Obscene Materials & Performance in PA | Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys

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Accused of  Obscene Materials or Performance in PA?

Owners of adult video and bookstores continually run the risk of obscene materials charges. If law enforcement cracks down, they will not only face criminal prosecution but can also even lose the business they have worked hard to build.

If you are the target of an effort to rid a community of obscene materials and you are arrested, you will need an attorney who can stand up to inflexible prosecutors. The sex crime defense lawyers at Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC, are ready to help.

To learn more about Pennsylvania obscene materials or performance charges and how our lawyers can help, call (412) 281-2146 to schedule your free consultation.

Statewide Representation for Sex Offenses

Based in Pittsburgh, Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys offer comprehensive and aggressive legal representation for those accused of sex offenses throughout the Commonwealth.

332 Fifth Avenue, 1st Floor,
Pittsburgh, PA 15222-2437


Pennsylvania’s Obscene Materials & Performance Laws

“Obscenity” is a broad term. Photos, videos, art, magazines, shows, or movies that are “excessively offensive” can be considered obscene. In Pennsylvania, any material deemed obscene is not to be sold, transferred, distributed, or loaned to another person.

The First Amendment protects US citizens in their expression of free speech but does not provide protections for “harmful” content or messaging. That means obscene materials or expressions are not protected.

What Does Pennsylvania Consider Obscene?

Obscenity can be subjective: what offends one person may not offend another. Pennsylvania law defines obscene materials and performances in 18 Pa. Code § 5903.

Materials or performances might be considered obscene if they have all of the following:

  • They describe or show sexual acts in an offensive way.
  • The average person would consider the material lewd or vulgar or being of a “prurient” manner.
  • The material or show doesn’t offer any literary, artistic, scientific, or political value.

Materials are weighed by community standards, which can be loosely defined. Because questions of how value, offense, or standards are applied to these kinds of sexual offenses, these matters can become complicated quickly.

Our obscene materials and performance defense lawyers are ready to help you explore your defense options.

What Are Obscene Materials or Performances in Pennsylvania?

In Pennsylvania, it is illegal for an individual who knows the obscene character of the materials or performance involved to:

  • Display or permit the display of explicit sexual materials in windows, newsstands, showcases, display racks, billboards, movie screens or similar places where they are visible from public streets or any other public thoroughfares or in businesses, where the public, including those under 18, can see them.
  • Sell, lend, distribute, transmit, exhibit, give away, or show obscene materials to someone 18 or older, or offer to do so.
  • Write, print, publish, utter, or cause to be written printed, published or uttered, how obscene materials can be purchased or obtained.
  • Design, copy, draw, photograph, print, utter, publish, or manufacture any obscene materials.
  • Write, print, publish, utter, or cause to be written, printed, published, or uttered any advertisement or notice of where, how, and from whom obscene materials can be purchased or obtained.
  • Produce, present, or direct any obscene performance or participate in a portion of one.
  • Hire, employ, use, or permit a minor to participate in displaying, creating, or selling obscene materials.
  • Knowingly take or deliver obscene materials to any correctional facility, or permit them to enter if you are an employee.
  • Disseminate explicit sexual material as unsolicited ads via electronic communication, such as over the Internet, without including “ADV-ADULT” at the beginning of the subject line.
  • Knowingly sell or loan explicit sexual materials to a minor.
  • Knowingly sell an admission ticket to a minor for a movie or performance which includes nudity, sexual conduct, or sadomasochistic abuse and/or is harmful to minors unless they are accompanied by a parent.

These laws are extremely complicated. Even if they’re rarely charged, you could face extremely steep consequences. Call the obscene materials and performances defense attorneys at Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Lawyers.

We can explain your charges, potential outcomes, and how we’ll help you build your defense.

 Penalties For Obscene Materials

Obscene materials are criminally prosecuted. You can be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor or a felony of the third degree, depending on the circumstances.

You risk going to jail or paying steep fines, and you must register as a sex offender for either 10 or 25 years, depending on the severity of the offense. Your business may suffer. You may be in jeopardy of having to go out of business.

Attorney Matthew Ness Will Listen & Fight for You

As a defense attorney, Matthew Ness believes that the rights of people accused of crimes are worth upholding and fighting for. He does that every day as a trial defense lawyer. Matthew upholds his clients’ rights to fair and speedy trials, just punishment, and not having rights violated. He’s ready to help you in your sex crimes case. He understands what’s at stake.

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What to Do About Obscene Materials or Performances Charges in PA?

If you have been charged with an obscene materials offense, you should speak to an attorney about the nature of the offense and learn what consequences you face. Do not agree to let the police search your computer, business, or home without a warrant.

Don’t talk to the police or prosecutors unless your attorney is with you.

When you meet with your sex crimes defense attorney, give them as much information as you can. Your attorney will probably try to determine if the materials were actually obscene as defined in the law.

Why Choose Worgul, Sarna & Ness?

Our attorneys bring a wealth of experience and prior success in assisting people avoid convictions of obscene materials by aggressively defending them against sexual offense allegations.

Our Pennsylvania sex crime defense law firm is recognized for:

  • Skill & Impressive Results in Sex Offense Cases
  • Exhaustive Independent Investigations & Tailored Strategies
  • Client-Focused Representation & Comprehensive Advocacy
  • Statewide Availability & Ongoing Legal Support

Client Reviews

Absolutely amazing, substantially better results than what I thought, very aggressive in defending people, would 110% recommend these guys every time!


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Notable Case Results

Acquittal for Client Charged With Multiple Sex Crimes

When an Allegheny County man was falsely accused of raping his minor daughter, he trusted the accomplished sex crimes defense attorneys at Worgul, Sarna & Ness, LLC to protect his reputation.

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Contact a Pennsylvania Sex Crimes Lawyer

Your rights are at stake and you need the best defense to keep them. I will fight using the strongest defense available to get your Obscene Materials charge reduced or dismissed so you can move on with your life.

Don’t wait to protect yourself, your reputation, and your future. Call (412) 281-2146 or submit a request 24/7 for a free consultation. An experienced sex crimes defense lawyer will explain your options and what to expect in your case.