What to Do if Law Enforcement is Asking About Possible Pornographic Material on Your Computer

Of all the crimes you can be charged with, sex crimes are particularly daunting. Perhaps none more so than the possession, promotion, or distribution of child pornography. Even if the charges are eventually dropped or you are found not guilty in a court of law, the damage to your reputation and future prospects is life-altering and lasting, if not permanent. If found guilty, you could face serious jail time and be required to register as a sex offender.

If the police or other law enforcement officers are asking about possible pornographic material on your computer, you need to speak with a qualified criminal defense attorney immediately. It is in your best interests to seek out a lawyer to ensure your rights will be protected and you will be treated as fairly as possible.

Call the award-winning St. Louis law firm of Combs Waterkotte as soon as possible at (314) 900-HELP or contact us online for a free, no-strings-attached consultation. Here, we’ll provide guidance on what to do if you find yourself facing such a scenario.

What to Do if Law Enforcement is Asking About Possible Pornographic Material on Your Computer

Generally speaking, the law does not care how you came to be in possession of pornographic material, only that it’s in your possession. Nowadays though, this material could have come from a multitude of sources or avenues, many of which you didn’t even know existed. Plenty of people have unknown files on their computers.

Remember, law enforcement can often blur the line between reasonable suspicion and probable cause. The following are steps to take if law enforcement is asking about possible pornographic material on your computer:

  • Stay Calm and Composed: The first and most important step is to remain calm. Panicking or reacting impulsively may lead to increased suspicion and unintended consequences. Take a deep breath and focus on maintaining composure throughout the interaction with law enforcement. Trying to physically avert an arrest or resisting an officer can lead to class E felony charges, which carry a sentence of up to 4 years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
  • Know Your Rights: Understanding your Fifth Amendment rights is vital when facing questions about child pornography possession. You have the right to remain silent, known as your Miranda rights, and you cannot be compelled to incriminate yourself. Let your skilled Combs Waterkotte criminal defense attorney help answer any questions. Call us at (314) 900-HELP or reach out to us online to discuss the specifics of your case.
  • Avoid Self-Incrimination: Refrain from providing any information that may incriminate you. This includes admitting to possessing, promoting, or distributing illegal pornographic material. Remember your rights and that anything you say can and will be used against you, so it’s wise to limit your responses to asserting your right to remain silent. We tell our clients to gently and politely inform law enforcement two things:

    1. I am asserting my right to remain silent.
    2. I would like to speak with an attorney.
  • Do Not Consent to Any Searches: Law enforcement officers may ask for consent to search your computer, hard drive, or other devices. It is well within your Fourth Amendment rights to refuse consent. If they have a search warrant, ask to review it, do so carefully, and ensure that it is valid. If no warrant exists, or if the officers don’t present one, reiterate your refusal to consent to the search. Fishing expeditions should not be rewarded.

What to do if Law Enforcement is Asking About Possible Pornographic Material on Your Computer | Combs Waterkotte

Contact a Leading Criminal Defense Attorney to Learn What to do if Law Enforcement is Asking About Pornographic Material on Your Computer

Unfortunately, law enforcement will stoop to all levels, including the use of questionable interrogation tactics like threats and coercion to get a warrant, an arrest, or simple information. Do not feel compelled to provide anything other than basic information, if required, such as your legal name, date of birth, and address.

Being questioned by the police about child pornography is a serious matter that requires a careful and informed approach. By staying calm, asserting your rights, and seeking the top legal representation in St. Louis and throughout Missouri, you can navigate the situation more effectively and protect your legal interests and future.

If you find yourself in this challenging situation, remember that consulting with a leading child pornography attorney is crucial to safeguarding your rights and mounting a strong defense. Call Combs Waterkotte as soon as possible at (314) 900-HELP or contact us online for a free, confidential case review.