Importing Child Pornography Arrests
We often see the charge of Importing Child Pornography piggyback 53a-196 Possession of Child Pornography arrests in Stamford, Darien, Danbury, Greenwich, Westport and other Connecticut cities and towns. The reason is that most Connecticut arrests for Possession of Child Pornography involve the downloading of illegal images over the internet and onto a computer, laptop iPhone, or cell phone. “Importing” is the actual downloading of the images and is a separate and distinct Connecticut crime in contrast to the actual possession and retention of the illegal images. And as the top Stamford Connecticut Child Pornography criminal lawyers have observed, the penalties for 53a-196c Importing Child Pornography are just as serious as possession charges, giving police and prosecutors additional leverage to try and force a guilty plea out of you that will detrimentally impact the course of your life, both personally and professionally. Therefore if you have been arrested for CGS 53a-196c Importing Child Pornography in Greenwich, Danbury, Ridgefield, Weston, Westport, Stamford, New Canaan, or Darien, be sure to contact a top Connecticut Child Pornography criminal lawyer attorney right away to discuss how to fight these charges and avoid a life-changing jail or sexual offender probation sentence.What Is Importing Child Pornography per CGS 53a-196c?
Importing Child Pornography is a Class B felony and is codified in C.G.S. § 53a-196c ( click here to read the full statute). You are guilty of Importing Child Pornography if—with the intent to “promote” child pornography—you knowingly import into Connecticut three or more images of child pornography. Under C.G.S. 53-196, “child pornography” is any visual image, photograph, or computer file which depicts a child under 16 years old engaging in sexually explicit conduct. “Sexually explicit conduct” is defined as actual or depicted sexual intercourse (vaginal, oral or anal), masturbation, or a gratuitous and lewd exhibition of the genitals or pubic area of the person. Top Connecticut child porn lawyers warn their clients carefully of the last category which can be broadly defined and enforced by law enforcement: that is, any photography of a child’s genitals can technically fall within this category of sexually explicit conduct, so it’s important that parents are even careful photographing their own children.
The element requiring an “intent to promote child pornography” is unique to this CGS 53a-196c charge. To be guilty of this crime, the prosecution needs to prove you possessed the deliberate and knowing intent to “promote” child porn. Under Connecticut law, any of the following conduct can be considered promoting: mailing, emailing, texting, selling, manufacturing, giving, exhibiting, electronically disseminating, transmitting, delivering, transferring, advertising or publishing. Therefore, the method by which you received the illegal images in your possession becomes very important to your defense against Connecticut importing child pornography charges.How Is Importing Child Porn Different from Possession of Child Pornography?
This is a critical question that top Stamford, Westport, Darien, and Greenwich criminal lawyers address when analyzing a child pornography case. Most child porn arrests begin with a search warrant being served on you at your home or business and your computers being seized by Connecticut computer crime detectives. And if there are illegal child porn images on these computers, then you will be charged with Possession of Child Pornography under 53a-196—the degree and severity of such charge to be determined by the number of images alleged to have been found in your possession. But possession does not always lead to a Connecticut Importing Child Pornography charge. The police must also have digital or forensic proof of how you came into possession of the child pornography. Make no mistake—there are plenty of digital footprints inside your computer which allow forensic examiners in Connecticut law to figure out how you came into possession of alleged child pornography. For example, Connecticut police are constantly monitoring popular P2P (peer-to-peer) file sharing networks such as Shareaza, Limewire, Kazaa, and Bearshare for child pornography downloaders. Connecticut computer crime officers can identify which IP addresses are importing child pornography into Connecticut homes and offices, and they can then execute search warrants for local internet service providers (ISPs), compelling them to identify the internet account holder. Bottom line: if you are downloading child pornography into a Connecticut home or office, then there is a good chance the police can easily find out who you.
