Sexual crimes are some of the most serious crimes carrying some of the most serious penalties short of murder. Aside from the serious formal penalties attached to charges of a sexual nature which includes jail time and registration as a sex offender, the informal consequences due to the stigma of a sex crime conviction is particularly harsh. For alleged sex crimes involving a child, the stigma involved is only enhanced. Sexual crimes where the child is the alleged victim are quite simply fraught with emotional baggage.
For emotionally charged cases, it is always important to remember that te charges faced by a criminal defendant are mere allegations until the prosecution’s burden of proof is satisfied. While newspapers and reports on television may make cases of this type seem open and shut, the reality is that these are complex matters. The experienced criminal defense attorneys of the Law Firm of John J. Zarych can stand-up and force the prosecutor to prove each element of the case beyond a reasonable shadow of a doubt while invoking any applicable defenses. To schedule a free and confidential criminal defense consultation call our dedicated legal team at (609) 625-3006 or contact us online today.
CHARGES FOR POSSESSION OF CHILD PORNOGRAPHY MAY ARISE THROUGH QUESTIONABLE CIRCUMSTANCES
As we previously discussed, it is no secret that crimes involving child pornography are emotionally charged allegations that can cause otherwise rational, intelligent people to suspend disbelief and accept the allegations at face value. While it is certainly outside behavioral norms, desperate individuals involved in a child custody dispute or other difficult ordeal may attempt to or actually fabricate child pornography possession charges to gain a tactical and emotional advantage.
For individuals who believe that the ends justify the means, it is shockingly easy to fabricate charges of this type. For individuals with less technical know-how, all it takes is physical access to the computer. Those motivated to frame an individual for this crime can often fabricate a pretext to gain access to the computer. They are likely to drop the file when the owner of the machine would usually have access to it. After dropping the file depicting a sex act by a child, the individual then contacts the police or creates a plausible reason for the file’s discovery. The computer owner is then broadsided by child pornography charges and is likely to require a computer forensics expert who works in tandem with an experienced criminal defense attorney to clear his or her name.
The more common scenario for child pornography charges stems from the ease at which information can be transferred over networks and file sharing programs. The fact of the matter is that a computer user, often, cannot tell the exact contents of a file until the file has already been downloaded and opened by the machine. In fact, when you click on any website each and every image on the page is downloaded to your machine prior to its display. If a legitimate pornography site accidentally posts photos or videos featuring underage individuals, the user has likely already downloaded and possibly viewed the file before he or she has even an inkling that something might not be what it purports to be. As a greater and greater number of internet sites of all types move away from strict editorial control to “crowd sourced” content, the risk of a misidentified or misnamed file. The same risk is present with every download whether the file is acquired through the web, a file sharing network, or through some other source. The short of it is, one click of the mouse can forever change an individual’s life even if that person never intended to access illegal images or videos.
NEW JERSEY CHARGES FOR POSSESSION OF CHILD PORNOGRAPHY
New Jersey law considers any image, video, or depiction of a child engaged in a sexual act to be illegal to possess. Even if no sex act is occurring but the child is posing suggestively or in a way intended to inflame sexual urges, such a photograph or video is also illegal to possess under NJSA 2C:24-4b. The mere possession of an image of this type is a fourth-degree crime. The conduct associated with producing or distributing such images is typically considered a second-degree crime. If the child’s parents, guardians, or caregivers are accused of engaging or facilitating the sexual contact, a first-degree crime is typically charged.
FEDERAL CRIMINAL CHARGES DUE TO POSSESSION OF KIDDIE PORN
The federal statute criminalizing the possession of child pornography, 18 USC §2256 is extremely broad. The statute criminalizes “any visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct involving a minor.” Under federal law, a minor is any individual who has not yet reached age 18. It is important to note that possession of child pornography can be charged under federal law even when no actual, living child iss depicted in the image. Even a drawing of a child in a sexually suggestive pose or engaging in a sex act can be enough to result in federal criminal charges.
CHARGED WITH STATE OR FEDERAL POSSESSION OF CHILD PORN?
Whether they are state of federal in nature, possession of child pornography charges carry extremely serious penalties including prison time and mandatory registration as a sex offender. Work with a criminal defense attorney who will stand up and fight for you. Call the Law Offices of John J. Zarych for a free and confidential criminal defense consultation by calling (609) 625-3006 or contact us online.