Child Pornography Website Ownership Laws
Child pornography charges of any kind are taken very seriously in Virginia. Even the allegation of child pornography can be devastating to you, your family, and your reputation.
If you have already been accused or believe you are being investigated for these offenses, call today and schedule a free consultation to discuss your case with one of our Virginia child pornography lawyers.
Investigations of Child Pornography Websites in Virginia
Among some of the more serious child pornography laws are those concerning the ownership of a website that has child pornography in exchange for money.
Investigations of child pornography websites would be similar to the investigations that are done for distribution cases because there is often going to be more than one person involved. This often means that the investigation techniques are going to be more long term. There’s going to be a lot of investigation on the end users and tracing back the images from these users to where they came from.
Once you can figure out what’s coming from a particular website, then investigators have to figure out who is operating that. These are typically very sophisticated investigations with more than one law enforcement agency involved.
Owning a website for the purpose of selling pornography is a completely separate criminal offense from regular distribution or production charges, but you usually see this type of charge piled onto other substantive child pornography cases.
An important element of this statue is that the website is set up for “the purpose of facilitating a payment,” which means you must have set up the website to try and exchange money for pornography. If you are found guilty of this offense you are facing a class 4 felony, which is punishable by two to 10 years in prison and a fine that can not exceed $100.000.
Constitutional Issues in Website Investigations
These cases deal with the same constitutional issues that you’d see in other types of criminal cases. The Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable searches and seizure would be an issue, as well as the Fifth Amendment right to remain silent and the right to counsel and the Sixth Amendment right to counsel.
All of those issues will factor into these types of criminal investigations as well. One advantage of having an attorney is that your lawyer can review the ways that law enforcement officers accessed this information and look for warrantless or otherwise improper investigation techniques.
What Information Can The Government Access?
It is important to keep in mind that the government can access almost anything if they have probable cause and a search warrant. If they’re searching your computer, for instance, they have to search within the confines of what the warrant allows them to search.
So, they have very sophisticated software and forensic tools that will search computers for contraband. There are different ways that they can search a computer and only look for child pornography if the warrant is allowing for that.