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  • Writer's picturePeter Lindstrom, Esq.

A Used Computer and How False Accusations of Child Pornography can happen in Minnesota

As a criminal defense attorney, I encounter situations that highlight the complexities of modern technology and the legal ramifications that can arise from it. One such scenario where problems can emerge is if you purchase a used electronic device, such as a used computer. And that device then having child pornography on the device. You shouldn’t be charged for something that’s not your fault, but law enforcement doesn’t always see it that way. This issue is especially critical in Minnesota, where the laws surrounding such allegations are stringent and require a careful approach in defense.

Used Electronic Device Purchases

In today's digital age, purchasing a used computer or any second-hand electronic device has become a common practice. Many people seek affordable options in the market, unaware of the potential risks that may come with it. The peril arises when these devices contain remnants of previous data, files, or illegal content, which could subject the new owner to serious legal repercussions.

Child Pornography Charges

Minnesota, like many other states, considers the possession or distribution of child pornography a grave offense. The law is designed to protect minors and prosecute those involved in the creation, possession, or distribution of illicit materials involving children. However, the legal landscape becomes complicated when someone unintentionally acquires such materials through a used computer without their knowledge or consent.

Even if You Received it Without the Images, Deleted Files May Trip You Up

Imagine purchasing a used computer from an online marketplace or a local store, believing it to be a good deal or a cost-effective solution for your needs. Unbeknownst to you, the previous owner may have used that device to access or store illegal content, including child pornography. Despite performing a factory reset or deleting visible files, traces of such material could remain hidden in the device's hard drive or storage.

Seizure of Your Electronics

In some cases, law enforcement may seize the computer during an unrelated investigation or raid and discover illicit content on it. Subsequently, the innocent purchaser of the device could find themselves facing accusations and charges related to possessing child pornography, even though they had no knowledge or intent to access such materials.

Strategies to Defend Against the Charges

Defending against these allegations requires a thorough understanding of digital forensics, computer technology, and the complexities of Minnesota's legal system. As a defense attorney, my role is to diligently investigate the circumstances surrounding the acquisition of the computer. This involves scrutinizing the evidence, and helping to strategize the best defense for you. This may require hiring an expert. This may require hiring a private investigator to follow leads for alternative perpetrators. Every case is different. But you want a skilled criminal defense attorney to be the one defending you.


The convergence of technology and the law presents unique challenges, especially concerning the possession of illicit content on used electronic devices. As a criminal defense attorney, I create robust defenses against unjust allegations. The complexities of these cases and the seriousness of the charges create a difficult challenge regardless of how innocent you may be. If you are facing child porn charges in Minnesota, you likely don’t want a lawyer who primarily does DWI defense. You want someone who knows how to defend child porn cases. I have been trained at the nations best seminar on defending sex crime cases, which included training on defending child porn charges. There are defenses and strategies that are unique to child porn cases that many criminal defense attorneys are not aware of unless they’ve been trained. If charged with child porn, you want an attorney proficient in defending those charges.

Contact Subzero Criminal Defense and I may be able to start working on your case as soon as today. 651-248-5142. Subzero Criminal Defense provides a defense with intelligence, creativity, and grit.


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