What are Obscenity Charges?

When looking at the law regarding free speech in America, there is a paradoxical freedom to say whatever someone wants to say, so long as it is not a serious threat against a person or group and, according to obscenity statutes, is not considered so disgusting to lack legitimate worth. As the history of obscenity law shows, free speech is significantly less free than many Americans might be led to believe. In these cases, certain conditions must be met in order for a prosecutor to pursue obscenity charges.

If you are facing obscenity charges, contact Massachusetts sex crime attorney James Powderly by calling 508-343-0676 today to learn more about your rights under the law.

The Miller Test

In a 1973 US Supreme Court ruling, the majority decision established a three-part standard for federal obscenity cases. Known as the Miller test, this standard has been used as a rough, vague method to determine whether a particular act or work can be considered so vile to breach free speech protection. The following are the major considerations under the Miller test:

  • State obscenity law must be obeyed
  • May not violate community standards of decency
  • May not be devoid of thematic or meaningful content

If a work or an act is proven to violate these standards, a person may face serious penalties as a result. As a sex crime, obscenity charges include strict financial penalties that can effectively ruin a person’s financial stability. In addition, it may be ordered that a person register with major sex offender lists.

Contact Us

If you are facing these charges, a defense lawyer can assist you in fighting for your rights. For more information and a free consultation, contact Massachusetts sex crime attorney James Powderly today at 508-343-0676.


Interview with a Former DUI Client