Can innocent people get child porn on their computers?

Posted by Neil Shouse | Dec 26, 2018 | 0 Comments

Yes. Common ways innocent people get child pornography on their computers are:

  • downloading attachments from suspicious emails;
  • getting a computer virus or other malware; or
  • getting hacked by another user

Therefore, computer users are advised to be very careful never to open emails from people they do not know. Computer users should also invest in virus-scanning software. And computer users should never let other people use their computers unless they watch them or completely trust them not to do anything illegal.

Definition of Child Pornography in Nevada

Child pornography (also called "kiddie porn") is any representation of sexual conduct with minors with the purpose of appealing to a viewer's baser instincts. Sexual conduct comprises either:

  • intercourse,
  • lewd exhibition of the genitals,
  • oral sex,
  • bestiality,
  • anal sex,
  • excretion,
  • sadomasochism,
  • masturbation, and/or
  • any sexual penetration

Child pornography is typically in the form of photos or videos. Courts may take various measures to determine whether something qualifies as child pornography, including viewing the pornography and taking into account witnesses and medical expert testimony.

Child Pornography Penalties in Nevada

Under NRS 200.730, it is a category B felony in Nevada to knowingly possess pornography of children under sixteen (16). The penalty for a first-time offense is one to six (1 - 6) years in Nevada State Prison. A subsequent offense of violating NRS 200.730 is a category A felony, carrying

  • one (1) year to a life sentence in prison with the possibility of parole, and
  • maybe fines of up to $5,000

Note that NRS 200.730 convictions may never be sealed from a defendant's criminal record. But if the charge gets dismissed, the defendant can pursue a record seal right away.

Also, note that violating NRS 200.730 is a deportable crime. Therefore, non-citizens convicted of it can be thrown out of the U.S.

Finally, note that Nevada law imposes potentially harsher punishments for advertising child pornography or using a minor to create the pornography. Meanwhile, using the internet to view child pornography carries potentially laxer punishments than possessing the pornography.

Fighting Child Pornography Charges in Nevada

Violating NRS 200.730 is an intent crime: This means that a person has to know he/she has the pornography in order to be guilty of possession.

Therefore, one of the best defenses to NRS 200.730 charges is that the defendant did not knowingly possess the pornography. If the defense attorney can show that the pornography existed on the defendant's computer without his/her knowledge, the charges should be dropped:

Example: William gets on an unsecured network at a local coffee house to check his email. Unbeknownst to him, another person on the network hacks into William's computer and puts child pornography in his files. Meanwhile, the FBI tracks this material and arrests William for possession. William's attorney hires an expert who studies the computer and can testify that the pornography was put there by hackers and that William never once opened the files containing the pornography. This testimony convinced the D.A. to drop the charges against William.

Learn more about Nevada laws of possession of pornography with children.

About the Author

Neil Shouse

A former Los Angeles prosecutor, attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT). He has been featured on CNN, Good Morning America, Dr Phil, Court TV, The Today Show and Court TV. Mr Shouse has been recognized by the National Trial Lawyers as one of the Top 100 Criminal and Top 100 Civil Attorneys.


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