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Can You Be Convicted of Child Pornography for Streaming?

Published: Nov 14, 2016 in Criminal Defense, Sex Crimes

It is possible that you could be convicted of possessing or promoting child pornography if authorities believe you viewed sexual depictions of children through a streaming service. Under Texas Penal Code §43.26, a person commits a crime if that individual knowingly or intentionally possesses, or knowingly or intentionally accesses with intent to view, visual material that depicts a child under the age of 18 engaged in sexual conduct. Historically, whether defendants actually possessed these materials was never an issue. However, the legal definition of “possession” is up in the air now that it is possible for individuals to stream child pornography without downloading a single image.

If you are facing child pornography charges for streaming online content, you need Houston child pornography lawyer Ned Barnett to fight to uphold the traditional definition of possession. Call the Law Offices of Ned Barnett at (713) 222-6767 to schedule a free confidential consultation.

Defining Possession in Texas

Several states including Wisconsin, Washington, Pennsylvania and Virginia have determined that viewing child pornography on a computer is not the same as downloading and intentionally possessing the materials. As of right now, Texas law does not specifically address streaming or merely viewing child pornography. However, it is possible that Texas courts – generally known as being tough on crime – will determine that streaming does constitute possession. With Internet streaming services becoming more popular, even for pornography, more people will view sexual depictions of children without having to download the image to their hard drives. Texas courts may want to bring state law up-to-date with technology.

Child Pornography Streaming Under Federal Law

If you are accused of streaming child pornography in Texas, the prosecutors may charge you under federal law, particularly if the source of the video was in another state. The U.S. code makes it unlawful for anyone to receive, distribute or possess child pornography. Federal prosecutors could successfully argue that viewing a live stream of child pornography was either receiving or possessing the illegal materials – or both.

Potential Consequences

Possessing child pornography under either Texas or federal law is a felony. Depending on the circumstances of your case in Texas, you may face a third-, second, or first-degree felony. Depending on the level of the offense, you face a minimum of 2 years in prison up to life. For a federal charge without any prior convictions, you can be sentenced to between 5 and 20 years in prison.

Texas law will require you to register as a sex offender for the rest of your life if you are convicted of possessing or promoting child pornography. Sex offender registration will greatly limit where you can live and work. It will make it difficult to finish your education, build a successful career and become a productive member of a community. Many individuals who are required to register as a sex offender are ostracized by family, friends and their community, and have a difficult time throughout life.

Ned Barnett Can Defend Against Child Pornography Charges

If you have been accused of possessing child pornography because of streaming video, you have a strong defense to these charges. Ned Barnett can work with you and technology experts to demonstrate to the court that you did not possess any video or photos. This may include showing that you did not download any of these images and there were no files related to child pornography on any of your computers or other devices. He may also be able to show that you never accessed the streaming content you are accused of viewing due to someone else using your device or from being hacked.

Call The Law Offices of Ned Barnett today at (713) 222-6767to schedule a consultation.