Is it Illegal to Watch Pornography in Public?
These days, you have internet access basically everywhere you go. You can explore the web on your laptop, tablet, phone and even your watch. But does that mean you can legally browse any part of the web while out in public? What happens if you give into the temptation to watch pornography in a public place?
For Your Eyes Only
Despite any moral objections another person may have to you watching pornography in a public place, it is not illegal to do so in most cases. If you are using a personal device or a publicly provided computer such as one at a library or internet café, you can legally view pornography.
In fact, many libraries throughout California have taken measures to keep public computer screens hidden from others so as not to offend them. Hoods have been installed over computers so that the screen is not visible to anyone except the person using the computer.
Crimes That Could Stem from Watching Pornography in Public
Although the act of watching pornography in public is not illegal, there may be some instances in which you could be charged with a crime for watching pornography in public.
Under California Penal Code Section 314, you may be guilty of indecent exposure if you masturbate in a public place even if you thought it was a secluded area where no one would see you. This crime could be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. Misdemeanor convictions are punishable by up to 364 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. Felony convictions carry a sentence of up to three years in jail and a $10,000 fine.
It is not illegal for you to watch pornography as long as you are 18 years old or older, but you could be charged with a crime if you show pornography to a minor. Depending on the circumstances of the case, you could be charged with annoying or molesting a child under California Penal Code Section 647.6 or showing harmful material to seduce a minor under California Penal Code Section 288.2(a). These crimes carry harsh consequences.
If the pornography you watched depicted minors, you could be convicted of a crime under California Penal Code Section 311. Possession of child pornography is punishable by up to one year in state prison, but this penalty could be more severe based on the circumstances of your case.
Contact the Sex Crimes Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich
If you or a loved one has been accused of a sex crime, you should contact a skilled and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney immediately. At Wallin & Klarich, our sex crimes defense attorneys have over 35 years of experience successfully defending our clients accused of sex crimes. We’ve helped thousands of people in their time of legal need, and we can help you today.
With offices in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Los Angeles, San Diego, West Covina, Torrance and Victorville, you can find a dedicated Wallin & Klarich attorney no matter where you are.
Call us now at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will be there when you call.
Thanks for your comment. Our article mentions that it is not illegal to view lawful content (including pornography) in public places such as libraries in California. However, in some cities and states, there are ordinances and court rulings that you may be violating by doing so. It is best to know the laws in your area.