Child pornography charges as well as other charges related to sex offenders are extremely serious in the state of Texas. In fact, Internet sex crimes or downloading, sale, distribution, or possession of child pornography is one of the fastest-growing areas of criminal prosecution across the nation. If you are found in possession of child pornography, you could face both state and federal charges.
Even an accusation of child pornography is enough to ruin your reputation and standing in the community. You may lose your job, your friends, and even custody of your children during this time. As such, it is important to understand the seriousness of these charges and what you can do to protect your future.
What Happens During Child Pornography Investigations?
Generally speaking, a search warrant is typically served at a person’s home or business, then his or her computers, hard drives, phones, or cameras are seized. At this point, it could take weeks or months before a forensic analysis of the electronics is completed by investigators.
If you find yourself in this position, it is extremely beneficial to contact a criminal defense attorney immediately, before you are even charged. If you wait until you are charged, you could potentially make mistakes that can derail the outcome of your trial.
Even if you are innocent, you need an attorney. If the allegations against you are false, do not think you can skip an attorney and handle the case yourself because you are innocent. Images on your computer may have been entirely unknown to you in the form of pop-ups, unopened spam email, deleted mail, etc. Computers can also be “hijacked” without the knowledge of the owner of the computer.
Even if you had no knowledge of the images on your electronic devices, this can be difficult for you to prove on your own. Even if you simply made a mistake, you may still face severe consequences.
Your Houston sex offense attorney can potentially mitigate and negotiate your charges, so your time in prison is reduced, or may be able to help you find a treatment program that will keep you out of prison entirely. It is crucial to have an attorney in your corner who fully understands your situation, otherwise, your chances of a good outcome are substantially reduced—whether you are guilty or innocent.
Consequences of Child Pornography in Houston
The state of Texas prosecutes child pornography charges aggressively. Under Texas Law (Texas Penal Code Ann. § 43.26) defines child pornography and labels it a third-degree felony offense. Keep in mind that each image possessed counts as a separate offense. The court is also permitted to order sentences to run consecutively, which could potentially keep you in prison for the remainder of your life.
According to Texas law, you face the following consequences if you are found guilty of child pornography:
- Prison time between 2-10 years
- Registration as a sex offender for life
- Excessive fines
To look at a real life example of the penalties you face, consider this recent child pornography case. In 2019, Ryan William Steckler, a former Houston fire captain, was charged with 10 counts of possession of child pornography. Houston police executed a search warrant and investigated his online account. They found images of underage girls ranging from 1 to 12 years old performing sex acts or in various states of nudity. Two years later, a judge sentenced him to 10 years in prison for his crimes.
Even a mere accusation of child pornography can completely ruin your life. Innocent men and women often find themselves ostracized from the community after a child pornography investigation. They may lose their jobs, lucrative endorsements, or even custody of their children during this time.
For this reason alone, individuals accused of child pornography or those under investigation need an experienced and aggressive Houston criminal defense lawyer in their corner from the start.
Contact Our Experienced Houston Criminal Defense Attorneys Today
If you have been arrested and charged with a sex crime in Houston, you need a Houston criminal defense lawyer who understands the severity of the charges filed against you. At Roger G. Jain & Associates, P.C., our Houston criminal defense attorneys will work tirelessly to protect your future and your reputation. We know that child pornography charges are serious and require a quick defense.
Don’t take your sex crime charges lightly. Call us today at 713-981-0600 or fill out our confidential contact form, and begin building your defense. We are here to help you through this difficult time. No matter how serious your charges may be – we are here for you.