Below, a federal child pornography lawyer in Maryland discusses how child pornography charges are investigated. To learn more or discuss your case, call and schedule a free consultation with an attorney today.
Typically, after you are arrested law enforcement agents will try to determine if any child that the client has allegedly been in contact with has been sexually assaulted. They are going to do an extensive background investigation. They most likely are going to talk to family, friends, coworkers, employers of the client to see if they can obtain any of that kind of evidence. That will be the primary focus of their investigation.
They’re also going to continue to look at the electronic evidence that they have obtained through a search warrant. Meaning, if they have obtained a phone, they are going try and search the phone. If they have a computer, they’re going to look through that to look for any evidence of child pornography. They’re going to look at chat, email, other electronic communication to try and find evidence that supports their case.
They’ll have a search warrant that authorizes them to seize a client’s computer and client’s phone.
Most likely, they are going to talk to friends, family, coworkers, employers, and teachers. Again, they are going to try and determine if there are any children that have actually been sexually assaulted.
If a police officer does not have a search warrant, then the answer should be to politely decline. If the police officer does have a search warrant then you don’t have a choice. You need to allow the officer to enter wherever they have authorization to enter. But officers will often try to interview you and that you should politely decline.
The most common mistake that people make is thinking they have nothing to hide and they should talk to law enforcement. Invariably, that gets people into more trouble than they would otherwise be. The best course of action is if an officer says, “I’d like you to come down to the station to speak with me,” if you are not under arrest, then the answer should be, “thank you but I’m not coming down to the police station. I need to speak with my attorney.”
Law enforcement officers will often act in an undercover capacity in various chat rooms, and websites. It is legal for law enforcement agent to act in an undercover capacity. Before they start searching email, chat, and other communications, they need a warrant. An undercover officer being online is legal and if they attempt to chat with you or engage in communication, that is legal.
How hard it is for them to get this information depends on the situation. If someone is online and they’re chatting with different people, one of those people could be an undercover officer. As far as obtaining other information like email, chat, and electronic communications, that requires a subpoena or a search warrant.