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Obscenity Laws – Virginia Federal Criminal Justice System

OBSCENITY LAWS- VIRGINIA FEDERAL CRIMINAL LAWS

In The Federal Criminal Justice System, any activity that includes action involving a communications system such as: the U.S. mail; the Internet; or, a crossing of State lines may be charged as a sex crime.

Virginia Federal Obscenity Laws

Virginia Federal Obscenity Laws

Title 18, United States Code lists Obscenity Crimes as follows:

Chapter 71 – Obscenity:

18 USC § 1460 – Possession of Obscene Matter on Federal Property with Intent to Sell):

Penalty Range: Imprisonment for up to 2 years, and a fine of up to $250,000.00.

This means that anyone (1) in the special maritime and Territorial jurisdiction of the United States, or on any land or building owned by, leased to, or otherwise used by or under the control of the Government of the United States; or (2) in the Indian knowingly sells or possesses with intent to sell an obscene visual depiction (visual depiction” includes undeveloped film and videotape but does not include mere words.

18 USC § 1461 – Mailing Obscene or Crime-Inciting Matter:

Penalty Range: Imprisonment for up to 5 years for a first offense (10 years for second and further offenses), and a fine of up to $250,000.

Every obscene, lewd, lascivious, indecent, filthy or vile article, matter, thing, device, or substance; and—

Every article or thing designed, adapted, or intended for producing abortion, or for any indecent or immoral use; and

Every article, instrument, substance, drug, medicine, or thing which is advertised or described in a manner calculated to lead another to use or apply it for producing abortion, or for any indecent or immoral purpose; and

Every written or printed card, letter, circular, book, pamphlet, advertisement, or notice of any kind giving information, directly or indirectly, where, or how, or from whom, or by what means any of such mentioned matters, articles, or things may be obtained or made, or where or by whom any act or operation of any kind for the procuring or producing of abortion will be done or performed, or how or by what means abortion may be produced, whether sealed or unsealed; and

Every paper, writing, advertisement, or representation that any article, instrument, substance, drug, medicine, or thing may, or can, be used or applied for producing abortion, or for any indecent or immoral purpose; and

Every description calculated to induce or incite a person to so use or apply any such article, instrument, substance, drug, medicine, or thing—

Is declared to be nonmailable matter and shall not be conveyed in the mails or delivered from any post office or by any letter carrier.

Whoever knowingly uses the mails for the mailing, carriage in the mails, or delivery of anything declared by this section or section 3001 (e) of title 39 to be nonmailable, or knowingly causes to be delivered by mail according to the direction thereon, or at the place at which it is directed to be delivered by the person to whom it is addressed, or knowingly takes any such thing from the mails for the purpose of circulating or disposing thereof, or of aiding in the circulation or disposition thereof, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both, for the first such offense, and shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both, for each such offense thereafter.

The term “indecent”, as used in this section includes matter of a character tending to incite arson, murder, or assassination.

18 USC § 1462 – Importation or Transportation of Obscene Matter:

Penalty Range: Imprisonment for up to 5 years for a first offense and 10 years for second and further offenses, and a fine of up to $250,000.

Whoever brings into the United States, or any place subject to the jurisdiction thereof, or knowingly uses any express company or other common carrier or interactive computer service (as defined in section 230(e)(2) [1] of the Communications Act of 1934), for carriage in interstate or foreign commerce—

(a) any obscene, lewd, lascivious, or filthy book, pamphlet, picture, motion-picture film, paper, letter, writing, print, or other matter of indecent character; or

(b) any obscene, lewd, lascivious, or filthy phonograph recording, electrical transcription, or other article or thing capable of producing sound; or

(c) any drug, medicine, article, or thing designed, adapted, or intended for producing abortion, or for any indecent or immoral use; or any written or printed card, letter, circular, book, pamphlet, advertisement, or notice of any kind giving information, directly or indirectly, where, how, or of whom, or by what means any of such mentioned articles, matters, or things may be obtained or made; or

Whoever knowingly takes or receives, from such express company or other common carrier or interactive computer service (as defined in section 230(e)(2) [1] of the Communications Act of 1934) any matter or thing the carriage or importation of which is herein made unlawful—

Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both, for the first such offense and shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both, for each such offense thereafter.

18 USC § 1463 – Mailing Indecent Matter on Wrappers or Envelopes:

Penalty Range: Imprisonment for up to 5 years, and a fine of up to $250,000.

