Interviewer: What are scenarios under which people are charged with child pornography offenses?
Attorney Churak: It’s going to depend on where the investigation is going. If the FBI shows up and takes your computer, you are going to be prosecuted. The bottom line is if you’re in the federal system, you’re looking minimum 6 years on up for possession of child pornography.
The number of years depends on how many pictures you have and how much content you have in your computer system. Federal agents are monitoring sites known for child pornography trafficking. They’re monitoring credit card transactions and they put two and two together. It may take 2 years of investigation before they have a case but then they show up at your door with a search warrant and they confiscate your computer.
The state level investigations are little different. State-level offenses do not carry mandatory jail time on these things and the attorney has more leeway in negotiating with the DA.
With these cases, the prosecution has to prove that you actually the one who accessed this particular site. Just because it’s on your computer doesn’t mean you accessed this site. There are experts out there that can do a complete history of your computer system and thumbnails to determine whether or not you actually accessed the site or if it was just something on your hard drive.