Being arrested can be a frightening and overwhelming experience, especially when facing a serious criminal charge. If you were charged with possessing or viewing explicit sexual material involving children, you may wish to speak with an attorney about DC federal child pornography arrests.
After you are obtained, you may be confused and unsure of how to proceed. By working with a dedicated federal defense attorney, you could better understand the charges you face and how you might be able to protect your rights.
Two scenarios may result in an arrest for child pornography and usually arise out of the execution of a search warrant by a law enforcement agency. These warrants are usually obtained when a law enforcement agent discovers metadata, subsequently securing a warrant or a subpoena for a person’s IP address.
If law enforcement agents execute a warrant and find someone in their home or place of employment in the process of downloading or viewing child pornography, they might make an arrest on the spot. This also holds true when a search warrant is carried out and a person is found to be talking online with someone who is underage or is engaging in some other dangerous activity.
The more typical situation occurs, however, when law enforcement agents carry out a search warrant and do not find someone engaging in these activities. At this stage, officers might seize electronic devices such as laptops, iPads, and cell phones for further investigation. While no arrest may be made at that time, after the electronic devices are searched and any evidence of illicit sexual material involving children is found, an arrest could be subsequently carried out.
When a person is arrested on the grounds of child pornography, it is important to remember that they cannot talk their way out of the arrest or the charge. Therefore, it could prove essential that an arrested individual does not make any statements or talk about the case with anyone before seeking the aid of a federal defense attorney.
If an FBI or Department of Homeland Security agents arrests an individual, they will usually be taken to an FBI field office to be photographed and fingerprinted. Here, an attempt may be made to interview a defendant—as mentioned above, it could be vital for an arrested person to exercise caution and remain silent before speaking with legal counsel.
Subsequently, a person could be taken directly to a federal court, or to the local police department in DC to be booked again, and then taken to court. When a defendant is brought to court, an initial hearing is held, at which time they are either released or held pending additional formal detention.
Detention is usually requested in child pornography cases. Sometimes, a search warrant is executed where a person was not engaged in illegal activity when the search was conducted. The person is not arrested at that time. If the person retains an attorney, they may arrange for that person to have a confidential psychological evaluation. If indicted, the person can go into a more formal treatment program with a psychologist that is trained in dealing with these types of issues.
Sometimes, it takes several months for an arrest warrant to be issued. If an arrest warrant is issued or a person is indicted, the attorney and the individual have a much better argument to keep them out of jail when they are in treatment. There is no requirement for any information related to the treatment to ever be disclosed unless the person and their attorney agree that it makes sense to do so.
It is beneficial for the person to get into treatment. If a request for detention comes months after the search and the person was involved in beneficial activities in the meantime, it is difficult for the government to get a judge to detain a person without bail.
During an arrest, law enforcement agents may try and elicit an incriminating statement from you. Despite possible pressure to speak, you are legally allowed to refrain from making any statements throughout this process.
If you are being investigated on a charge of child pornography, the most important thing is to not wait until you are arrested. Instead—if a search warrant is executed at your home or place of business—you might benefit from immediately contacting a federal defense lawyer. By seeking legal counsel early, you could assess your circumstances and determine how to proceed.
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