All matter otherwise mailable by law, upon the envelope or outside cover or wrapper of which, and all postal cards upon which, any delineations, epithets, terms, or language of an indecent, lewd, lascivious, or obscene character are written or printed or otherwise impressed or apparent, are nonmailable matter, and shall not be conveyed in the mails nor delivered from any post office nor by any letter carrier, and shall be withdrawn from the mails under such regulations as the Postal Service shall prescribe.

Whoever knowingly deposits for mailing or delivery, anything declared by this section to be nonmailable matter, or knowingly takes the same from the mails for the purpose of circulating or disposing of or aiding in the circulation or disposition of the same, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.

18 USC § 1465 – Transportation of Obscene Matters for Sale or Distribution:

Penalty Range: Imprisonment for up to 5 years, and a fine of up to $250,000.

Whoever knowingly produces with the intent to transport, distribute, or transmit in interstate or foreign commerce, or whoever knowingly transports or travels in, or uses a facility or means of, interstate or foreign commerce or an interactive computer service (as defined in section 230(e)(2) [1] of the Communications Act of 1934) in or affecting such commerce, for the purpose of sale or distribution of any obscene, lewd, lascivious, or filthy book, pamphlet, picture, film, paper, letter, writing, print, silhouette, drawing, figure, image, cast, phonograph recording, electrical transcription or other article capable of producing sound or any other matter of indecent or immoral character, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.

The transportation as aforesaid of two or more copies of any publication or two or more of any article of the character described above, or a combined total of five such publications and articles, shall create a presumption that such publications or articles are intended for sale or distribution, but such presumption shall be rebuttable.

18 USC § 1466 – Engaging in the Business of Selling or Transferring Obscene Matter

Penalty Range: Imprisonment for up to 5 years, and a fine of up to $250,000.

(a) Whoever is engaged in the business of producing with intent to distribute or sell, or selling or transferring obscene matter, who knowingly receives or possesses with intent to distribute any obscene book, magazine, picture, paper, film, videotape, or phonograph or other audio recording, which has been shipped or transported in interstate or foreign commerce, shall be punished by imprisonment for not more than 5 years or by a fine under this title, or both.

(b) As used in this section, the term “engaged in the business” means that the person who produces [1] sells or transfers or offers to sell or transfer obscene matter devotes time, attention, or labor to such activities, as a regular course of trade or business, with the objective of earning a profit, although it is not necessary that the person make a profit or that the production, selling or transferring or offering to sell or transfer such material be the person’s sole or principal business or source of income. The offering for sale of or to transfer, at one time, two or more copies of any obscene publication, or two or more of any obscene article, or a combined total of five or more such publications and articles, shall create a rebuttable presumption that the person so offering them is “engaged in the business” as defined in this subsection.

18 USC § 1466A – Obscene Visual Representation of the Sexual Abuse of Children:

Penalty Range: For production, distribution, or receipt or possession with the intent to distribute: imprisonment for 5 to 20 years for a first offense, for between 15 and 40 years for persons with certain prior offenses, and a fine of up to $250,000; for possession: imprisonment for up to 10 years for a first offense, for between 10 and 20 years for persons with certain prior offenses, and a fine of up to $250,000.

(a) In General.—

Any person who, in a circumstance described in subsection (d), knowingly produces, distributes, receives, or possesses with intent to distribute, a visual depiction of any kind, including a drawing, cartoon, sculpture, or painting, that—

(1)

(A) depicts a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct; and

(B) is obscene; or

(2)

(A) depicts an image that is, or appears to be, of a minor engaging in graphic bestiality, sadistic or masochistic abuse, or sexual intercourse, including genital-genital, oral-genital, anal-genital, or oral-anal, whether between persons of the same or opposite sex; and

(B) lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value;
or attempts or conspires to do so, shall be subject to the penalties provided in section 2252A (b)(1), including the penalties provided for cases involving a prior conviction.

(b) Additional Offenses.—

Any person who, in a circumstance described in subsection (d), knowingly possesses a visual depiction of any kind, including a drawing, cartoon, sculpture, or painting, that—

(1)

(A) depicts a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct; and

(B) is obscene; or

(2)

(A) depicts an image that is, or appears to be, of a minor engaging in graphic bestiality, sadistic or masochistic abuse, or sexual intercourse, including genital-genital, oral-genital, anal-genital, or oral-anal, whether between persons of the same or opposite sex; and

(B) lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value;
or attempts or conspires to do so, shall be subject to the penalties provided in section 2252A (b)(2), including the penalties provided for cases involving a prior conviction.

