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, they can 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.
What Are Obscene Materials?
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 a 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.
The law around obscene materials is extremely complicated and rarely charged. However, if you have been charged with this offense, please give me a call at your earliest convenience and I can address the legal nuts and bolts for you.
Penalties for Obscene Materials
Obscene materials are criminally prosecuted and 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 and you may be in jeopardy of having to go out of business.
Steps To Take If You Have Been Charged
If you have been charged with an obscene materials offense, your should speak to an attorney about the nature of the offense and learn what consequences you face with regard to the offense. 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.