What is Considered Possession of Child Pornography?

When your computer or other digital device is inspected by law enforcement in Minnesota and child pornography is located, you are looking at very serious charges. However, many people are unaware that even the evidence that child pornography has once been present is enough to arrest you. In these cases it is all about proving possession, but what does possession of child pornography actually entail?

What Counts as Possession?

Possession of child pornography isn’t just limited to physical pictures, but digital files as well. Furthermore, this also includes evidence that such images were once present. Everyone should be aware that just because it is deleted doesn’t mean it is gone from any digital device.

Internet Files

Just because you didn’t download anything doesn’t mean there isn’t evidence on your computer. Each time a website is visited, a number of the images are downloaded anyway on to your computer creating what are called Temporary Internet Files. This is done to allow the web pages to load faster on future visits, but it can be crucial evidence to prove possession of child pornography. This can be avoided by using private browsing settings, but even then if your IP address is matched with the web server, then that will still classify as possession.

Deleted Files

These days once you put something on the internet, it is never truly gone. However, it has always worked the same way on computers as well. Just because you deleted a file you downloaded and emptied your recycling bin doesn’t mean that file is gone. This is often how many people are caught possessing child pornography.

The truth is that until the sectors where the file was stored are written over with new data, it can still be recovered by police using special programs by their cyber forensics department. Even if a portion of the file is received, it can still count as possession.

What About Accidental Viewing?

While many find the situation unlikely, the truth is that accidentally viewing child pornography is actually rather common. The internet is home to a wide array of adult images and some actual illegal ones can easily snake their way in. It is even more common for those who use peer-to-peer software to torrent movies or music as child pornography files can also be included and are difficult to erase. However, what do you do when the police arrest you on possession of child pornography and you didn’t actually mean to view it?

In some cases, digital forensic software can trace how the file came to be downloaded on a computer. If it came packed in with a non-child pornographic movie or other media, then it can actually go a long way to proving your innocence. Unfortunately, viewing an image or movie on the internet can be more difficult to prove you were accidentally viewing. In some cases, the prosecutor may try to argue that because your internet browsing history was cleared shortly after viewing, that you had full knowledge of what your were viewing.

Have you been arrested for possessing child pornography? Don’t just sit back and wait for a conviction, contact us today. Let the criminal defense attorneys at Kinsella & Foley Defense work hard to preserve your rights and help make sure you get the best possible results. Possession of child pornography comes with very serious punishments as well as a stigma involved, so regardless of if it was purposeful or accidental viewing, you need to fight back against these accusations with the help of the best possible lawyers.