All defendants in criminal cases have the right to present defenses in order to establish reasonable doubt about their guilt. “The dog ate the money order I was about to send to the IRS” is not a very plausible defense to a charge of tax evasion, for example. Likewise, if you get accused of possession of images of sexual abuse of minors, the excuse about hackers planting the images on your hard drive probably will not work. While hackers can store illegal images on unsuspecting people’s computers, the story works better as a cautionary tale about cybersecurity than it does in a criminal defense case. Even if you did not intentionally download the images, the jury would probably still convict you if you opened the files multiple times or shared them with others. Prosecutors may exploit the social stigma in an effort to pressure people accused of possession of illegal sexual images into pleading guilty, but remember that all of the rights of defendants apply to you, and you are innocent until proven guilty.
A Texas sex crime attorney at the Law Office of Patrick J. McLain, PLLC, can help you present the most applicable defenses in an Internet sex crime case.
Delete the Illegal File as Soon as You Receive It, Not After the Police Get a Warrant to Search Your Computer
The most common way that people accidentally download illegal images is from peer-to-peer (P2P) networks. Someone might maliciously post an illegal image and label it as something perfectly legal. As soon as you find out that it is an illegal image, you should delete it. If you keep the image until you find out that there is a criminal investigation, this will make you look guilty, or at least, it will make investigators less sure of your innocence.
How to Prove That You Thought Were Downloading Something Legal
It is easy for investigators to see the history of a file, including where you downloaded it and if you renamed it. It strengthens your case if you went to a P2P network and searched for innocent files, found what you thought was an innocent file of the type you were looking for, and downloaded it. When an innocent person realizes that he has accidentally downloaded an illegal file, he downloads it immediately instead of opening it multiple times, renaming it, or sharing it. Likewise, one illegal file is likely to be an accident, but if you keep going back to the same site and “accidentally” downloading illegal files with innocent-sounding names, the defense that it was an accident becomes less plausible. As the saying goes, fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.
Contact the Law Office of Patrick J. McLain, PLLC, About Internet Sex Crimes Cases
You should hire a Dallas criminal defense lawyer if you are facing allegations of downloading illegal pornographic images onto your computer or phone. Contact the Law Office of Patrick J. McLain, PLLC, to discuss your case.