Wausau Defense Attorneys for Computer Crimes

Child pornography and use of a computer to facilitate a child sex crime are felony offenses in Wisconsin. Our experienced criminal defense attorneys will fight to protect your freedom, your reputation, and your future.

If you have been charged with a computer crime, such as possession of child pornography or using a computer to facilitate a child sex crime, you are facing the possibility of enormous fines and decades behind bars. Prosecutors and law enforcement aggressively pursue criminal cases involving harm to children, and in order to have any chance of protecting your future, you need experienced legal representation.

At Crooks, Low & Connell, S.C., we vigorously defend individuals in Wausau and throughout North Central Wisconsin in cases involving allegations of these offenses. The statutes defining child pornography and use of a computer to facilitate a child sex crime are complex, and in many cases, individuals will find themselves wrongly accused of violating the law. From wrongful accusations to violations of your Constitutional rights, our criminal defense lawyers will thoroughly investigate in order to uncover all of the information we need to build the strongest possible defense.

Computer Crimes: Possession of Child Pornography

In Wisconsin, you can face charges for possession of child pornography if either (i) you have in your possession any media depicting a child engaged in sexually explicit conduct, or (ii) you exhibit any recording of a child engaged in sexually-explicit conduct.

However, in order for prosecutors to obtain a conviction, they must not only prove that you possessed or exhibited child pornography, but that you had a certain level of knowledge about the material as well. For example, with respect to possessing sexually explicit material, the prosecutor must prove that:

  • You knew you were in possession of the material;
  • You knew (or reasonably should have known) that the material contained depictions of sexually explicit conduct; and
  • You knew (or reasonably should have known) that the material depicted a child who was under the age of 18.

Likewise, with respect to exhibiting child pornography, in order to obtain a conviction the state must prove that:

  • You knew you were playing or exhibiting the recording;
  • You knew that the recording was sexually explicit before you ran it; and
  • Also before you ran it, you knew (or reasonably should have known) that the material depicted a child who was under 18 years of age.

If the prosecutor cannot prove that you knew all of the required information, then you are not guilty of the offense. Our attorneys are skilled at raising reasonable doubt about these and other issues, in order to help clients fight charges for possession of child pornography.

Possession of child pornography is a Class D felony, unless the offender is under age 18, in which case it falls into Class I. Class D felonies carry penalties of up to $100,000 in fines and 25 years of imprisonment. For a Class I felony, the potential penalties include a $10,000 fine and up to three and a half years behind bars. The judge can also order payment of an additional surcharge of $500 for each copy of every image involved in the crime.

Computer Crimes: Use of a Computer to Facilitate a Child Sex Crime

Use of a computer to facilitate a child sex crime (including sexual assault of a child) is a felony offense separate and apart from the sex crime itself. In fact, committing a sex crime is not an element of the offense. In other words, you do not have to actually commit a sexual assault in order to be convicted of using a computer to facilitate a child sex crime.

However, as with possession of child pornography and other offenses, there are many potential defenses available. For example, in order to obtain a conviction, the prosecution must prove that (i) you did not reasonably believe that the person you were contacting was less than 24 months younger than you, and (ii) you took additional action – beyond computer communication – in order to further pursue the child sexual assault. The Wisconsin courts have even held that using a webcam to transmit video still merely counts as “computer communication” and does not justify a conviction for the offense.

Use of a computer to facilitate a child sex crime is a Class C felony, with penalties up to and including a $100,000 fine and 40 years’ imprisonment.

Contact a Lawyer About Your Case Today

If you are facing child pornography charges or charges for using a computer to facilitate a child sex crime, the experienced Wausau criminal defense attorneys at Crooks, Low & Connell, S.C. can help protect you. For a confidential consultation, call (715) 842-2291 or contact us online now.