What is Disseminating Matter Harmful to Juveniles?

Ohio State heavily prosecutes individuals who are facing charges of disseminating matter harmful to juveniles.

This is a charge against those who allegedly offer material to juveniles that would be classified as harmful to them based on their youth and the material involved.

A juvenile in this context is an unmarried person under the age of 18, but if they are under 13 years old the crime will be escalated to a felony offense.

If you are facing charges of a criminal offense, you should not wait to contact our Columbus criminal defense attorney at your earliest convenience.

Since this is a serious sex crime, you can count on a tough battle but, you can trust that at Gounaris Abboud, LPA, we will fight it until the very end.

Disseminating Matter Harmful to Juveniles in Dayton

Examples of Disseminating Matter Harmful to Juveniles

There are three ways this offense can be charged:

  • Furnishing, selling, or showing obscene material to a juvenile.
  • Offering / agreeing to sell, furnish, or show harmful material to a juvenile.
  • Permitting a juvenile to view obscene or harmful material, including a live performance.

In many circumstances, alleged offenders are caught by selling or presenting harmful material to a law enforcement officer who is posing as a minor. The qualification for this offense is that as the defendant, you would have had to actually offer or present the obscene or harmful material to the supposed juvenile. This makes it very difficult to fight since there would be direct evidence against you.

The statute stipulates that a person can also be charged even if they just have reason to believe that the person receiving the material is a juvenile. This also means, however, that the following factors can be used as a powerful and valid defense:

  • He or she did not have enough information to know that the recipient was a juvenile.
  • The designated method of mass distribution did not allow a means for the alleged offender to prevent an underage recipient of receiving the material.

What is Considered “Obscene” or “Harmful” Material?

Under Ohio Revised Code Section 2907.01(E), material that is harmful to juveniles refers to material that represents any of the following:

  • Nudity
  • Sexual activity
  • Sadomasochistic abuse

Material that is considered “obscene” will have one of the following elements:

  • Has a main purpose to appeal to prurient interests.
  • Has a tendency to arouse lust.
  • Has a main appeal to scatological interest without serving a scientific or educational purpose
  • Contains a number of descriptions or displays of sexual activity.

A Close Look at the Statute Involved

There are several different charges associated with this concept.

The primary offense is defined under O.R.C. 2907.31 and is centered around the idea that you as an individual adult provided such harmful material to a juvenile.

Under O.R.C. 2907.311, a business owner can be charged for displaying obscene material to juveniles through the means of their commercial establishment.

This law is designed to keep businesses from distributing or showing material that may be viewed by a minor by being open to the general public.

Every day that the business is allegedly in violation of the law is considered a separate offense.

A similar crime is found under O.R.C. 2907.33 and is classified as a deception to obtain a matter harmful to juveniles.

When an adult poses as the minor’s guardian, parent, or spouse in order to help them gain access to otherwise prohibited material.

Another way this can be charged is if the juvenile is provided with identification or documents showing that he or she is 18 or older.

Penalties to Expect if Convicted

If the material proves to be harmful to juveniles, it is classified as a first-degree misdemeanor.

This can be punished by up to 180 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.

If the material is obscene, then it is a fifth-degree felony and can be punished by up to a year in prison and a fine of up to $2,500.

Building a Defense with Our Dayton Sex Crime Defense Lawyer

Disseminating matter harmful to juveniles can either be a misdemeanor or felony offense depending on the particular circumstances of the event.

For instance, if the material displayed is “harmful” the alleged offender can face misdemeanor charges, but if it is “obscene,” that individual might face felony charges.

With more than 50 years of combined experience, you can trust that our team is prepared to fight for you. We take our clients’ cases seriously and will aggressively fight on their behalf. Contact us today to get started!

Frequently Asked Questions

Examples of Disseminating Matter Harmful to Juveniles

There are three ways this offense can be charged. 1.) Furnishing, selling, or showing obscene material to a juvenile. 2.) Offering / agreeing to sell, furnish or show harmful material to a juvenile. 3.) Permitting a juvenile to view obscene or harmful material, including a live performance.

Penalties to Expect if Convicted

If the material proves to be harmful to juveniles, it is classified as a first-degree misdemeanor. This can be punished by up to 180 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. If the material is obscene, then it is a fifth-degree felony and can be punished by up to a year in prison and a fine of up to $2,500.

How Our Lawyers Can Help You

With more than 50 years of combined experience, you can trust that our team is prepared to fight for you. We take our clients’ cases seriously and will aggressively fight on their behalf. Contact us today to get started!