Man Causes Trouble by Downloading Child Porn at Friends’ Home (CA Penal Code 311.11)

Most Californians are aware that downloading child pornography is illegal in the state.  However, many people also believe that catching those who download child pornography is a simple matter.  The truth is that it isn’t.  Sometimes it’s difficult to determine exactly who is using a particular Internet connection in one residence.

Take the recent case of 32-year-old man (name withheld in order to protect the privacy of the accused) from San Rafael.  It seems that he was visiting friends in Sausalito when he took advantage of their wireless Internet connection to download illegal sexual images of children.  Luckily, his friends were exonerated of any wrongdoing after cooperating with a lengthy police investigation that included members of the Novato and Sausalito Police Departments.  Through process of elimination, law enforcement officials were able to determine that it was his friend who had accessed the images.  Police then searched the accused’s home and found various types of child pornography.

(CA Penal Code 311.11) addresses possession of child pornography.  If convicted for violation of this particular law, you may face different penalties depending on the circumstances of your case.  Child pornography cases may be tried either as misdemeanor violations or as felony violations; they may also be charged as state or federal crimes.  A misdemeanor conviction may result in a $2,500 fine and up to 1 year in jail; felony convictions may mean $100,00 in fines and up to 8 years in prison.  Whether or not you have a prior criminal history figures heavily into the prosecution’s decision as to how to treat this crime, however most child pornography cases are likely to be treated as felonies in the state of California.  It’s a good idea, then, to monitor your house guests when you have a wireless Internet connection. This case was difficult to prove and you could be in trouble for a crime that you never committed.