There is active enforcement against child pornography at state, local, and federal levels. Law enforcement will investigate child pornography in various ways. Among these are using undercover agents online, tracing known child pornography-containing images, and infiltration of distribution rings, among others. This is an incredibly serious crime, with matching consequences. As such, it is pursued vigorously throughout the State of Virginia. If you find yourself under investigation for child pornography, or if you are facing these charges, contact an experienced Virginia child pornography attorney immediately. They will provide you with the proper counsel on how to proceed with your case.
It is quite common that there will be a variety of investigative techniques for child pornography investigations. One of the most common techniques for searching and discovering child pornography is through the use of tracer files. Think about when someone is firing an automatic weapon in the dark when you are watching a military movie on TV. Every once in a while, there is a bright tracer round that shows what the person is aiming at.
Similarly, with a Virginia child pornography investigation, it is very common that a known image of child pornography will be marked, flagged, or traced when it goes through different databases and goes to the different individuals. The investigative task force—whether they are they are federal, state or local government—will be able to further understand where it came from, who possessed it, and from what period of time.
Given the large amount of files and the comparatively small file size of a photograph image in today’s internet, it is important to use this technology so that such a file cannot be hidden within a larger array of legitimate files.
There are other types of child pornography investigations. Commonly investigators try to infiltrate distribution rings or trading rings of child pornography on the internet. This type of investigation may involve the use of a government agent in chat rooms posing either as minors or posing as fellow enthusiasts of child pornography. These folks will reach out and discuss, often in a code that is known to people in this dark circle of the internet to deal and make offers and exchanges of certain images and files.
When persons distribute the images to each other, then the prosecution typically will commence and they issue a search warrant for their home and potentially for all the computer equipment associated with that person’s internet service provider and ISP information.
The venue provision of Virginia Code Section 18.2-374.1:1 says, “Venue for a prosecution under this section made behind the jurisdiction with the unlawful act occurs or where any child pornography is produced, reproduced, found, stored, received, or possessed in violation of this section.” If someone is involved in the trading or reproduction of child pornography and it is stored on a server and if they come out of Virginia, they may be prosecuted within Virginia.
If you are facing a potential investigation of child pornography, a Virginia child pornography attorney can help in a variety of ways. The most important thing is to reach out to the law enforcement entity and local prosecuting entity as soon as possible—whether this is a local attorney or the assistant US attorney—so that you try and discuss terms and conditions of the case and get more information.
Often, child pornography investigations create extremely large potential discretions for prosecution and this may include the number of accounts, the variety of accounts, and the timing of the account. The timing should be done in a way to minimize the person’s exposure to potential criminal penalties and jail time.
Patrick Woolley Attorney At Law