Thanks to the cameras in smartphones, human beings may be taking more photographs than at any time in history. Certainly, the Internet is providing an easier way than ever to share pictures around the world.
Many of these pictures are the ever-popular “selfie,” short for self-portrait. The idea of using a digital camera or phone to take a picture of oneself has become so pervasive that “selfie” was the 2013 Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year. Most selfies are innocent enough. The picture taker wants to show themselves at various locations to inform and impress their social media followers.
In other cases, people take sexually suggestive or explicit pictures. If the subject of a sexual photograph is a minor, the person who took the picture will probably face criminal charges if caught.
So too will a person accused of possessing the image. Federal authorities routinely charge people with obtaining or possessing images of child pornography from the Internet.
The defendant may be an adult, or a minor like the picture’s subject. Far from the image of the typical child pornography defendant, a teenager who takes a picture of a boyfriend or girlfriend may find themselves in serious legal trouble. Say that teen shares the photo with a friend, who in turn forwards the picture to a few others. Both teens could face child porn charges.
From this example, it is easy to see how someone might unwittingly end up arrested on highly grave charges. A conviction could have lifetime consequences, so it is important to have a criminal defense attorney to protect your rights.