Under California Penal Code 311.11, child pornography is matter that depicts a person under 18 years of age engaging in or simulating sexual conduct. 1 The offense is a felony that is punishable by imprisonment in county jail up to one year, or between 16 months and 8 years in state prison, a fine of $2,500, or both the fine and the imprisonment. 2 If you are convicted of possession of child pornography, you will be required to register for life as a sex offender. 3

But what happens if the child pornography you are accused of possessing was saved on a shared computer? Can you still be charged with the crime?

Do I Have Any Defenses Because the Computer Was Shared?

The answer to the question, “Can I be prosecuted if the offensive material was on a shared shared computercomputer?” is complex. Only your attorney is qualified to discuss with you how the material came to be on a computer that you used. The amount of access you had to the material and any actions that you took to view or download it are factors that must be assessed to determine your potential criminal exposure.

Questions such as, “Can all persons who shared the computer be charged with the crime?” and “Will everyone who used the computer be found guilty?” are too simplistic and sometimes irrelevant. A prosecutor has the discretion and authority to charge one person or many people with the same crime. More facts need to be brought to light to determine if prosecutors can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed the offense.

An experienced Wallin & Klarich attorney will ask you a number of questions about your activities on the computer, including whether:

  • The computer in question was password protected
  • You had limited or full access to the computer
  • The child pornography was contained in secret or hidden files, or was immediately discoverable in a folder in plain view on the computer’s desktop
  • You had access to the computer only during a certain period, such as the first three months of 2014.
  • Viruses, malware or spyware were downloaded onto the computer, and at what times these events occurred
  • You discussed an interest in child pornography with any other individuals online, through emails, instant messages, or social media posts

Your attorney can use the following defenses if you are accused of possession of child pornography on a shared computer:

  • You did not have knowledge of or access to the child pornography.
  • Entrapment, which requires that a law enforcement agent sent you the material. This is a complex defense that you can only develop with the help of an experienced attorney.
  • The images containing child pornography “popped up” on your computer without you requesting these images to appear
  • Someone planted the material in an area that you regularly accessed in an attempt to falsely accuse you.

Call the Criminal Defense Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich

If you or a loved one has been arrested for possessing child pornography, call the experienced criminal defense attorneys at Wallin & Klarich now. Our skilled attorneys have been successfully defending our clients facing child pornography charges for over 30 years. We can help you achieve the best possible outcome in your case.

Wallin & Klarich has offices in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Tustin, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville. We can help you no matter where you work or live.

Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will get through this together.


1. [PC § 311.4(d).]
2. [PC § 311.11(a).]
3. [PC § 290(c).] 

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