The government is alleging that you have created, that you have distributed, or that you are in possession of child pornography. You may be waiting to be arrested or wondering if you should turn yourself in—but before you do that, you want to know what is going to happen to you next.
The First Steps in a Child Pornography Case
Both the State of Louisiana and the federal government take child pornography charges seriously. Accordingly, you should expect that you will be:
- Arrested. The Louisiana Code of Criminal Procedure allows an arrest to be made at any time of day and at any place. The officer should inform you that there is a warrant for your arrest. You have the right to see the warrant as soon as possible. Once you are told that you are under arrest, the officer should inform you of your Miranda rights and escort you to the police station.
- Booked. Once you are at the police station, you will be booked or processed. This usually involves taking your picture and fingerprints. Any personal property that is on you may be temporarily taken from you.
- Attending your first appearance with a judge. During your first court appearance you will be formally told of the charges against you and the judge may consider bail. You will have the opportunity to be represented by counsel at this hearing and you, or your lawyer, may speak on your behalf.
All of these steps should happen quickly, but this may be just the beginning of your case.
You Should Also Expect That You Will Need to Defend Yourself
The charges and the potential sentence that you face may seem unfair. For example, you may have inadvertently downloaded or distributed child pornography. While you are innocent until proven guilty, it is up to you to make sure that you are found not guilty. However, you do not have to do it alone. You have the right to contact a criminal defense lawyer who can represent you, who can make sure that your legal rights are protected, and who can fight for justice on your behalf.