The internet is a relatively recent technological advancement that seems to become more advanced every day. It can be hard for the law to keep up with changing technology, but certain areas of the internet are highly regulated. The primary way that child pornography is obtained and spread is online, and law enforcement is on the lookout for anyone downloading illegal content.
Considering how unpredictable the internet can be, it is not unheard of for people to click a bad link and end up viewing content they wished they had not. Accidentally coming across child pornography is not outside the realm of possibilities. You probably will not face criminal charges if your download was truly accidental. However, you should report your incident to the police so they know your “crime” was really a mistake.
If you accidentally downloaded child pornography or other explicit, unlawful content, our Philadelphia criminal defense attorneys can help you. Call The Law Offices of Lloyd Long at (215) 302-0171 now for a free case evaluation.
What Happens if I Accidently Download Child Pornography in Pennsylvania?
Child pornography is defined under 18 Pa.C.S. § 6312 and includes any depiction of a sex act or simulated sex act involving any person under the age of 18. The depiction can take many different forms, including but not limited to photos, videos, and other forms of recordings. There are various criminal penalties making it, disseminating it, and possessing it. Possession charges commonly stem from digitally downloaded child pornography.
Downloading child pornography is usually considered possession. However, simply having child pornography on your computer does not necessarily mean you are guilty of the crime of possession of child pornography. The intent behind your actions matters just as much as the actions themselves. For the crime, the defendant must possess the illicit content intentionally. If the download was truly an accident, criminal charges are unlikely.
However, the sooner you contact local law enforcement and report the incident, the better. Once you are aware that you have downloaded child pornography, your next steps may be crucial in determining whether charges are assessed. To do nothing could be construed as accepting the possession or trying to hide it. Now, you know you have child porn on your computer and have chosen to take no further steps. In such a case, possession charges might be filed against you. Always approach the police with the help of an experienced Delaware County criminal defense lawyer.
Can I Be Charged with a Crime in Pennsylvania for Accidentally Downloading Child Pornography?
You can absolutely be charged with a crime in Pennsylvania for downloading child pornography. You can be charged with possession of child pornography simply for knowingly having it on your computer. The pornography need not be a physical copy, like a photograph, videotape, or disc. Purely digital content that only exists online and on your computer may suffice for criminal prosecution.
Under the statute mentioned above, there are a few critical elements to charges for possession of child pornography. First and foremost, the possession must be knowing and intentional. Essentially, you must know you are downloading child porn when you download it. Accidently clicking a bad link or otherwise stumbling into it might not constitute possession.
However, after loading is complete and you become aware you have child porn, your possession has become known. You could be charged with possession if you do nothing because now you know about pornography. Instead, you should contact the local authorities, report the incident, and provide them with any details about where and how you found the child pornography. You should also contact our Montgomery County criminal defense attorneys for advice.
Is It Possible to Download Child Pornography by Mistake in Pennsylvania?
You might be wondering how in the world a person could do something like download child pornography on accident. It might seem silly to think something so serious could happen by mistake, but it is possible. Child pornography is not exactly openly advertised. Websites that link to child porn tend to be discrete. A person could accidentally end up on such a website without realizing where they are until it is too late. In such cases, our Pennsylvania child pornography defense attorneys can help.
In fact, many people have a bad habit of clicking links without considering what they might be doing. After all, the quickest way to figure out what’s behind a digital link is to click it. Accidental possession of child pornography could happen in other ways, too. For example, someone could email pornographic photos or videos to you. This is obviously something outside your control, so you would not be charged. However, any accidental viewing or downloading of child pornography should be reported to the authorities.
What Should I Do After I Accidently Download Child Pornography in Pennsylvania?
After accidentally downloading child pornography, your first instinct might be to immediately delete it and scrub your computer clean of any record you ever downloaded. However, this might not be the smartest choice. While you certainly do not want to keep the pornography, the police might be interested in tracking where it came from.
When you report child pornography to the police, they might ask what website it came from or information about what is depicted. You should gather details and information like this before deleting anything. These details can help law enforcement track where child pornography came from and also help prove your actions were truly accidental.
You should also immediately call an attorney. If the police are interested in your incident, your computer could be considered evidence. Our Pennsylvania child pornography defense lawyers can help you cooperate with police, even it means turning over your computer while helping to shield you from any unnecessary incrimination.
You might think it unnecessary to hire an attorney if you truly did nothing wrong. While your downloading child porn was indeed an accident, the police will examine the case from all angles. This could involve interrogation or a thorough digital search of your computer.
Call Our Pennsylvania Child Pornography Defense Attorneys for Help
If you accidentally downloaded child pornography, you will probably not face criminal charges. However, child pornography should be reported and may be investigated by local authorities. Talk to our Pennsylvania child pornography defense lawyers about your case immediately. Call The Law Offices of Lloyd Long at (215) 302-0171 for a free case review.