Experienced Rhode Island Possession of Child Pornography Defense Attorney Ready to Defend Your Criminal Charges
Possession of child pornography is a 5-year felony under Rhode Island state law. In the last few years, this offense has been vigorously pursued by the Rhode Island State Police computer crime unit and the Department of Homeland Security.
A typical case starts as an investigation into one of the file sharing sites where child pornography can be found and/or traded. Once an IP address is identified as involved in the possession, request or trading of child pornography, police will ascertain the IP user’s information and obtain a search warrant for the user’s computer and electronic data.
Rhode Island State Police typically execute the search warrant during the early morning hours when the target of the search warrant is at their most vulnerable.
Police want to not only seize the materials containing child pornography, they also want to secure a confession from the target as to their knowing and exclusive possession of child pornography. It is rare to find a target of a search warrant who does not immediately admit to knowing possession of child pornography.
Under both state and federal law, possession of child pornography triggers the requirement to register as a sex offender.
Real Child Pornography Case Results
Indecent Dissemination of images and Possession of Child Pornography – Charges Dismissed . Client was charged with disseminating indecent materials and possessing nude photographs of a former girlfriend. An investigation of the case revealed that both parties had willingly shared and transferred images back and forth and the case was not worthy of a sex offense. Attorney MacDonald worked with members from the Attorney General’s office to drop all sex offender charges so that the client is not required to register as a sex offender.
Transfer and Possession of child pornography charges dismissed. Client was charged with possession of child pornography based upon an image that went to the cloud and was traceable to client’s IP address. A search of client’s computer did not reveal the presence of any child pornography. Multiple pre-trial hearings were conducted which ultimately led to the dismissal of the transfer and possession charges.
If you are questioned or charged concerning possession of child pornography, it is imperative that you meet with an attorney with the knowledge and experience in child pornography cases. Call the the Law Office Of John E. MacDonald, Inc. to schedule a free legal consultation today: 401.421.1440.
Defenses For Child Pornography Charges in Rhode Island
There are multiple defenses to possession of child pornography. First and foremost, the search itself, whether based on consent or a search warrant, may be subject to a motion to suppress pursuant to a Fourth Amendment violation. Second, any admissions to knowing possession may be subject to a motion to suppress pursuant to Fifth or Sixth Amendment violations. Third, the materials seized may not constitute child pornography under state or federal law.
Fourth, was the target of the search warrant in knowing possession of the materials – ie, are there multiple users of the hardware, was the hardware purchased used, did the file sharing system put child pornography on the computer’s hard drive without the user’s knowledge. Finally, the affirmative defense of destroying the materials upon unknowingly receiving less than three images of child pornography.
If you are questioned or charged concerning possession of child pornography, it is imperative that you meet with an attorney with the knowledge and experience in this type of case. Call our law office to schedule a free consultation today: 401.421.1440.
Rhode Island Child Pornography Penalties
Any person who knowingly produces, reproduces, distributes or possess an image of child pornography is subject to the penalties assigned by the state for this crime. These penalties can include fines, terms of imprisonment or both. At the state level, possession of child pornography is punishable up to 5 years in prison and transfer of child pornography is punishable up to 15 years in prison.
Federal Penalties for Possession of Child Pornography
There are severe penalties for possession
of child pornography convictions. While possession of child
pornography does not carry with a mandatory minimum prison sentence, receipt of
child pornography is a mandatory five year imprisonment sentence. Prosecutors will often use this leverage to
extract agreed upon prison sentences.
Under federal law first-time offenders guilty of
producing child pornography receive fines and 15-30 years in prison. There are
also circumstances when convicted offenders carry much harsher penalties due to
a prior conviction or intensified circumstances where violence or abuse has
(e) Any individual who violates, or attempts or
conspires to violate, this section shall be fined under this title and
imprisoned not less than 15 years nor more than 30 years, but if such person
has one prior conviction under this chapter… or under the laws of any State
relating to aggravated sexual abuse, sexual abuse, abusive sexual contact involving
a minor or ward, or sex trafficking of children, or the production, possession,
receipt, mailing, sale, distribution, shipment, or transportation of child
pornography, such person shall be fined and imprisoned for not less than 25
years nor more than 50 years, but if such person has 2 or more prior
convictions under this chapter… or under the laws of any State relating to the
sexual exploitation of children, such person shall be fined under this title
and imprisoned not less than 35 years nor more than life.
If you are being investigated, charged or arrested for child pornography in Rhode Island, Massachusetts or Connecticut, please contact Criminal Defense Attorney John E. MacDonald at 401.421.1440 for a free legal consultation.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is child pornography in Rhode Island?
In Rhode Island, child pornography means any visual representation of a minor performing sexually explicit content. This definition spans all forms of media: videos, AI-generated images, pictures, and film/negatives are all included. A minor is anyone under the age of 18.
