When Fantasy Turns Felony – Fighting 53a-196 Child Pornography Arrests & Charges in Connecticut

Internet porn is big business.  There are thousands of websites that cater to just about every fantasy you can imagine (or would never be able to imagine for that matter).  But the internet porn business is full of landmines, especially when you are talking about the illegal possession and distribution of child pornography.  These cases are perhaps some of the most difficult. The penalties and mandatory jail sentences are staggering.  Just how serious do police and prosecutors in Stamford, Greenwich, New Canaan and Darien view child porn charges?  Extremely.

Here’s why…Definition of 53a-196 Child Pornography in Connecticut

Child pornography is defined by Connecticut law as any photo, image, video, or movie depicting an individual under 16 who is engaging in sexually explicit conduct.  “Sexually explicit conduct” can be any of the following:

•    Actual or simulated sexual contact or intercourse,

•    Masturbation,

•    Sado-masochistic abuse, or

•    Gratuitous display of the genitals or pubic area of any child.

Many top Stamford child pornography possession criminal lawyers will agree that the maximum and mandatory jail sentences for child porn charges in Connecticut depend on the number of images discovered in your possession.  As a result, there are various degrees of Possession of Child Pornography charges in Connecticut.  First Degree Possession under C.G.S. 53a-196d requires the knowing possession of 50 or more images and calls for up to 20 years of jail, 5 years of which are mandatory and cannot be reduced.  Second Degree Possession of Child Pornography under C.G.S. 53a-196e applies to those in knowing possession of 20 to 49 child porn images, and calls for a max of 10 years prison, two of which are mandatory.  Finally, the least serious is Third Degree Possession of Child Pornography under C.G.S. 53a-196f, for those in knowing possession of 1 to 20 images, and can lead to up to 5 years in jail, one of which is mandatory.

One Porn Movie Can Count as Hundred of Images

One issue that comes up often in child porn cases is whether Connecticut prosecutors can actually charge First Degree Possession of Child Pornography under 53a-196d for possession of just one movie file, which technically contains hundreds of single image photos.  Prosecutors can and will do this in certain cases so it is critical for a person downloading internet pornography movie files to be very careful and vigilant about exactly what they are downloading.

The Dangers of Downloading Pornography on Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Websites

If you asked some of the top Norwalk, Greenwich and Stamford criminal lawyers who defend 53a-196 child pornography cases, then they would likely tell you that one common way that Stamford and Greenwich police make child pornography arrests is to catch the offenders on peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing websites.  Sites like Limewire, Gnutella and Shareaza are some of the more popular sites.  Many police departments in Connecticut have dedicated computer crime detectives who can discover the name of the pornography photo files and movie files that you are downloading from these file-sharing websites.  Connecticut police work closely with internet service providers (ISPs) like Cablevision (the Optimum Online provider), Verizon (the FiOS network), and AT&T to help them track down child pornography distributors and downloaders.  Once they zero in on a specific IP address, police then obtain search warrants to search that house, seize computers and hard drives, and search them for child pornography.

Can You Get Charged for Accidentally Possessing Child Pornography?

We have seen cases where an avid internet pornography collector has accidentally downloaded several child pornography files without realizing it.  Thus, while they may not be “knowingly” possessing this contraband, this would be enough evidence to get you arrested for Possession of Child Pornography under C.G.S. 53a-196.  Whether the charge can actually stick under the “knowing” element is another issue.  That’s why if you have been wrongfully charged with Possession of Child Pornography 53a-196, you should call a top Greenwich or Stamford Child Pornography criminal attorney right away.

How to Fight Your 53a-196 Child Pornography Case

Fighting child pornography arrests in Stamford, Darien, New Canaan, Greenwich, Norwalk and Westport requires a multi-pronged legal attack.  First, the search and seizure of your computer and hardware must be scrutinized carefully for unconstitutional and illegal maneuvers and seizures by law enforcement.  Then the alleged images must be analyzed by a defense forensic expert to determine if they do in fact fall within the definition of child pornography under Connecticut criminal law.  Finally, the issue of whether the possession was intentional and knowing needs to be closely examined.

Contact an Experienced Child Pornography Criminal Lawyer

So if you have been arrested for Possession of Child Pornography in Stamford, Greenwich, Darien, New Canaan or Westport, contact an experienced criminal lawyer at Mark Sherman Law today.  Our number one goal is results.  Call us today at (203) 358-4700.