Michigan

Child Pornography and Internet Crimes Defense Attorney

Being accused of an internet sex crime – particularly a child pornography charge – is extremely serious. This is true in both federal child pornography prosecutions brought by the United States and state child pornography prosecutions brough by the county prosecutor or Attorney General.

Even the association of your name with the phrase “child pornography” can cause you difficulties in personal and professional relationships.

Because society and the internet are so rapidly evolving, the laws regarding these types of crimes are evolving, too. That’s why it’s so important for you to hire a dedicated criminal defense attorney with experience successfully defending sex charges when you first hear of any accusations.

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Being accused of an internet sex crime – particularly a child pornography charge – is extremely serious. This is true in both federal child pornography prosecutions brought by the United States and state child pornography prosecutions brough by the county prosecutor or Attorney General.

Even the association of your name with the phrase “child pornography” can cause you difficulties in personal and professional relationships.

Because society and the internet are so rapidly evolving, the laws regarding these types of crimes are evolving, too. That’s why it’s so important for you to hire a dedicated criminal defense attorney with experience successfully defending sex charges when you first hear of any accusations.

What are internet crimes?

Internet crimes are any crimes or illegal activity committed using a computer or an Internet connection. As society spends more time online, these types of charges become more and more common.

In Michigan and in federal courts, using the Internet to commit a crime is considered a separate charge that can be added to the actual crime committed, and this charge alone carries hefty prison sanctions.

Many internet crime charges are sexual in nature, and our team at Smith Blythe is experienced in providing criminal defense to people suffering from these types of charges.

Some of the internet sex crime charges that we can defend you against include:

  • Internet solicitation and prostitution
  • Internet solicitation of a minor
  • Internet child pornography
  • Indecent exposure
  • Lewd behavior

Child pornography crimes

Child pornography is perhaps the most common internet sex crime we come across. It is defined as any visual depiction – images or videos – of sexually explicit conduct involving a minor (person under the age of 18).

In Michigan and in federal child pornography cases, there are different types of charges for child pornography that carry different penalties. Many times, a person is charged with more than one type of child pornography charge.

All child pornography convictions, however, lead to the sex offender registry, which can limit your ability to travel, where you can work, where you can live, and even where you exercise – let alone your relationships with family, friends, and society at large.

Possession

Anyone in possession of child pornography can be charged with a sex crime. Possessing these types of elicit images in anyway can be a crime, including in:

  • Books
  • Magazines
  • Periodicals
  • Films
  • Videotapes
  • Electronic storage
  • Or via online material, including:
    – Chat rooms
    – File sharing sites
    – Messages
  • Books
  • Magazines
  • Periodicals
  • Films
  • Videotapes
  • Electronic storage
  • Or via online material, including:
    – Chat rooms
    – File sharing sites
    – Messages

A state child pornography possession charge carries a maximum penalty of 4 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000, in addition to mandatory registration as a Tier 1 sex offender. The sentencing guidelines used in federal courts make the penalties even worse.

Distribution

Distributing or financing the production of child pornography with the intent to distribute it is a crime with consequences even more serious than possession in both state court and federal court.

A child pornography distribution charge carries a maximum penalty of 7 years in prison and a fine of up to $50,000 in the state of Michigan. Federal penalties, again, are more severe.

Creation/ Enticement

Arranging for, producing, or making child pornography OR persuading, coercing, or causing a child to take part in sexually explicit materials is also a crime.

A child pornography creation or enticement charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000. Manufacturing child pornography is also a federal crime that carries steep prison sentences with mandatory minimum prison terms.

All of these crimes can be charged even if the person committing the crime is a minor themselves or even is the person depicted in the images or videos. This issue has been seen increasingly with the introduction of “sexting” to society. Learn more about how Smith Blythe can help your son or daughter who has been accused of sexting on our Sexting Defense page.

Defense strategies for internet sex crimes

When law enforcement suspects someone of an internet sex crime, three things typically occur:

1

The investigation

Law enforcement somehow discovers child pornography and uses the IP address to trace it to a specific computer/account holder.
2

Search and seizure

Police will obtain a search warrant to look for evidence in a person’s property and belongings.
3

Formal charges

At this point, law enforcement has decided to make the internet sex crime charges.

By the time you have been formally charged, you have hopefully already retained a criminal defense attorney, or you are actively looking for one to help you with your defense.

While of course every case and every situation is different, here are some common defense strategies used against these types of charges:

  • Someone else – This defense suggests that, while elicit images or other evidence may have been found in your house or on your computer, someone else used your computer and/or wi-fi connection to obtain them.
  • Entrapment – Solicitation charges often come from undercover cops posing as minors online, seeking out someone to charge with an internet sex crime. If an officer encourages someone to commit a crime they would not have otherwise committed, this would be considered entrapment.
  • Accidental download – Sometimes when downloading other files (particularly large file downloads or other pornography), images or videos of minors may be included in the download without your knowledge.

Please note: Not knowing that the person depicted in the images/videos is a minor is not a defense to these types of crimes.

It’s important to discuss the specific facts of your case so that your attorney can help you prepare the best defense to help you achieve the best possible outcome for your case.

"
I would recommend Shannon and her services without reservation. She was well prepared, understood the nature of my case and had a game plan already in place the first time we spoke. What I truly admired about Shannon was her commitment to my case. She was responsive to every question and provided substantial detail. During my case, we had strategy sessions which she and I discussed how to respond to responses/requests from the opposing lawyer. Also, she provides solid advice and serves as a calming presence during a very challenging time. She fought for me every step of the way and I felt that it was very much a team effort. Shannon brought a high degree of professionalism to what can be a nasty process.”
~ Prior Client

"

I would recommend Shannon and her services without reservation. She was well prepared, understood the nature of my case and had a game plan already in place the first time we spoke. What I truly admired about Shannon was her commitment to my case. She was responsive to every question and provided substantial detail. During my case, we had strategy sessions which she and I discussed how to respond to responses/requests from the opposing lawyer. Also, she provides solid advice and serves as a calming presence during a very challenging time. She fought for me every step of the way and I felt that it was very much a team effort. Shannon brought a high degree of professionalism to what can be a nasty process.”

~ Prior Client

Contact Smith Blythe as soon as possible

At Smith Blythe, PC, we focus specifically on cases involving sex crimes, having over twenty five years of combined experience in the field. With this knowledge, we can put together a cohesive and effective plan of action together starting at our very first meeting. Get in touch with us as soon as possible if you or someone you know has been accused of an internet sex crime.

Fill out the form with the details of your situation to get started.

    Are you a new client? Yes, I am a potential new client.No, I am a current existing client.I'm neither

    Contact Smith Blythe as soon as possible

    At Smith Blythe, PC, we focus specifically on cases involving sex crimes, having over twenty five years of combined experience in the field. With this knowledge, we can put together a cohesive and effective plan of action together starting at our very first meeting. Get in touch with us as soon as possible if you or someone you know has been accused of an internet sex crime.

    Fill out the form with the details of your situation to get started.

      Are you a new client? Yes, I am a potential new client.No, I am a current existing client.I'm neither