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Do investigators have a right to conduct a remote search of my computer?

Because of the nature of the Internet, it is not uncommon for law enforcement from multiple jurisdictions to participate in online investigations. When the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, or an Internet Crimes Against Children task force gets involved, then the person suspected of a crime could face federal charges.

In fact, state and federal investigators have ways of accessing your computer from remote locations without your knowledge, though the legality of a computer search may be challenged by a criminal defense lawyer. Often the key to fighting an Internet crime charge is to successfully challenge the legality of the search in order to keep evidence out of court.

Many Missouri residents use peer-to-peer file-sharing sites to download and upload files, but there is a risk that the user doesn't always have control over what is downloaded to his or her computer. If you are accused of downloading illegal materials, regardless of whether you intended to or not, then you should speak with a criminal defense attorney with experience in this complex area of law.

The law affords you a reasonable expectation of privacy, and sometimes police violate people's right to privacy by conducting illegal computer searches. Charges related to child pornography often result from searches conducted remotely by police.

Authorities may also pose as minors in online chat rooms in order to investigate possible sex crimes involving children. Being convicted of such an offense could lead to years in jail and lifelong registration as a sex offender, and anyone facing a sex crime charge should speak with a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.

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