Accused of Possessing Indecent Images – What To Do
DPP Law’s team of professionals have many years of supporting and guiding individuals who have been accused of possessing indecent images. It can be an incredibly distressing time for anyone facing such a serious accusation, as it is seen as a serious offence in the courts.
To help ease your anxiety, it’s important to know what kind of legal process may await you so you can be better prepared. We’re breaking down all the key information that anyone who has been accused of possessing indecent images and wants to prove his or her innocence or minimise the sentence if they plead or are found guilty, including:
- What are indecent images?
- What are the categories of indecent images?
- What does making indecent images mean?
- What happens in an investigation for the possession of indecent images?
- What is the possession of indecent sentencing guidelines?
- How can you defend an accusation of possessing indecent images?
- Does a conviction of possession of indecent images stay on a criminal record?
- What should you do if you’re charged with possession of indecent images?
- How can DPP Law’s solicitors help?
What are Indecent Images?
Indecent Images refer to a sexual image of a child under the age of 18 with or without their consent. The definition includes partially clothed children and also images taken by a child or by an adult where the content is sexual in nature. Also covered by the Act are images depicting extreme pornography and sexual acts with animals. Making an indecent image is considered more serious than possession with distribution of indecent images ranking between the two.
Receiving an indecent image via social media or by email even without your consent is also an offence for which you can be prosecuted. It is therefore important to seek advice as to the course of action to take.
What are the Categories of Indecent Images?
This grading system is used to categorise indecent images as either an A, B or C image. This will change depending on whether it’s a photo or a video, along with the nature of the content:
- Category A: Penetration and sexual activity, or sadistic activity
- Category B: Non-penetrative sexual activity
- Category C: Sexually suggestive content
These categories were recently introduced into the legal system, however, the processes, sentencing and defence structures are the same. These categorisations can be used when building a defence to clarify details that may have gone by the wayside.
What Does ‘making’ Indecent Images Mean?
Making an indecent image doesn’t just have to be through a direct source. Making an indecent image can include simply downloading an attachment from an email without even knowing what the contents were.
It can even be extended to opening an image, printing off an image or storing an image on a hard drive on a computer.
What Happens in An Investigation for The Possession of Indecent Images?
An investigation for the possession of indecent images can be a drawn-out process. Having expert legal support is essential to securing the best result possible. You’ll usually find out there’s an allegation and an investigation by being invited to a police station for an interview.
Right from the moment of an allegation, the Police will be working to prove that you knowingly had possession of indecent images, along with the control of the device they were found on. DPP Law’s team of experts are well equipped with knowledge and experience to guide you through this process.
At this point, the Police will be working to get a warrant for a seizure of any electronic devices that they believe to be where indecent images are being stored to examine them for evidence.
When attending a Police interview you will be given the option of being represented by the Duty solicitor, requesting a solicitor of your own choice or not having anyone to represent you. Choosing a solicitor who fully understands the consequences of being charged with a very serious offence of Making, Distributing or Possessing an indecent image is your right and is free of charge.
What are the Possession of Indecent Images Sentencing Guidelines?
The possession of indecent images sentencing guidelines vary depending on the type of image and whether or not you produced it, distributed it or are found to be in ownership of it.
These images are also categorised as either a category A, B or C. Courts will use these definitions and categories to determine what type of likely sentence a person will face if they’re found to be guilty.
- Production of a category A image ranges from 4 – 9 years imprisonment, Distribution is 2 – 5 years imprisonment and Possession is 26 weeks to 2 years imprisonment.
- Production of a category B image ranges from 1 – 4 years imprisonment, Distribution is 26 weeks – 2 years imprisonment and Possession is a High Level Community Order to 18 months imprisonment
- Production of a category C image begins at 1 – 3 years imprisonment, Distribution a High Level Community Order to 26 weeks imprisonment and Possession is a High Level Community Order to 26 weeks imprisonment
These sentences can be harsher or lighter depending on the nature of the crime, whether or not a defendant pleads guilty or not guilty and any other mitigating circumstances.
The category and whether or not the image was produced, distributed or owned will also be a deciding factor in which court the case will be handled in. A Magistrates Court can only hand out a maximum of 52 weeks of a prison sentence per offence, so higher categories of images and types of handling will be handled by Crown Courts instead where a maximum prison sentence is much higher.
It’s important to remember that if the defendant shows remorse along with a commitment and keen interest in rehabilitation and accessing mental health support, the sentence can be lowered.
How Can You Defend an Accusation of Possessing Indecent Images?
You can defend an accusation of possessing indecent images however, the law and guidance surrounding these types of crimes are complex and need an expert to handle them.
The first thing our team of experts would recommend doing is contacting them to support you. Having our help will give you access to years of expertise that is vital to building a defence strategy that can navigate the complexities of the allegation whilst giving you the best possible outcome.
We will ensure that you have the best possible advice and system to rely on throughout the investigation and beyond, helping to mitigate any potential impact and be supported throughout the entire process, and a competent lawyer will ensure that you get the best possible outcome.
Does a Conviction of Possession of Indecent Images Stay on a Criminal Record?
If you are convicted of possessing indecent images, this will be recorded on your criminal record and will stay on the record for a period that correlates with the severity of the crime and overall sentence.
Alongside this, your name will be added to the sex offenders register.
What Should You Do if you are Charged with Possession of Indecent Images?
If you’ve been charged with possession of indecent images, DPP Law recommends seeking specialist legal assistance at the earliest possible opportunity. This can make the biggest difference to the outcome of your case and will increase your chances of building an effective defence.
With indecent image offences, there is a significant difference between cooperating with a police investigation and jeopardising a defence case. Our legal assistance will assess every last detail, ensuring that no piece of information is overlooked and all avenues are explored.
Using our expertise can help you to reduce the damage to your private life sustained by these kinds of accusations, and at DPP Law we will draw on our years of experience. That way you can be assured that the years of wisdom behind our decisions and actions throughout the process are expertly coordinated.
How Can DPP Law’s Sexual Offence Solicitors Help?
DPP Law’s team of experts have over three decades of experience handling sensitive, complex, and serious cases involving proving the innocence of people accused of possessing indecent images.
Facing this type of offence charge is extremely distressing due to the lifelong impact of the potential outcome, so having the experts handling it will make life much easier and will improve the overall case outcome.
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Speak To An Expert At DPP Law Today
Get in touch with DPP Law’s expert team of solicitors to make the process smoother. They can provide you with all the information you might need about sexual offences and indecent images, and work with you to provide you with the best defence.