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Potential Defenses to Child Pornography Charges

If you are facing a child pornography charge, it’s a serious matter, and having seasoned legal guidance on your side from the outset is vital. You have legal rights, and an experienced North Carolina criminal defense attorney will fiercely defend these rights – in focused pursuit of your case’s best possible resolution.

North Carolina Law

Child pornography is criminalized under North Carolina’s various sexual exploitation of a minor statute. Generally, the offenses relate to representations of minors who are engaged in sexual activity – which includes the sexualized exhibition of the genitals and most nudity suffices – to which any of the following apply:

  • Possession
  • Creation
  • Duplication
  • Distribution  

It’s important to note that mistake of age – or thinking the subject in the representations is older than they are – is not a defense. While everyone under the age of 18 is a minor, child pornography laws generally apply to children who are under the age of consent in North Carolina, which is 16.

Bringing Your Strongest Defense

Your defense will depend on your case’s unique circumstances, but several primary approaches must be considered.

Absence of Evidence

To convict you on a child pornography charge, the prosecution needs evidence to prove you possessed it. This defense strategy involves forensic specialists identifying how the material came to be present without your knowledge.

Possession by Accident

There can be a distinction between accidentally and knowingly possessing child pornography. The prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you knew you had the material or intended to include it. In the case of accidental downloading, however, self-reporting is required, which affords the prosecution the discretion not to pursue a child pornography case.

The Material Doesn’t Qualify as Child Porn

Just because the state believes the material in question is child porn doesn’t make it so. If the person or people depicted aren’t, in reality, minors, it isn’t child porn. Further, if the material lacks sexual overtones, it can lend itself to a defense. For example, if you took a picture of your child in the bathtub, it would likely not be considered child porn due to the intent behind the material.

The Evidence Was Obtained Illegally

The police have to follow strict protocols regarding evidence gathering, and failure to do so can make anything gathered inadmissible in court. The claim of Illegal search and seizure can be a strong defense.

We Work to Help Clients avoid Federal Charges

In many cases, a preliminary defense strategy is to take steps to keep child pornography cases out of federal court and with the state. In general, federal cases tend to be more serious, and people convicted under federal child pornography statutes often face more severe penalties. Additionally, federal judges must adhere to federal sentencing guidelines, including certain mandatory minimums.

It’s Time to Consult with an Experienced North Carolina Criminal Defense Attorney

A child pornography charge is a serious charge that should be taken extremely seriously. The formidable criminal defense attorneys at Greenwood Law have an impressive range of experience successfully guiding challenging child pornography cases toward advantageous resolutions that protect our client’s legal rights and best interests.

We serve clients throughout the Winston-Salem area, including the communities of Davie County and Davidson. The outcome of your case is critical to your future, and our imposing legal team is standing by to help. For more information about what we can do for you, we encourage you to reach out and contact us or call us at 336-661-8788 today. 

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