Obtaining indecent material involving children over the Internet is considered a serious crime throughout the country. The proliferation of social media websites and other Internet tools can make it easier for some to obtain these materials. When a court finds that a criminal offense has occurred, a resulting Internet crimes conviction can expose the individual to many years of incarceration.
Recently, a Louisiana man from Natchitoches pleaded guilty in Alexandria to a federal crime that included obtaining child pornography over the Internet. A sentence enhancement due to prior convictions means the individual will be sentenced to anywhere between 15 and 40 years, together with a fine up to $250,000. After receiving and accepting the man's guilty plea, the court set a sentencing date of Aug. 7.
Though the accused man in this case chose to plead guilty to the Internet crimes charges against him, he did have the right to present a full and complete defense. This defense would have included the right to confront the witnesses presented and to assert evidence contrary to that offered by prosecutors. The burden of proof in cases similar to this is solely the duty of the prosecution and must be by a measure deemed to be beyond a reasonable doubt.
For some, however, a plea deal can have a better outcome than going to trial. If the evidence against a person is compelling, and there is a good chance he or she will be convicted, a plea bargain sometimes allows a person and his or her attorney to negotiate a lesser sentence than might be handed down through a trial conviction. No matter how you choose to handle your case, understanding your rights and options is the first step toward protecting your freedom.
Source: Shreveport Times, "Natchitoches man admits to child porn," Vickie Welborn, April 26, 2012