This is a really serious charge if one occurs. The penalty can be severe depending on the facts and the specfic charges, if filed. I suggest you contact an attorney expereinced in this field right away.
Any response given is not to be taken as legal advice or to create an attorney client relationship.
When you say messages, do you mean pictures? If so, then that is having pictures in possession. When the police find them, they will download them for the prosecution.
Depending on the age of your friend, it is quite possible that if the officers found the photographs, then they may turn the phone over to the feds. If so, your friend may be facing a long time in prison, possibly in excess of 10 years.
The response above is not intended as legal advice since it’s impracticable to provide thorough, accurate advice based upon the query without additional details. It is highly recommended that one should seek advice from a criminal defense attorney licensed in your jurisdiction by setting up a confidential meeting. Moreover, this response does not constitute the creation of an attorney-client relationship since this message is not a confidential communication because it was posted on a public website, thereby publicly disclosing the information, which is another reason to setup a confidential meeting with an attorney.
Child porn is a crime dujour. Federal, State and local law enforcement have created task forces that focus on the possession, distribution and production of child pornography.
Depending on whether the charges are federal or state the sentence can range from probation, to mandatory minimums of 5, 10 & 20years in prison, to life in prison.
Only experienced attorneys who have practiced in this area should be used.
My firm has been representing persons accused of child porn for several decades. An understanding of the Internet, cell phones and the use of experts in these areas is essential.
Of course, every answer is based on the question asked and requires a more complete context. This answer should not be relied upon to make a legal decision. Seek the advice of an experienced criminal defense attorney before acting. Law Offices of Raymond G. Wigell, Ltd. Defenders of the Constitution since 1975/ Aggressive Creative Defense Strategies/ Website: www.waaltd.com 24/7 --(708) 481-4800.
Your friend is facing the possibility of being charged with a Class 1, non-probationable offense. Your friend needs to retain counsel as soon as possible and refrain from discussing this matter with you or anyone else other than his attorney.
There are several other charges that can be filed, but many prosecutors will charge the Class 1 offense aforesaid, as it provides significant leverage in negotiations considering that an unsuccessful result at trial will result in mandatory time in the Department of Corrections.
There are many defenses available to your friend, but it is essential he meet with an attorney soon as possible. Having handled these cases, there is even the likelihood of success at the preliminary hearing stage. Your friend, no matter who is attorney, should not waive his right to a preliminary hearing. Your friend will want to make all information available to his attorney and be well prepared for each consultation.
This response is being provided for information purposes only and does not constitute an attorney client relationship. Furthermore, I am only licensed to practice law in the State of Illinois. While there are oftentimes similarities between States' laws, there can also be large differences. You should not rely on this response as legal advice and are highly encouraged to speak to an attorney licensed in your State for an accurate legal answer.