Getting Help With Megan's Law Allegations
Of all the crimes one may be charged with, sex crimes are especially scary, and perhaps none more so than child pornography. Even if eventually found not guilty in a court of law, the damage to your reputation can be life-altering. If found guilty, there may be serious jail time involved and decades on Megan's List.
Getting help is difficult. What kind of lawyer can you speak to? Will what you say to that lawyer be kept confidential given reporting laws? Will searching for a lawyer on the internet trigger suspicion from Google or the Government?
So first, some ground rules: yes, anything that you say to your lawyer, is confidential. There was a time when the legislature in Pennsylvania contemplated making lawyers mandatory reporters. Luckily, someone came to their senses and realized it would be impossible to represent those accused of such crimes from mounting a defense if they could not safely and confidentially tell their lawyer their side of the story.
Pennsylvania And Federal Child Pornography Laws
Second, child porn laws are far-reaching. When I was a kid (many, many years ago), a girl might show a boy she liked him by kissing him, holding hands, dating. Today, some kids do something a little dumber and far more permanent: they take pictures and send them to their new found loves on their smart phones (sexting). The law often treats these children as criminals; and more importantly, this "criminal activity" can have lifelong consequences requiring registration as a sex offender if the one who sends the material is over the age of 18. What was just a little fun has now become a serious, possibly federal case.
Worse, many people using the internet are not particularly tech-savvy. There was a time when to use the internet conferred a certain guarantee of technical know-how. Today, if you have a laptop, you're free to surf the information superhighway; with no safeguards in place, you can quickly become the victim of ransomware hackers.
Often parents allow their children free access to the internet and the home computer without thinking what kind of material their children may have access to. I've seen cases where a son downloads terabytes of movies off Russian servers only to infect the computer with computer viruses and child pornography. Or, teens, not thinking about long-term consequences go on to websites like Reddit or 4chan and access material they should not have touched.
In general, the law does not care how you came to be in possession of the material, the law only cares that you possessed it. Why, might be something that is sorted out later - but not before your reputation is destroyed and your name has been plastered all over the news.
What To Do If The Police Are Asking Questions
If you think you need legal assistance because of material you've encountered on the internet, you should contact a lawyer as soon as possible. If you receive any correspondence from a law enforcement agency, it is in your best interest to seek out a lawyer to ensure your rights will be safeguarded and you will be treated as fairly as possible.
Beyond a Reasonable Doubt
Remember: whenever the Government brings a criminal prosecution, the Government has to prove the defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Even when prohibited images or videos are found on a computer, the Government may not be able to prove who downloaded them. Therefore, it is absolutely imperative that you do not speak with investigators without first consulting with an attorney.
A Philadelphia Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help With Child Pornography Charges
Child pornography cases can be incredibly complex and come with such serious consequences this is not the time to delay and see what happens. You must act quickly and aggressively to protect yourself and your family. Call 267-225-2545 for a free, confidential consultation.