You do NOT need to talk to the police
One of the costliest decisions made by people who are charged with child pornography crimes, is the decision to speak to the police. Before you make the decision to speak with the police or investigator you should speak to a lawyer. If you cannot reach an attorney you should not make any statement until you can discuss the situation with legal counsel.
Do not talk about your case to anyone outside of your legal counsel.
Cases like these are often very serious, the more people you talk to about your case, outside of legal counsel or potential legal counsel, the more potential witnesses there are against you.
Get and Keep a copy of any/all documentation from Law Enforcement
Due to the technological nature of these cases, Law Enforcement should get search warrants for any and all searches and seizures. Do NOT consent to the search of any of your property or technology and make sure that when you are given a copy of a search warrant or any other documentation, you keep it. These documents will be very helpful to your lawyer.
Do NOT delete communication you had with anyone on any platform
While this situation is very embarrassing and stressful and you may want to delete all the reminders of it, it is very important that you keep all communication you had with anyone about these kinds of matters, that way your legal team can use them either to bolster your defense or refute the Government’s side of the story.
Do NOT continue to access or attempt to access the profile/account/platform that is in question.
Once you are aware of allegations being made against you, or you are arrested for these kinds of charges, it is going to be very important that you do not create more problems for yourself or your case, while you should NOT delete any of the communication or records of your online presence, you should also NOT continue to use the platform or platforms in question.
Another thing that will absolutely happen is that Law Enforcement will most likely seize every tech device you have in your possession. If you are charged with these kinds of offenses you need to understand that the items in question are evidence and that you will not be getting them back for the duration of the case, so you will need to plan accordingly.
The state of North Carolina has three classifications for child pornography cases, or as the statutes call it sexual exploitation of a minor. It is important to know that all three are felonies and that all three require registration as a sexual offender on the sex offender registry. For more information about those charges, see our article on the matter.
Another avenue that you may be forced to defend yourself in is the Federal Criminal system. While in many instances, if the federal authorities pick up and begin to prosecute the case, the State will dismiss charges in lieu of that prosecution, they are NOT required to do so. Therefore, having a legal team that can do both State and Federal criminal defense can be very beneficial.
Turning Yourself In / The Arrest Process
If you have hired legal counsel soon enough in the process, you may have the ability to turn yourself in, or if not, you will most certainly be arrested for these kinds of charges. Once you are in the custody of law enforcement it is important to remember not to make any statements. Your lawyer will speak to the judicial official, either a judge or a magistrate, about your conditions of release.
It is important to know that you SHOULD NOT talk on the jail phones about your case, all jail calls are recorded and will be used against you.
One of the most frequently asked questions about these kinds of cases is what are the possible punishments if I am convicted. These charges are very serious and all of them either state or federal carry the possibility of multiple years in prison, along with the requirement that you register as a sexual offender on the sex offender registry.
If you or someone you know is charged with child pornography cases, you should contact the Criminal Defense team at Jetton and Meredith immediately for assistance. The earlier you hire a lawyer the better and can often make a big difference in your case.