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Interacting With Law Enforcement In a Maryland Federal Child Pornography Case
Being questioned by law enforcement officials can be intimidating, especially when it is in regards to something as serious as child pornography. However, despite this, it is imperative that if questioned you are aware of your rights and don’t say anything that could end up incriminating you later on. With this in mind the following is information on your legal rights when interacting with law enforcement in Maryland. For more call and schedule a consultation with a Maryland federal child pornography lawyer today.
What Are Your Rights When Police Come to Your Door?
If they have a warrant then you cannot stop them from looking around, but if they knock on the door the first thing you should ask them is if they have a warrant. If the answer is yes, you won’t have much of a choice but to let them in and search, but you can still maintain your right to remain silent and not answer any questions.
If they say they do not have a warrant, you can let them know that you do not consent to a search that is without a warrant. If an individual consents to a search without a warrant, that’s as good as the officers having a warrant, and they’re allowed to search the premises. If an individual stands firm and says they do not want their premises searched, an officer does not have the ability to conduct that search without a proper warrant in place, absent exigent circumstances.
The Dangers of Letting Them Search Without a Warrant
If you have nothing to hide, you theoretically could show them that, but many times the individuals who have an officer investigating them might not know what the officer is searching for when they come to the door. You might find yourself in a position where you’ve been charged with something that you were never expecting to be charged with. It’s always a good idea to exercise your rights, contact an attorney if there’s an officer at your door or you’re being investigated, and always invoke your right to remain silent so that an officer does not get information from you voluntarily that helps them in their investigation.
What To Do If Agents Arrive Early in the Morning
Usually, depending on why they’re searching your house, the first thing you should do is find out if they have a warrant.
If they do not have a warrant, they’re not permitted to be in your home if you told them they can’t come to your house. If they do have a warrant, you must allow them to search and just remain silent. Talking to them will usually not make them go away. They have a reason for searching your home. They have to apply for that search warrant with a judge and provide supporting documentation for why they wanted to search your home. They’re usually there for a reason. Talking to them and explaining that they have made a mistake is not going to stop them. You’re far better off just remaining silent, allowing them to complete their search, and contacting your attorney.
Questions from Agents in Child Pornography Cases
You’re certainly allowed to go to the station and have a conversation with the police voluntarily, but it’s against an attorney’s advice because you may not always know the questions that you’re being asked. You may not understand interrogation techniques as well as an attorney does and you may face the possibility of finding yourself in trouble even if you didn’t have anything to hide when you originally contacted the officer, because you may not have known what it was that they were seeking to investigate against you, it’s always a good idea to avoid conversations with the police—even if you have nothing to hide—unless you have an attorney present.
Should You Wait Until You Are Arrested to Contact An Attorney?
In a child pornography situation, you should not wait until you are arrested to actually speak with a criminal defense attorney. What you should know is that you will be aware—very likely well in advance of being charged with some child pornography violation—that you are under investigation. Suspects will be aware of an investigation either because they will get a warrant served on them, their home will be searched, their workplace will be searched, or they may get a call themselves from some kind of an investigating authority, a prosecutor or government special agent.
Once you become aware of an investigation, you should contact an attorney immediately. Oftentimes in these kinds of situations, it’s difficult for the government to charge somebody without knowing that that individual actually committed the violation on the Internet. What the government is hoping is that an individual will come into an interrogation setting and make admissions to make the government’s case against that individual stronger.
By talking to an attorney immediately, an attorney will be able to assert your right to remain silent on your behalf. An attorney will also be able to have any other necessary communication with the investigators to make sure that any questioning is ceased; this will prevent you from getting into a situation that’s worse than the one you’re already in by making any representations to law enforcement that might make the case against you stronger.