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Defending Sex Crimes Charges Work with Our Firm to Fight Child Pornography Charges.

Child Pornography Offenses in Lexington, SC

Defending Sex Crimes Charges

Work with our firm to avoid serious, life-changing penalties

Child Pornography Defense in Lexington, SC
Over the last decade, there has been a significant increase in the number of investigations and arrests for child pornography. Child pornography used to be provided either in-person or by mail, now it is easily accessible 24/7 from any computer or smartphone. Studies of computer networks show that at any given time 50,000 people, or more, are involved in the exchange of child pornography.

With the increase in access has come an increased awareness and focus by law enforcement and prosecutors. There have additionally been changes to the law allowing for ever-great possible penalties.

We have experience in helping those investigated or who have been arrested for these offenses. Our clients come from a variety of backgrounds. For many, this is their first experience with the legal system. Many have no history of sexual contact with children but instead have developed an ever-increasing compulsion to pornography.

Over the years, we have learned that people caught up in these types of materials frequently can benefit from proper psychological assistance. We have relationships with experienced psychologists and counselors who can help our client’s case. There is a lot that can be done to help those involved in child pornography, both legally and personally.

We also know, from experience, that there are circumstances in which law enforcement gets in the wrong and people are falsely accused. We have seen situations in which child pornography is planted on devices in an attempt to frame someone, where a threat of child pornography prosecution was part of a blackmail scheme, where child pornography was downloaded automatically by a computer virus, and when wireless networks were hacked and used to acquire illegal content.

No matter whether your situation is someone falsely accused and needing to establish innocence, or guilty but needing leniency and a second chance, we can help.

Absolute Confidentiality

Many people are worried about reaching out for help, even to a lawyer, because they are concerned about privacy. We understand and respect those concerns and promise that all inquiries and communications with us are 100% private.

At the Law Office of James R. Snell, Jr., LLC, we hear from people every day who are involved in the most serious and compromising legal situations. Every communication with our staff and attorneys is completely confidential and protected by attorney-client privilege. Even the first call to our office to schedule an appointment is protected. You and your family’s privacy is a top concern for us.

You also don’t have to be embarrassed or assume that we are judgmental. We are here to help, no matter what your situation is. Your first step is to call us at (803) 359-3301.

What We Do

The first step is to call our office and set up a confidential initial consultation.

During that first meeting, we’ll review your legal rights. This includes how to respond if you are contacted by law enforcement or if they request to search your home, office, or phone.

You’ll have a chance to ask any questions that you might have, and we will work with you to try to develop a strategy to get a jump-start on your defense.

These investigations or criminal cases are urgent, and we believe that immediate steps should be taken to ensure that people’s rights are fully protected.

Once hired to represent you we can immediately put together a defense team of investigators, experts, and psychologists to assist you. If you have already been charged, we can file the necessary legal motions with the court and notify the prosecutor of your representation.

Clients come to us before being arrested to:

  • Avoid arrest if possible
  • Minimizing evidence that can be used against them
  • Get a jump start on their defense

Clients come to us after being arrested to:

  • Obtaining a complete dismissal if possible
  • Put together a team of investigators, psychologists, and other experts to help their case
  • Negotiate reduced charges and/or reduced sentencing
  • Challenge evidence against them and police tactics including improper searches, coerced statements, illegal police conduct, and overall deficiencies in evidence

The rule in our office is that if our client’s charges are not dismissed or favorably reduced (as determined by our client), then we recommend fully contesting the charges in court.

Child pornography cases are very serious. Most individuals charged have hundreds, or thousands of images. Each one can constitute a separate offense. The use of peer-to-peer file-sharing networks can also open the door to prosecution for distribution. First-time offenders can easily face decades of prison time. However, it can also be possible to have cases resolved through dismissals, favorable reductions, or sentencing agreements.

Federal Investigations

Our attorneys are licensed in both state and federal court. We are able to represent you in investigations and arrests from all agencies, including local police and sheriff’s departments, FBI, Homeland Security, SLED, or any other agency. We offer full representation in District Court proceedings.

Computer Evidence

Many child pornography investigations begin from police sting operations on file-sharing networks. These usually use the BitTorrent protocol but can be distributed in other ways as well. Police may set up fake websites to advertise child pornography (called honeypots).

