Your Phoenix Criminal Defense Attorney request your free consultation

Posted on September 7, 2023 in Arizona Law

Obscenity Laws in Phoenix, AZ

Arizona has many types of obscenity laws. Some of these sex offenses can result in substantial penalties, including jail time. If you are charged with a similar crime, you may wonder what that means, about your legal options, and whether or not you need a lawyer. This is normal, as obscenity charges are fairly uncommon.

What Is Obscenity?

Obscenity has a specific legal definition. Under Arizona law, something is obscene if it:

  • Appeals to the prurient interest
  • Lacks literary, artistic, political, or scientific value, or
  • The average person would find it to depict sexual activity in a patently offensive way

The prurient interest is a morbid or unhealthy interest in something sexual or shameful. Essentially, obscenity is sexual in nature, and it is something that a wide variety of people would find offensive and with no social value. An example of obscene material might include certain types of pornography.

What Are the Obscenity Laws in Phoenix, Arizona?

There are many different obscenity laws in Phoenix, AZ. These laws make certain actions related to obscene materials illegal.

Some of the obscenity crimes include:

  • Printing, copying, preparing, or producing an obscene item for sale
  • Publishing, selling, renting, or transporting an obscene item for sale commercial distribution
  • Possesses an obscene item with the intent to sell or commercially distribute it
  • Participating in a live or recorded obscene performance in public
  • Provides an obscene item to a minor
  • Publicly displaying explicit sexual material
  • Having indecent communication for commercial purposes with a minor
  • Selling obscene material through a vending machine in a place where minors are lawfully allowed


These crimes are generally felonies and range in severity. The penalty for being convicted under the obscenity laws will depend on which law is broken.

What Defenses Are There to Obscenity Charges in AZ?

The most common defenses to obscenity charges revolve around intent. If you didn’t intend to distribute, sell, or perform a similar type of act related to an obscene item, then you may have a valid defense.

Another common defense is that the material is not obscene. If you can prove that the material had some value, or the average person wouldn’t find it patently offensive, then you may have a good case.

You can also argue that the evidence used to prosecute you was obtained illegally in violation of the Fourth Amendment. If you win your argument, there is a chance that the evidence will be thrown out. That will make it harder, or even impossible, to prove the charges.

Similarly, you might argue that there was no probable cause to arrest or search you. This can result in the dismissal or suppression of statements or evidence.

How Can a Lawyer Help in an Obscenity Case?

A good criminal defense lawyer can be very helpful in an obscenity case. The obscenity laws are complicated and usually require some creative litigation. This means you need a lawyer who understands the law and can make an argument in your favor.

If you are convicted, you will likely have a felony on your record. This can result in jail time and other collateral consequences. For example, you might lose your right to vote, possess a gun, or access certain housing or jobs. Since the stakes are high in an obscenity case, you are better off consulting with a lawyer than risking it alone.

You want to make sure that you have the best resources when defending yourself against an obscenity charge in Phoenix, AZ.

Contact the Criminal Defense Lawyers at Orent Law Offices In Phoenix To Get Legal Assistance Today

For more information, contact the criminal defense attorney Craig Orent. Give us a call at (480) 656-7301 or visit our law office at 11811 N Tatum Blvd UNIT 3031, Phoenix, AZ 85028. We offer a free case evaluation, so get the help you deserve today.

Search Our Site

Call Now Button