(c) Nonrequired Element of Offense.—

It is not a required element of any offense under this section that the minor depicted actually exist.

(d) Circumstances.—

The circumstance referred to in subsections (a) and (b) is that—

(1) any communication involved in or made in furtherance of the offense is communicated or transported by the mail, or in interstate or foreign commerce by any means, including by computer, or any means or instrumentality of interstate or foreign commerce is otherwise used in committing or in furtherance of the commission of the offense;

(2) any communication involved in or made in furtherance of the offense contemplates the transmission or transportation of a visual depiction by the mail, or in interstate or foreign commerce by any means, including by computer;

(3) any person travels or is transported in interstate or foreign commerce in the course of the commission or in furtherance of the commission of the offense;

(4) any visual depiction involved in the offense has been mailed, or has been shipped or transported in interstate or foreign commerce by any means, including by computer, or was produced using materials that have been mailed, or that have been shipped or transported in interstate or foreign commerce by any means, including by computer; or

(5) the offense is committed in the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States or in any territory or possession of the United States.

(e) Affirmative Defense.—

It shall be an affirmative defense to a charge of violating subsection (b) that the defendant—

(1) possessed less than 3 such visual depictions; and

(2) promptly and in good faith, and without retaining or allowing any person, other than a law enforcement agency, to access any such visual depiction—

(A) took reasonable steps to destroy each such visual depiction; or

(B) reported the matter to a law enforcement agency and afforded that agency access to each such visual depiction.

(f)Definitions.—

For purposes of this section—

(1) the term “visual depiction” includes undeveloped film and videotape, and data stored on a computer disk or by electronic means which is capable of conversion into a visual image, and also includes any photograph, film, video, picture, digital image or picture, computer image or picture, or computer generated image or picture, whether made or produced by electronic, mechanical, or other means;

(2) the term “sexually explicit conduct” has the meaning given the term in section 2256 (2)(A) or 2256 (2)(B); and

(3) the term “graphic”, when used with respect to a depiction of sexually explicit conduct, means that a viewer can observe any part of the genitals or pubic area of any depicted person or animal during any part of the time that the sexually explicit conduct is being depicted.

18 USC § 1468 – Distributing Obscene Material by Cable or Subscription Television:

Penalty Range: Imprisonment for up to 2 years, and a fine of up to $250,000.

(a) Whoever knowingly utters any obscene language or distributes any obscene matter by means of cable television or subscription services on television, shall be punished by imprisonment for not more than 2 years or by a fine in accordance with this title, or both.

(b) As used in this section, the term “distribute” means to send, transmit, retransmit, telecast, broadcast, or cablecast, including by wire, microwave, or satellite, or to produce or provide material for such distribution.

(c) Nothing in this chapter, or the Cable Communications Policy Act of 1984, or any other provision of Federal law, is intended to interfere with or preempt the power of the States, including political subdivisions thereof, to regulate the uttering of language that is obscene or otherwise unprotected by the Constitution or the distribution of matter that is obscene or otherwise unprotected by the Constitution, of any sort, by means of cable television or subscription services on television.

18 USC § 1470 – Transfer of Obscene Material to Minors (Under 16):

Penalty Range: Imprisonment for up to 10 years, and a fine of up to $250,000.

Whoever, using the mail or any facility or means of interstate or foreign commerce, knowingly transfers obscene matter to another individual who has not attained the age of 16 years, knowing that such other individual has not attained the age of 16 years, or attempts to do so, shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 10 years, or both.

Have you have you been charged, or fear you could be charged with an Obscenity crime in Virginia and need a lawyer to defend you?

Are you concerned about the consequences of being charged in a Federal Sex crime in Virginia?

For a lot of our clients, being charged with a Federal Sex Crime in Virginia can result in the loss of their job, their security clearance or even their immigration status.

Don’t risk going to court without a lawyer, if you have been charged, or fear you may be charged, contact our law firm for help and speak with a lawyer today.

We have client meeting locations in Fairfax, Prince William County, Richmond, Loudon County, Virginia Beach, Fredericksburg, and Lynchburg.

We will do our absolute best to help you through this difficult and stressful time.

Article contributed by Kimberly Bolinskey
Sris Law Group
1-434-509-4004

Disclaimer:

These summaries are provided by the SRIS Law Group. They represent the firm’s unofficial views of the Justices’ opinions. The original opinions should be consulted for their authoritative content.

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