Even more concerning to top Stamford and Connecticut child pornography criminal lawyers is that to be found guilty of importing child pornography, police and prosecutors need only prove you downloaded or imported 3 images of child pornography. As you can read about in greater detail on the Mark Sherman Law website, the varying degrees of Child Pornography Possession laws depend solely on the number of images found in your possession. However, with this Importing statute, all the prosecution needs to prove is that you downloaded 3 images onto your computer. And as any of the very best Stamford and Greenwich criminal lawyers will tell you, even a short video file containing child pornography can legally be considered to contain hundreds if not thousands of single images. Thus, if the Connecticut police have accused you of Importing Child Pornography through the internet, or onto your iPhone via Instagram or Facebook, you should contact a top Connecticut child pornography criminal lawyer right away. Remember, the police are in the business of making arrests, so be very wary of officers who want to talk to you “off the record.” There is no “off the record” when talking with police investigating a Connecticut child porn case.The Penalties for Importing Child Pornography
What makes an arrest for 53a-196c Importing Child Pornography so serious are the penalties, which if not negotiated for properly on your behalf, can be added on top of any punishment you receive for 53a-196 Possession of Child Pornography. Importing Child Pornography under 53a-196 is a Class B felony, which carries up to 20 years of jail time (5 years which are mandatory and cannot be suspended or reduced by the court), a maximum $15,000 fine, sex offender registration, and sex offender probation. That’s a 5 year mandatory minimum jail sentence which is usually a day-for-day sentence. And while it is up to the prosecutor and court whether the sex offender registration will be public or for “law enforcement only,” the terms and conditions of sex offender probation are controlled by the Connecticut Department of Probation, which is required to follow extremely strict guidelines in their monitoring protocols and procedures. We have heard that the monitoring is onerous and severe. Probation officers can control where you live, whether you are permitted to be in the vicinity of children (even your own relatives), and have control over your computer and internet use. Thus, before pleading guilty to any 53a-196c charges, you need to make very sure that you have exhausted every defense possible and that your top Greenwich, Fairfield, Westport, or Stamford Connecticut criminal lawyer has negotiated the very best plea bargain for you. Otherwise, it may be worth considering taking your case to trial and fighting your 53a-196c charges.Penalties & Jail Sentences for Possessing Child Pornography
Separate and apart from the penalties for Importing Child Pornography are the mandatory minimum jail sentences that come with convictions for Possession of Child Pornography crimes in Connecticut. All three degrees of Child Pornography Possession carry stiff fines, sex offender registration and sex offender probation. In terms of jail time, First Degree Possession of Child Pornography under CGS 53a-196d (forbidding possession of 50 or more images) carries a maximum jail sentence of 20 years, accompanied by a mandatory minimum jail sentence of 5 years, which cannot be suspended or reduced. Possession of Child Pornography in the Second Degree under CGS § 53a-196e prohibits the possession of 20 to 49 illegal images and exposes you to 10 years in prison, of which 2 years which cannot be suspended or reduced. Finally, Third Degree Possession of Child Pornography under C.G.S. 53a-196f (involving less than 20 images) exposes you to a maximum 5 year jail sentence, 1 year which is mandatory and cannot be reduced. The Connecticut Possession of Child Pornography jail sentences can be ordered to served consecutively to a CGS 53a-196c Importing Child Pornography Charge, so it is important for your Connecticut Child Pornography lawyer to make sure that a sentencing or trial court does not look to impose consecutive sentences or penalties.Fighting 53a-196c Importing Child Pornography Charges
The Mark Sherman Law criminal attorneys are ready to assist you in fighting your Importing Child Pornography charges. Our “two-attorney” review process ensures that all of your police reports and forensic lab reports are analyzed and scrutinized by at least two of our criminal attorneys for errors, omissions, defects and constitutional violations. The age-old cliché holds true In the criminal court system: sometimes a good defense is an aggressive offense, especially in Child Pornography Importing cases where computer crime detectives invade your privacy rights by monitoring your internet activity without a valid search warrant. Your rights in your phone calls, telecommunications activities, and internet usage are constitutionally protected in varying degrees. Just because Stamford and Connecticut computer crime detectives have the technology to conduct invasive surveillance does not mean they can do so with carte blanche. In many cases, they must apply for search warrants. We have also seen police stretch their evidence to try and prove the element of “importing.” Just because an illegal or questionable pornographic image has been downloaded to your computer does not mean that the Connecticut authorities can prove you actually engaged in the downloading or importing activity. Additionally, as with any child pornography case, the prosecutors must prove that the participants in these photos and videos are actually under 16 years old. Whatever defense we choose to pursue against your Connecticut Child Pornography charges, the Mark Sherman Law attorneys can assure you that we will sit with you and craft the most aggressive and cost-effective defense for your case.Contact an Experienced Child Pornography Lawyer Today
So whether you have been arrested in Darien, Greenwich, Fairfield, New Canaan, Norwalk, or Stamford for 53a-196c Importing Child Pornography, or for straight Possession of Child Pornography charges, call a Stamford criminal lawyer at Mark Sherman Law right away. As with any computer crime case, digital and electronic evidence needs to be preserved right away. Forensic computer experts and investigators may need to be retained quickly to assist in your defense. The stakes are substantial. As discussed above, the consequences of losing a Child Pornography case are devastating—mandatory minimum jail sentences, sex offender registration, and severe sex offender probations terms and conditions. There are many moving parts to defending a Child Pornography case so don’t wait until it’s too late. Call a Mark Sherman Law attorney today at (203) 358-4700.Related Links: