Defending child pornography charges in Virginia

Child pornography charges in Virginia are serious and come with strict penalties for those convicted.

State and federal prosecutors take crimes surrounding child pornography seriously. The consequences of a conviction can last a lifetime for someone in Virginia, which can even deem sexting as child pornography. Anyone facing such charges should know the importance of building a solid defense.

Virginia's laws

Both possessing and producing child pornography is considered a felony, though the law treats production more seriously. Someone could face child pornography possession charges if he or she does one of the following:

  • Either produces or attempts to produce material
  • Solicits a minor to be a subject in child pornography
  • Takes part knowingly in child pornography production

When it comes to possession, the law states that the person's intentions with the material are irrelevant. Someone could be charged with possession of child pornography if he or she simply has the ability to either retrieve or view the material.

In both cases, someone charged with the crime will face significant time in prison. Additionally, someone convicted or either the production or possession of child pornography will be required to enter the state's sex offender registry.

Common defenses

In most situations, law enforcement officers will obtain a search warrant in order to locate the material. It may be possible to question the legitimacy of the search warrant. However, many warrants stem from someone reporting that he or she found material on the accused's computer, which gives law enforcement enough probable cause to execute the search. When a warrant is obtained illegally, any evidence found may not be used at trial.

Anyone whose home or property has been the subject of a search should contact an attorney as soon as possible, even if charges have not yet been filed. Experts advise people not to make any statements to anyone regarding the matter, as it could unintentionally provide the prosecution with evidence.

There are some cases in which a person charged with possession of child pornography may not have known that the material was present. For examples, shared computers have many users, enabling someone to download material without anyone else knowing. The accused may have also clicked on a link without knowing what kind of material would have been downloaded.

Lastly, simply viewing pornographic material may not be grounds for a possession conviction when the material was never downloaded. Charges could stem from an image getting cached on a computer's web browser, despite someone never having downloaded and thus possessing it.

Attorneys who are well-versed in Virginia's sex crimes laws are essential for defending against child pornography charges. Anyone who has questions about this issue should immediately contact a lawyer.