Are there any defenses to CSAM charges?
As you undoubtedly know, possessing child sexual abuse material is one of the more serious criminal offenses anyone can commit. Indeed, according to the U.S. Sentencing Commission, 99.1% of CSAM convicts end up serving prison time. Moreover, the average prison sentence for these individuals is 104 months.
In the American judicial system, all defendants enjoy the presumption of innocence. Unless a person agrees to plead guilty, prosecutors have a legal duty to prove every element of CSAM possession beyond a reasonable doubt. This means defendants have an opportunity to mount a defense.
Violation of legal rights
Everyone in the U.S. enjoys some valuable legal rights, including the right to be free from illegal searches and seizures. If officers violate a person’s fundamental rights when investigating a CSAM matter, the charged individual might be able to exclude inculpatory evidence. Without this evidence, prosecutors might not be able to secure a conviction.
Lack of possession
For a person to be guilty of possessing CSAM, he or she must actually possess the CSAM. If the material belongs to someone else or appears on someone else’s device, prosecutors might have a difficult time obtaining a conviction. The same may be true if the defendant does not know about the existence of the CSAM.
A conviction for possessing CSAM is likely to change anyone’s life in a variety of negative ways. Ultimately, to minimize the potentially catastrophic fallout, it is imperative for defendants both to understand their legal rights and to explore all possible defense options.