should invoke their constitutional right to remain silent and their constitutional right to counsel 100% of the time. Then after that, they will be taken to court and the court proceedings will begin.
I’ve seen a variety of different scenarios. Sometimes when law enforcement agents believe a chat between an undercover officer and a person being investigated involves violence or imminent contact with a minor, then law enforcement will often get an arrest warrant.
On the other hand, sometimes a law enforcement agent will try to convince someone to travel to meet a purported minor and the person says “no, I’m not interested.” I’ve seen times where a law enforcement agent, even after the person says “no, I’m not going to meet”, arrests that person anyway and charges them with enticement. There’s no set formula for it and often law enforcement agents are just seeking to make an arrest.
The process is pretty much the same at the federal and state level. The person will be arrested. A law enforcement agent will attempt to interview them. Again, it’s not a good idea to talk to either federal or state law enforcement authorities about anything.
Also, it’s a separate crime to make false statements to federal law enforcement agents and the truth or the falsity of a statement is open for interpretation by law enforcement. So it’s really best to be quiet and not say anything to a law enforcement agent because it can only get you in trouble.