Obscenity refers to anything morally offensive. One example of morally offensive material is child pornography. Obscenity is prohibited by both federal and state law. For example, Texas has a law against obscenity called obscene display or distribution.
What Is Obscene Display or Distribution in Texas?
Obscene display or distribution refers to knowingly or intentionally distributing or displaying:
- An obscene drawing
- An obscene photograph
- Any other visual representation of obscenity
- Other obscene material
The person is then reckless about whether another individual will be alarmed or offended by the material.
What If I Did Not Mean to Display Obscene Material?
A person charged with displaying obscene material does not need intend that the material be interpreted as obscene. Rather, they only need to be reckless in showing the material. Criminal recklessness refers to what a person knew at the time of the crime. A person is reckless when they knew or should have known their conduct would cause alarm, harm, or be offensive.
What Is the Definition of “Obscene” in Texas Law?
In Texas, the term “obscene” refers to either performance or material that lacks artistic, literary, scientific, or political value and:
- An individual, applying the standards of a contemporary community, would find offensive
- Describes or depicts a normal or perverted act or simulated sexual act that is perceived offensive, such as sexual intercourse or sexual bestiality
- Offensive descriptions or representations of genitals, masturbation, sadism, sexual stimulation
What Is the Punishment for Distributing or Displaying Obscene Material in Texas?
Distributing or displaying obscene material is a Class C misdemeanor. If convicted, a person faces the criminal sentence of a $500 fine.
Do I Need a Lawyer to Represent Me?
The assistance of a lawyer is essential when faced with a criminal charge related to obscene materials. Contact a Texas criminal lawyer to understand more about your legal rights. Your lawyer will also represent you at trial and/or negotiated plea.