Can Using the Dark Web Lead to Internet Sex Crime Charges? Know the Risks

May 20, 2024

The dark web is a hidden part of the Internet that the majority of Internet users do not think about or engage with, with the standard activities happening there varying greatly from that of the mainstream Internet. If you are engaging in the use of the dark web and have been charged with Internet sex crimes, it’s critical to work with an experienced sex crimes attorney who can help you protect your rights.

Many dark web users engage with such sites without the intention to engage in illegal activity. However, with these sites lacking oversight and regulation, users can be implicated in crimes, such as Internet sex crimes that they did not intend to commit. Understanding whether it is illegal to use the dark web, how its use can be linked to Internet sex crime charges, and what the risks are is critical for all users of the dark web, as well as those currently facing charges.

What Is the Dark Web?

The dark web is similar to the Internet, which people normally use on a day-to-day basis. Such networks use the Internet to operate but require certain software or other avenues to access it. Common search engines such as Google and Bing do not index material on the dark web, so it cannot be accessed through popular search engines. Using the dark web requires more Internet knowledge than usual, as it is a complex process.

A wide range of illegal activities take place through the dark web, such as Internet sex crimes, illegal drug dealing, and other criminal activities. However, not all of the activities that take place on the dark web are illegal. The dark web is full of normal chat rooms and can also be a safe and anonymous place for a journalist to break a story.

So, Is Being on the Dark Web Illegal?

No, it is not illegal to use the dark web as long as you are not using it to engage in illegal activities. Although the dark web is usually associated with illegal activity, such as black markets, there are perfectly safe and legal services and platforms that can be engaged with on the dark web. However, engaging in illegal activities on the dark web can result in investigations, charges, and penalties from the justice system.

Accessing the Dark Web and Internet Sex Crime Charges

Any form of sexual exploitation or abuse that takes place online is illegal, and this is also true for activities on the dark web. Examples of such activities include grooming minors online, purchasing, viewing, and distributing child pornography, and soliciting people under the age of 18 for sexual activities.

Furthermore, it can oftentimes be possible that you accidentally engage in criminal activity when accessing the dark web without your knowledge or intent. As such sites are less regulated, you could be misled to think that a certain site is for one purpose but have child pornography unknowingly downloaded to your computer.

If you are under investigation for Internet sex crime charges, it is generally advisable to stay off of the dark net, as further actions could unknowingly incriminate you further. If the evidence being held against you was obtained due to your activities on the dark web, it’s important to work with an experienced and tech-savvy lawyer who understands these complex online networks.


Q: What Is the Most Common Crime on the Dark Web?

A: The most common crimes on the dark web involve the illicit drug trade, with the most commonly sold drug being marijuana and pharmaceutical drugs being the second most common illicit drug sold. There are also “multiple-category” marketplaces on the dark web where users can buy a range of illegal products and services, ranging from sexual favors to personal identity information lists.

Q: Can You Get in Trouble for Looking at Things on the Dark Web?

A: You can face criminal investigations and charges if you are looking at certain things on the dark web. However, if the content that you are accessing is legal and legitimate, then you should not have any problems. Activities such as viewing child pornography, using illegal drug marketplaces, and being active on hacking forums can get you into trouble.

If you have been implicated in a crime on the dark web and are facing charges or an investigation, it’s critical to get in touch with a criminal defense lawyer.

Q: What Is the Difference Between the Dark Web and the Deep Web?

A: The dark web and the deep web are two different concepts. The deep web is all webpages and associated data that are not indexed by mainstream search engines such as Google and Yahoo, which can include content that exists behind paywalls, company intranets, and certain password-protected sites. The dark web is a part of the deep web that is hidden and inaccessible through conventional means on purpose so that criminal activities can be carried out without tracing.

Q: What Are the Risks of the Dark Web?

A: It’s important to note that the vast majority of dark web listings are related in some way to criminal activity, with illegal marketplaces growing rapidly and roughly a third of marketplace purchases leading to illegal activity.

Therefore, even if you are using the dark web without the intent of engaging in illegal activity, you could easily be implicated in certain crimes without your knowledge. As a result, you can face criminal investigations and charges, as well as criminal penalties such as prison time and fines.

Work With a Competent Internet Sex Crimes Criminal Defense Attorney

Facing criminal investigations or charges for Internet sex crimes can be overwhelming and disappointing. In some cases, you may feel hopeless going up against the large investigatory bodies of the U.S. state and federal governments. However, you have legal options you can leverage to protect your rights, defend your innocence, and challenge the charges against you.

An empathetic Internet sex crimes attorney from Johnson/Citronberg, PLLC, is here to listen to your story, gather case details, and build up a strong defense strategy. Don’t hesitate to start fighting back against your charges. Get in touch with a compassionate team member from our law firm today.

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