Switch to ADA Accessible Theme
Close Menu
Tampa Criminal Attorney
Free Consultation Call 24/7

If You've Been Arrested in Tampa Bay or Surrounding Areas, We Can Help You Immediately!

Tampa Criminal Attorney > Blog > Pornography Charges > Defending Pornography Possession Charges In Court

Defending Pornography Possession Charges In Court


The Sunshine State’s laws regarding possession of illegal pornography are very broad. Like most sexual offenses, possession of illegal pornography involves direct and collateral consequences. The direct consequences include lengthy court supervision, high fines, and a registration requirement. The collateral consequences are often worse. Most studies show that the general population views all sex offenders the same way. A person who had a single illegal photograph in his/her email is as bad as a serial rapist.

A Tampa pornography charges attorney can reduce or eliminate these harsh consequences. Possession cases, including possession of illegal pornography cases, have a number of moving parts. Several procedural and/or substantive defenses could apply. So, if you were charged with possession of child pornography or other illegal pornography, do not lose heart. Even accused sex offenders are innocent until proven guilty.

Search Warrant Issues

From a procedural standpoint, pornography cases are a mixed bag. A few involve lengthy investigations from multiple agencies. These investigations usually involve a search warrant. This warrant application must be based on an affidavit which demonstrates probable cause. A few pornographic video downloads from legitimate websites usually don’t establish probable cause.

The ends never justify the means in these situations. Prosecutors cannot argue that if officers found illegal pornography, they must have had probable cause. Incidentally, this argument doesn’t work in reverse either. Defense attorneys can’t argue that if officers came up empty, the search must have been illegal.

Other pornography arrests are spur-of-the-moment incidents. If officers see Dennis acting suspiciously or catch him red-handed in an unrelated traffic or other matter, they might search his cell phone and find illegal pornography. The seized evidence is inadmissible unless a narrow search warrant exception applies. Some examples include:

  • Plain View: If officers see contraband in plain view, they can seize it, warrant or no warrant. This exception only applies if the stop was lawful or if the officer otherwise had permission to be in that place at that time.
  • Exigent Circumstances: Officers may enter buildings without warrants if they reasonably believe someone inside is in trouble. Once inside, they can seize anything illegal they see in plain view.
  • Consent: Property owners may give voluntary, affirmative consent for police officers to search their property. Voluntary consent is free from any threats or coercion, express or implied. Affirmative consent is an overt act which clearly gives officers permission to search.

Smartphones, which were mentioned above, are a special case. The Supreme Court has ruled that individuals have a privacy interest in everything past the home screen. Therefore, individuals don’t have to give officers their passwords unless those officers have search warrants.

Establishing Possession

Many people don’t know that prosecutors must demonstrate more than proximity to establish possession in criminal court. They must also prove knowledge and control. Furthermore, they must prove all three things (proximity, knowledge, and control) beyond any reasonable doubt.

The control requirement is often an issue in paper pornography cases. Frequently, if officers raid a dwelling and find pornography, they arrest everyone present. In court, it’s difficult to prove that a defendant in the living room had control over pornography concealed in a bedroom, especially if it was someone else’s bedroom.

Knowledge is often an issue in electronic pornography claims. Many emails go directly into an owner’s spam folder. Additionally, many pornographic images are tiny thumbnail pictures. Furthermore, most illegal pornographic videos only have one or two illegal images. 

Count on a Diligent Hillsborough County Attorney

A criminal charge is not the same thing as a criminal conviction. For a free consultation with an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Tampa, contact the OA Law Firm. We routinely handle matters in Hillsborough County and nearby jurisdictions.



Facebook Twitter LinkedIn
Client Reviews

"I was in the unfortunate situation of having to hire a lawyer for my grandson and since I did not know of anyone that could refer me, I had to rely on my judgement of character and when I sat down in front of Omar, I knew that I had made the right decision. He is a very professional, well versed in the law, knowledgeable young man that takes the time to explain every aspect of your case to you. He returns calls promptly, knows your case inside out and is very punctual in meetings and court hearings. I could not have chosen a better, more qualified lawyer to represent my grandson. He comes highly recommended by me and you will not go wrong in obtaining his services."

- Gloria

"It is with pleasure that we wish to recommend Mr. Omar Abdelghany in his practice as a Criminal Defense Attorney. He was hired in the defense of our son. The defense included more than one offense, which required legal maneuvering to address the issues. Omar's skills came into play in positioning the case, which resulted in a good outcome given the facts at hand."

- Ted

"Lawyer Abdelghany, has been a tremendous blessing and stress reliever, not only to me but also to my family members in need of professional help. He was understanding of my situation and worked with me financially. I am overall grateful for him and would refer all my family and friends to hire him."

- Khalil G.
View More