You also need to know that “sexually explicit conduct” doesn’t just mean sex. Intercourse, BDSM abuse, and even demonstration of the genital/pubic area fall under this umbrella term.
What is child pornography under federal law?
Under federal law, any visual depiction of a minor involved in sexually explicit conduct is considered child pornography. You are specifically not protected by First Amendment rights for this crime.
And like the laws here in RI, the definitions have a broad span. Even if the image has been edited, altered, or staged—and the minor was never actually involved in the depicted conduct—you’re still breaking the law.
Finally, the age of consent doesn’t factor in at all. Anyone under 18 is considered a minor, even if they’re of consenting age under state law.
What is the sentence for downloading indecent images?
In Rhode Island, the sentence for downloading indecent images with children is up to 5 years in prison. The real penalties, however, include sex offender registration and community notification. You’ll be required to register as a sex offender for the period of probation plus an additional ten years. During this time, the community may be notified of your status as a sex offender depending upon what level, ie risk of re-offense, you’ve been given.
You’re also at risk of federal prosecution, too—not just the State of Rhode Island. At the federal level, there is a mandatory five-year jail sentence for receipt of child pornography. In federal court, this type of charge always carries a jail sentence in addition to the sex offender enhancements.
What types of federal charges could I be facing for child pornography?
The types of federal charges you could be facing for child pornography are:
Willful creation, transportation, possession, and/or distribution of child pornography
Knowingly receiving or distributing child pornography via interstate commerce, such as by computer or mail
Possession with intent to sell or sale of child pornography images
Aggravated sexual abuse
Sexual exploitation of children
And that list is just the tip of the iceberg. The US government has made protecting children its business. They go to great lengths in the name of convicting and sentencing people who might endanger children.
Depending on the details of your case, you could be facing between 15 and 30 years in a federal prison—on top of whatever sentence you get from the state of Rhode Island.
What’s the difference between state charges and federal charges for child pornography?
The biggest difference between state and federal charges for child pornography is statutes of each charge.
The federal statute on child pornography involves many laws against interstate commerce. This term refers to any method of distributing these illegal images across state lines. Via computer and mail are the most common, but hand delivery is illegal too.
Most states, however, don’t have these interstate commerce laws because they don’t have jurisdiction. When interstate commerce is part of a case, Rhode Island prosecutors will often get the feds involved.
What happens when you are suspected of committing a child pornography crime?
When you’re suspected of committing a child pornography crime, you can expect:
Coworkers, friends, and family to look at you differently or avoid you
Contending with court deadlines and fees
Symptoms of stress like insomnia, a short temper, and general difficulty navigating daily life
Potentially losing some of your relationships or even your job
The possibility of having to change careers, depending on your current field
Here’s the thing. Unlike other criminal charges, being suspected of committing a child pornography crime will immediately impact your life. It’s true that your social circle may say “Innocent until proven guilty!” when you get charged with something like a traffic crime.
But when it comes to sexually exploiting a minor, people aren’t so willing to give you the benefit of the doubt.
It’s imperative to hire a successful and knowledgeable RI child pornography defense lawyer ASAP to minimize the collateral damage.
Do you need a lawyer even if you are innocent?
Yes, you definitely need a lawyer even if you’re innocent. Although America’s legal system includes due process and the idea of “innocent until proven guilty,” law enforcement officials and prosecutors are still human.
Basically, it’s not just their job to put dangerous people behind bars. It’s their personal code of ethics, too. And it’s no secret that accused individuals often make erroneous or coerced statements.
All of these factors create the perfect storm. It’s just too easy for an individual like yourself to say something that triggers alarm bells in the interrogator’s head, even when you’re innocent.
So, if you’ve been accused of any kind of child pornography crime, hire legal representation immediately.
Should I hire a Rhode Island child pornography attorney for my case?
Yes, you should hire a Rhode Island child pornography attorney if you’ve been hit with these charges. I think after reading this article, you know exactly why you need one.
It’s not that law enforcement or the prosecution is “out to get you.” These charges are almost certainly nothing personal. To them, your supposed actions make you a potential threat. It’s their job to prove you’re a threat and get a judge to sentence you.
The problem arises when they charge an innocent person. You just can’t fight this alone.
If you’re facing child pornography charges in Rhode Island, call me right now at 401.421.1440 for your free consultation. Don’t leave your freedom and your future up to chance.
Rhode Island Child Pornography Defense Attorney John E. MacDonald
Rhode Island Criminal Lawyers at the Law Office of John E. MacDonald, Inc. are available 24 Hours to take care of your child pornography case. Don’t leave your future to chance, contact Rhode Island Child Pornography Lawyer John E. MacDonald.
Rhode Island Child Pornography Defense Attorney Office
DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein are intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter. Also, the Rhode Island Supreme Court licenses all lawyers in the general practice of law, but does not license or certify any lawyer as an expert or specialist in any field of practice.