January 20, 2023 By WK Law

While most people know that child pornography is illegal, many are unaware that certain pornography involving adults can be unlawful as well. This occurs when pornography is deemed to constitute “obscene matter” under California Penal Code Section 311. Continue reading to learn when possession of adult pornography can be considered a crime. 

Definition of Obscene Matter (PC Section 311) 

Sex Crimes Defense Attorney, Orange County

According to PC Section 311, “obscene matter” is defined as matter that, to the average person under contemporary standards, appeals to the prurient interest and depicts or describes sexual conduct in an offensive way that lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value. In other words, matter that portrays offensive sexual conduct and arouses an unwholesome sexual interest is illegal to possess. “Matter” can include printed or written materials, photographs, videos, drawings, recordings, and many other forms of media. While obscene matter is most often applied to child pornography, some pornography involving adults can be considered obscene as well if it meets the elements above. 

Possession of Obscene Matter (PC Sections 311.2 and 311.5) 

PC Section 311.2 makes it a crime to possess obscene matter. Specifically, the statute states that every person who possesses, prepares, publishes, produces, or prints any obscene matter with intent to distribute or exhibit to others is guilty of a misdemeanor. Additionally, PC Section 311.5 states that every person who in any manner promotes the sale, distribution, or exhibition of obscene matter is guilty of a misdemeanor. This means that if you write or create promotional material for obscene matter, you may still be charged. 

Penalties for Possession of Obscene Matter (PC Section 311.9) 

In California, the possession of obscene matter is a serious offense that carries harsh penalties. PC Section 311.9 details the punishments if you are found guilty of violating PC Sections 311.2 or 311.5: 

  • $1,000 plus $5 for each additional unit of unlawful material, up to a total of $10,000 
  • 6 months in county jail plus 1 day for each additional unit of unlawful material, up to a total of 360 days 

Furthermore, if you have been previously convicted of a violation of PC Section 311.2, the court may impose an additional fine of up to $50,000. 

Contact Wallin & Klarich Today 

If you have been accused of possessing or distributing obscene matter, contact Wallin & Klarich today to see how we can help. With 40+ years of experience, our attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have helped thousands of clients clear their names and regain their freedom. We understand that sex crimes can carry a heavy stigma, but we guarantee a comfortable, judgment-free environment to speak openly and honestly about your case. We will do everything in our power to achieve the best results for you. 

With offices in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Victorville, Torrance, West Covina, Los Angeles, and San Diego, you are sure to find an available Wallin and Klarich office near you. Discover how our team can assist you. Contact us today, toll-free at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free consultation with a skilled defense attorney.

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