Federal Distribution of Child Pornography Defense Lawyer
Serving Baltimore, Annapolis, Belair & Throughout Maryland
If you have any reason to believe that you are under investigation regarding child pornography distribution, manufacturing including possession, or if you have been charged, don’t hesitate to contact my office as quickly as possible. Call (443) 709-9999 today. Often hours or days count!
Distribution or Possession with Intent to Distribute or Sell Child Pornography
- Distribution carries with it MANDATORY federal jail sentences from 5 years to 15 years for a FIRST OFFENSE. The federal sentencing guidelines for Possession are strict but do not carry with it mandatory jail time.
18 U.S.C. section 225 A defines distribution as the defendant knowingly mailing, transporting or shipping child pornography using any means of interstate commerce. Over the last 20 years, the use of computers and electronic devices is by far the most common methodology of distributing child pornography. Email, chat rooms, downloading, peer to peer networks, the dark web, or just some of the methodologies used. One of the most common methodologies is peer to peer networks. In the situation, individuals download a program which allows them to obtain video and other information from other computers that have downloaded the same program. In turn, individuals can download video, images, and information from your hard drive. If a federal law enforcement officer or state detective is able to download child pornography from your computer using a peer to peer then that act may, in fact, constitute distribution under federal law. The penalty for distributing child pornography on the federal level is a mandatory 5 years in federal prison.
The point is that many times a defendant is not actively engaged in sending these images intentionally. Many times I see a situation where individuals truly don’t care or never really understood that they are in fact allowing others to obtain information and child pornography from their hard drive in a passive manner. Nonetheless, courts have upheld convictions of individuals who probably should have known that these images were being distributed from the computer. Almost every peer to peer network program is different. It is very important that your lawyer understand how this works and whether or not which you allegedly did constitutes a crime. My office often will obtain the use and testimony of experts to make a determination as to whether or not the material was actually distributed from the peer to peer program.
What is extremely troubling is the ease that the federal government takes in prosecuting peer to peer cases. The real issue is can the Federal Government prove that you intended to distribute the material. As stated above many times the question is not whether you actually intended put should have known. The issue of mens rea is with the courts have struggled with over the last 2 decades regarding these cases. Ultimately, your knowledge of computers, the number of images distributed and found on the electronic device will play a major part as to whether or not the Department of Justice prosecutes you with a distribution or simple possession charge.
Call Jim Crawford at (443) 709-9999
to set up a consultation ASAP!