While simply searching for something on the internet is not likely to get you arrested, there are certain search terms that could trigger investigation by law enforcement. Owners of websites that host illegal content as well as those who post and view the content online may be liable.
Some things that can get you arrested while searching on the internet include viewing child pornography, looking up terrorism-related terms, and searches that show intent to commit a crime.
It Is Illegal to Create, Possess, and Distribute Child Pornography
Under both federal and state law, it is illegal to create, possess, or distribute child pornography. Viewing child porn on the internet may be enough to constitute possession if the viewer had the requisite intent or knowledge to possess the image or video.
If you accidentally stumble across illegal content, you will likely not get arrested if you possessed less than three illegal depictions and promptly took steps to destroy them or report the website to a law enforcement agency. However, if you continue to interact with or visit the website, your actions may then be construed as intentional and you may be charged with a crime.
A record of the websites you visit is typically stored on your computer, in your browser, your browsing history, your router and modem, and your ISP. These records can be seized by the police and used as evidence that you did indeed visit the website at issue. Creating, possessing, and distributing child pornography are considered serious crimes in New Jersey and those convicted can face imprisonment and steep fines. If you are under investigation or facing charges, contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible.
Illegal Search Terms
If you search for certain terms it could send red flags to cybersecurity investigators. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has transformed since the 9/11 attacks; it is now better equipped to handle terrorist threats and other cybercrimes. Even seemingly innocent searches can lead to an investigation under certain circumstances.
Intent to Commit a Crime
There are places on the internet where someone can contract for illegal activity. The dark web is rife with the type of criminal activity that the FBI considers top priority.
Therefore, if you search for illegal activity, you may end up getting questioned by law enforcement and ultimately arrested, depending on the circumstances of your case. It is best to avoid searching for anything that could potentially lead to you getting arrested, such as searches related to child pornography, terrorism, or contracting for crimes. If you are questioned by your internet searches, it is beneficial to seek immediate legal counsel.
South Jersey Child Pornography Defense Lawyers at Aita Law, LLC Will Defend Your Legal Rights
If you are being investigated or you have been charged with a computer crime that involves the sexual exploitation of minors, contact one of our South Jersey child pornography defense lawyers at Aita Law, LLC. Our experienced attorneys can help explain your charges, evaluate your case, and plan a defense strategy. For a free consultation, contact us online or call us at 856-287-7800. Located in Haddonfield and Marlton, New Jersey, we represent clients throughout South Jersey, including Camden County and Cherry Hill.