Child Pornography Search Warrant: What to Do When the Police Come to Your House
It’s shocking to learn that you are under investigation for child pornography. If law enforcement serves you with a search warrant, you have certain rights to uphold. Learn more about what to do if the police come to your house.
A man in handcuffs next to his laptop.
What to do if the police knock on your door
If law enforcement comes to your house, you need to know how to conduct yourself. First and foremost, politely invoke your right to remain silent. You do not need to answer their questions. This is not the time to defend yourself or offer up explanations against alleged accusations.
You should be the one asking questions. Ask them, “Do you have a search warrant?”
If they do not have a search warrant:
- You are not obligated to let them inside of your house. Ask for their contact information and let them know that your attorney will be in touch with them.
- Call a criminal defense attorney right away because law enforcement is building a case against you. There’s a good chance that they will come back with a search warrant and/or arrest you.
If they do have a search warrant:
- Ask for a copy of the document and read it carefully. Does it list your home address? Are they there at the designated time? Point out any discrepancies.
- Law enforcement can make mistakes. For example, if you live in a condominium, they could have the correct building but the wrong unit number.
- If the police take anything, they should give you a receipt that lists the items they seized.
- Then, contact a criminal defense lawyer right away.
What is considered “child pornography?”
The possession of child pornography is illegal at both the state and federal levels. Most child pornography cases are handled in federal court because the crime almost always involves the interstate exchange of materials.
Texas child pornography laws
According to Texas Penal Code § 43.26, an individual commits a crime if he or she “knowingly or intentionally possesses, or knowingly or intentionally accesses with intent to view, visual material that visually depicts a child younger than 18 years of age at the time the image of the child was made who is engaging in sexual conduct.”
For this section, “sexual conduct” is defined as “sexual contact, actual or simulated sexual intercourse, deviate sexual intercourse, sexual bestiality, masturbation, sadomasochistic abuse, or lewd exhibition of the genitals, the anus, or any portion of the female breast below the top of the areola.”
Federal child pornography laws
The US Department of Justice defines child pornography as “any visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct involving a minor (someone under 18 years of age).” This law does not limit “sexually explicit conduct” to sexual activity. For example, a “picture of a naked child may constitute illegal child pornography if it is sufficiently sexually suggestive.”
Were you served with a child pornography search warrant? 3 ways a criminal defense attorney can help
If you’ve been arrested or are under investigation for child pornography, you must take the situation seriously. The penalties for a conviction are harsh, not to mention the social stigma that will follow you for the rest of your life. Here are three ways an attorney can build a strong defense.
Contest an illegal search warrant. Not all searches and seizures are conducted legally. The police could take items that weren’t listed on the search warrant. Or, they could go through your storage unit when the search warrant only listed your house. An attorney will make sure that the search was conducted legally. If it wasn’t, they’ll bring this to the attention of the court.
Uphold your legal rights if you face child pornography charges. If you are charged with possession of child pornography, you remain innocent until proven guilty. Your attorney will make sure your case is handled fairly.
Pursue the best possible outcome for your case. Not everyone who is charged with child pornography is guilty. The prosecution needs to prove that you were in fact the individual who accessed the material and that you did so “willingly and knowingly.” Some charges arise after a person has been set up. Or, they planned to access and view legal pornography that depicted consenting adults, but instead were unknowingly directed to illegal child pornography.
The Consequences of a Child Pornography Conviction
A conviction will result in time spent behind bars in a federal prison. If you are not a citizen, a conviction means you will be deported and separated from your family in the US.
You could lose your professional licenses and the ability to work in certain professions after your release. You will struggle to find housing and a job. A child pornography conviction also will require you to register on both The Texas Public Sex Offender Website and the National Sex Offender Public Website.
Plano Child Pornography Defense Attorney: Legal Representation for Federal Charges
Child pornography is almost always prosecuted at the federal level and you need an experienced attorney to represent you. Your freedom, career, family relationships, and reputation are on the line.
Attorney Kent Starr has built a solid reputation amongst his past clients and the legal community. Take a look at his Google reviews. Mr. Starr represents clients who face tough charges like child pornography and other internet sex crimes.
Unlike lazy or inexperienced lawyers, Mr. Starr is not a “plea attorney.” He will not tell you to accept a lesser sentence if you are not guilty. He will fight for the best possible outcome for you, which may mean going to trial. Attorney Starr is compassionate with his clients but tough on the prosecution. He is not intimidated by other attorneys or judges. He believes that criminal defense is a vocation, and you deserve the best possible legal representation. He knows that a criminal record is more than a piece of paper. A felony conviction like child pornography is a “life sentence” even after your release from prison.
In addition to being a skilled and experienced lawyer, Mr. Starr also has the benefit of being a bail bond attorney. One phone call to him secures your release and starts your legal representation. He knows that arrests happen at all hours, so he provides these services 24/7.
If you’ve been arrested or are under investigation for child pornography, contact us online to schedule your free consultation or call (214) 982-1408.
Texas Penal Code Chapter 43. Public Indecency
What Happens If You End Up on the Sex Offenders List in Texas?
What Should You Do If You Are Accused of Having Child Pornography?