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Possession Of Child Pornography Charges: Possible Defenses

Published on April 5, 2016

Orlando criminal defense attorney David Hill talks about possession of child pornography, a sex crime under Florida law, and answers questions such as: what is child pornography? I accidentally downloaded child pornography, can I get convicted? What defense options do I have for possession of child pornography under Florida law?

I Have Been Accused of Possessing Child Porn. What Defenses Do I Have?

Sometimes the question comes up when somebody is accused of possessing child pornography as to what sort of defenses they can bring to that accusation because a lot of times people think, “Well, it was on my computer – I must be guilty,” or, “It’s going to be a slam dunk.” There are defenses to possession of child pornography charges that you can mount because the police have to – or the state has to – establish that you’re the person that was in exclusive control of the computer. So if it’s a computer at a workplace or if it’s a computer at a residence but other people have access to the computer, they have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you’re the only person that could’ve accessed the computer and therefore you’re the only person that could have intentionally possessed the child pornography that’s found on your computer.

A lot of times when somebody is charged with possession of child pornography, at least in every case that I’ve ever dealt with, the police will make a copy of the entire hard-drive of your computer and then they will run a scan on it to see if there are any questionable images or videos on the computer. Just because it’s on your computer doesn’t mean you put it there. It has to be in knowing possession, and that’s important because sometimes you may click on a spam-type of thing and something gets downloaded onto your computer you’re not aware of. So that’s not knowing or intentional on your part. There are programs – bit-torrent programs – that you can use to download things remotely when you’re not sitting at your computer, and you may not know what you’ve downloaded in your request and it may include something that you didn’t intend to have on your computer. There are malware, adware, all kinds of malicious programs out there that you can click on unknowingly and it ends up some kind of an image or video is put on your computer and you didn’t intend for it to be there and you didn’t know that it was there. So those are important elements – knowledge and intent – when we’re talking about possession of child pornography cases.

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