Obscene Materials


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If you own an adult bookstore or adult video store, you run risks every business day. A law enforcement officer with an over zealous attitude or one who is under community pressure, can enforce the obscene and other sexual materials and performances law, and work with a prosecutor to get an injunction against you.

You can be criminally prosecuted and, ultimately, charged with a first degree misdemeanor or even a felony of the third degree. You will face years in prison and a severe business setback. You need a strong defense to combat these charges.

What You Need To Know About Obscene Materials And Performances

It is against the law in Pennsylvania to knowingly:

  • Display or permit the display of explicit sexual materials in windows, newsstands, display racks, billboards, movie screens or similar places where they are visible from public streets and the public, including minors, can see them.
  • Sell or loan explicit sexual materials to a minor.
  • Sell, lend, distribute, transmit, exhibit, give away or show obscene materials someone 18 years 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.
  • Sell a ticket to, or admit a minor to, a show, movie or performance with nudity, sexual conduct or sadomasochistic abuse, unless they are accompanied by a parent.
  • Hire or permit a minor to participate in creating or selling obscene materials.
  • Take or deliver obscene materials to any correctional facility, or permit them to enter if you are an employee.
  • Disseminate unsolicited ads for explicit sexual material via electronic communication such as email.
  • Advertise explicit materials via electronic communication without including “ADV-ADULT” at the beginning of the ad’s subject line.

What To Do If You Are Charged

If you are charged with an obscene materials and performances offense, do not anger the arresting officer unnecessarily. At this stage, do not discuss what happened with the police or assert your innocence.

  • As with most criminal charges, you should not talk to the police or prosecutors without your attorney by your side. What you say can be taken out of context and used against you.
  • If the police question you, tell them you want a lawyer and politely refuse to answer their questions.

What Your Lawyer Can Do

Your attorney will carefully review every aspect of your case to determine if there is evidence for all you have been accused of.

  • Your attorney will investigate very closely to see if there is any evidence that will prove your claims.
  • Your lawyer will make every effort to discredit any evidence against you.
  • Your lawyer will try to determine if the material involved was truly obscene.

Your lawyer will be looking at every avenue that can help you, so it’s important that you give them all of the information that can support your case.

How A Lawyer Will Help

When you are up against an obscene materials and performances charge, even before your first hearing you will be facing both a determined prosecutor and community condemnation. You need an attorney who will stand by you every step of the way, work hard to discredit any evidence – and help you determine your best course of action.

Pennsylvania Obscene Materials and Performances Law

Obscene materials and performances are described and defined under The Pennsylvania Criminal Code under Title 18, Chapter 31. Read the code here.

Questions? Contact us today.

Based on the evidence, Fienman Defense will try to show that the charges should be dismissed. If it’s in your best interest, we will work to negotiate a lesser sentence. Should the case go to trial, we will fight to present the strongest defense possible for your situation.