Attorney James R. Snell, Jr., has a computer network and Internet background. He has a computer science degree and is a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE). Some technical background is important in fully evaluating and challenging cases based on evidence of transmitting child pornography over the Internet or other computer networks.

Many times child pornography cases are made as a result of IP addresses tied to the peer-to-peer file exchanges. IP stands for “Internet Protocol”. There are actually two parts to an IP address, the portion identifying the specific network a computer is on (which for individual users is the Internet Service Provider, usually a cable or phone company). The other portion identifies the specific user on the network. Law enforcement can take the IP address obtained from a file-sharing network and quickly determine the ISP. They then use search warrants to request the account associated with that IP address at the time of the file sharing.

IP address can fluctuate (called being dynamically assigned). Law enforcement must make certain that the information that they receive identifies the account at the time of the file transaction, not simply the current information from the date and time of the inquiry.

Absent from what the IP information can provide is confirmation of the actual individual who was responsible for the downloading or uploading of the material. In fact, the IP information can never confirm whether or not it was a person at all. Many people have concerns that a computer virus or other malware could hijack a computer, causing it to exchange pornography without the owner’s knowledge. Additionally, even if there is no evidence of this type of infection, the IP information won’t establish who actually did what. If there are multiple individuals with access to a computer, then it may not be possible to exclude alternative suspects.

In addition to defenses based on counseling, mitigation, and getting people the help that they may need to continue to be productive citizens, defenses can also be based on challenging the police search procedures and assumptions that the correct person has been correctly identified in the first place. Investigations and arrests can be made on false allegations, and it is important to ensure that the government doesn’t end up convicting an innocent person.

Laws on Possession, Distribution, and Production of Child Pornography

Under federal laws, it is a crime to produce, distribute or possess child pornography in the United States. 18 U.S.C. § 2256 defines child pornography as any "visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct involving a minor"—meaning anyone under the age of 18. This area of the law is not exactly black and white, however, as the First Amendment of the United States Constitution has placed certain protections over materials that have been deemed valuable for scientific, artistic, literary or political purposes. For this reason, it has been hard for lawmakers to develop a concrete, and all-encompassing, definition of what actually constitutes child pornography. Instead, the courts have been left with the responsibility of making this distinction, as it has been decided that "you'll know it when you see it."

18 U.S.C. § 2251 – Production of Child Pornography / Sexual Exploitation of Children

  • Under federal law, it is illegal to coerce, persuade or entice a minor to participate in the production of child pornography. The subsequent materials do not necessarily have to show a minor engaging in sexual acts in order for it to be considered "legally obscene," however, as simply depicting a naked child in a suggestive manner would be enough. Additionally, conspiring or attempting to produce child pornography is also a crime.

18 U.S.C. § 2252 – Possession, Distribution, and Receipt of Child Pornography

  • Under federal law, it is illegal to possess any materials that depict a minor under sexual suggestive circumstances—including, but not limited to, photographs, videos, computer-generated images, and electronically stored data that can be converted into illicit images of child pornography. This means that it is also a federal crime to knowingly distribute, receive or attempt to receive any such materials in the United States.

Examining the Penalties for Crimes Related to Child Pornography

If you were to be convicted of possessing, distributing, transporting and/or producing child pornography in the United States, you could face serious legal consequences. For a first-time offense of producing child pornography, the offender could be sentenced to prison for 15-30 years. For a first-time offense of transporting child pornography, the offender could be sentenced to 5-20 years in prison. For a first-time offense of possessing child pornography, the offender could be sentenced to 10 years in prison.

If the individual has prior convictions and/or the offense was committed under aggravated circumstances—which could mean that the material was violent or sadistic in nature—they could be facing life in prison. For this reason, it is recommended that you call a Lexington criminal lawyer if you have been charged with a crime related to child pornography in South Carolina. You could be prosecuted under both state and federal law, so you will need the help of an attorney who can successfully defend a complex sex crime case.

Take Action Now!

These situations are urgent. We recommend that anyone investigated or arrested for child pornography take immediate steps to ensure that their rights are protected. No matter whether you are guilty, or falsely accused, there are steps that can be taken to help you. No case is hopeless. Our sex crime lawyers in Lexington want to help you.

Your initial consultation is free when you call our office at (803)359-3301, so you should not hesitate to get started today.

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