In Texas, the term “pornography” applies to “any visual or written material that depicts lewd or sexual acts and is intended to cause sexual arousal.” This includes photos, drawings, paintings, films, websites, etc. that show or describes sexual acts intended to be sexually arousing or gratifying to the viewer.
Pornography is entirely legal, so long as it does not depict a minor and is not deemed to be “obscene.” Although the restriction applying to pornography involving minors is straightforward, the limitation on obscenity muddies the legal waters. In a 1957 decision, the United States Supreme Court, while upholding the right to create, possess, or access pornography, clearly defined “obscenity.”
Obscenity is material that much of society would consider disgusting, immoral, or foul, and which, according to a Supreme Court ruling has “utterly no redeeming social importance.” But these definitions are vague and subjective and have given rise to a number of cases before the Supreme Court, none of which has successfully defined what is meant by the word. However, the following characteristics of the material in question can be considered as a guideline to determining whether something is obscene:
The Texas statute fails to provide a clear definition of what is obscene and what is not. In Texas, obscenity is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail, unless it involves a performance by a minor, which elevates it to a third-degree felony, punishable by two and 10 years in prison, and/or up to a $10,000 fine.
In Texas, to legally look at or buy pornography, you:
Additionally, municipalities may restrict the sale of pornography in certain locations. Undercover police officers will often visit licensed “adult” businesses to ensure that the law is being followed, IDs are being checked, and minors are being excluded from watching or purchasing their wares.
There are various legal defenses available to Texas pornography charges, depending on the nature of the charge and the circumstances surrounding it. This is something that you should discuss with an experienced sex crimes attorney. The Houston pornography and obscenity defense attorneys of the firm of Mary E. Conn Law in Houston are highly competent in defending clients against these potentially life-changing charges.
Mary E. Conn has more than 30 years of experience in defending the accused and has earned the highest possible ratings from clients and others in the legal community. At Mary E. Conn Law, you will receive quality legal representation, be treated with courtesy and respect, and be kept up-to-date on the status of your case at all times. You may be able to avoid the harsh penalties and sexual offender registry requirements that come with a conviction by calling Mary E. Conn Law today for your free consultation.