Displaying Matter Harmful to Juveniles

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Displaying Matter Harmful to Juveniles in Cincinnati, OH

You may notice that grocery stores and other retailers use plastic covers that display only the masthead of certain magazines. These devices are implemented to prevent juveniles from interacting with harmful or obscene matter, given their tender age and the nature of the material.

Ohio punishes individuals for displaying matter harmful to juveniles in Cincinnati. According to Ohio Revised Code § 2907.311, if you knowingly display pornography and other material that could be classified as obscene, you face sex crime charges.

A criminal defense attorney with the Joslyn Law Firm is familiar with sex crime charges. He or she will examine the particulars of your case to build a credible defense. A lawyer can also negotiate with the prosecution for a possible plea deal for reduced penalties.

Our award-winning criminal defense firm has 20,000 cases to our credit and an impressive collection of legal victories, including:

  • Charges dismissed and expunged against a 19-year-old Franklin County man charged with unlawful sexual conduct with a minor.
  • Three years of community control instead imprisoned a 53-year-old Franklin County man charged with seven counts of pandering.
  • Not guilty verdict for a Richland County man charged with rape, abduction, and kidnapping.

Our founder, Attorney Brian Joslyn, is regarded as one of the top criminal defense lawyers in the state. Attorney Joslyn and his team have garnered many awards, including:

  • Top American Lawyer by the Top American Lawyers association.
  • Ten Best Attorney for Client Satisfaction by the American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys who award excellence in the field of criminal defense.
  • Top 25 Trial Lawyers by the National Trial Lawyers, an invitation-only organization composed of trial lawyers from each state or region.
  • Top Ten Attorneys by the American Jurist Institute, a third-party consumer-driven organization.
  • Top Lawyer by Columbus CEO

Are you facing charges for displaying matter harmful to juveniles? An attorney with Joslyn Law Firm may be able to clear your name, avoid fines, and keep you out of jail. Call (513) 399-6289 for a free consultation.

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Displaying Matter Harmful to Juveniles Information Center

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Overview of Displaying Matter Harmful to Juveniles

Ohio law makes it illegal to provide material to juveniles categorized as harmful based on their youth and the material displayed. Under Ohio Revised Code § 2907.311, it is a misdemeanor of the first degree to display harmful matter to unmarried people younger than 18 years old.

You should know that each day that you violate this law is counted as a separate charge. For example, you could be convicted of many counts of displaying matter harmful to juveniles with accompanying penalties.

Responsibilities of Sellers and Distributors

A Cincinnati business that sells obscene material must ensure that unmarried people under age 18 cannot view this material. It may be kept behind a counter, covered with plastic wrapping, or in some other way hidden from view.

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What Is Considered Matter Harmful to Juveniles?

According to Ohio Revised Code § 2907.01(E), matter that is harmful to juveniles is material that describes or represents naked people, sexual behavior, sexual pleasure, or sadomasochistic abuse, to which all of the following apply:

  • The material or performance appeals to the salacious interest of juveniles;
  • The material or performance is provocative to prevailing standards for what is considered appropriate for minors; and
  • The material or performance fails to offer literary, artistic, political, and scientific value.

What Is Considered Material for This Crime?

Ohio has a broad definition of the types of material that may contain matter harmful to juveniles. This definition includes:

  • Any tangible thing capable of arousing interest through sight, sound, or touch, including images or text on a screen (computer, television, liquid crystal display, cell phone, tablet, projection screen, or motion picture screen) or an image or text recorded on a computer hard drive, flash drive, or other digital storage devices.
  • Book
  • Magazine
  • Newspaper
  • Pamphlet
  • Poster
  • Print
  • Picture
  • Figure
  • Image
  • Description
  • Motion picture film
  • Phonographic record
  • Tape

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Penalties for Displaying Matter Harmful to Juveniles

It is a first-degree misdemeanor if you are charged with displaying matter harmful to juveniles. This is a cumulative charge: every day you are supposedly violating this law is treated as a separate offense.

Each first-degree misdemeanor is punishable by:

  • Up to 180 days in jail
  • A fine of up to $1,000

If the court deems that the material is obscene, the charge becomes a fifth-degree felony. A felony in the fifth degree is punishable by:

  • Up to one year in prison
  • A fine of up to $2,500

This is a serious crime that requires a serious defense. However, suppose you want to avoid lengthy incarceration or hefty fines. In that case, it is in your best interest to call a criminal defense attorney today.

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Who Can Be Charged for Displaying Matter Harmful to Juveniles?

A business owner can be charged for displaying obscene material to juveniles through the means of their commercial establishment.

An individual could face similar charges if they:

  • Pose as a guardian, parent, or spouse to help a juvenile purchase or gain access to prohibited material to them by law.
  • Provide fake identification or documents that show the juvenile is 18 years or older to purchase or gain access to otherwise prohibited matter.

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Evidence in Displaying Harmful Matter Cases

Typically, this type of charge is brought to the attention of law enforcement by a parent, guardian, or concerned citizen. As a result, more establishments are aware of the potential for criminal penalties in displaying harmful or obscene matters to juveniles. As a result, they take preventative measures, such as blocking any offensive images or text with plastic covering, wrapping, or container.

However, some stores still display harmful material despite knowing that juveniles can view or gain access to it. Some of the evidence that the prosecution in these cases can use might include:

  • Photos or videos of a display that does not have protective coverings or wrapping.
  • Photographic evidence of juvenile gaining access to this material.
  • Witness testimony of juvenile gaining access to this material.
  • Undercover officers were posing as juveniles as part of a sting operation.

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What to Do if Arrested on Displaying Harmful Matter Charges

We suggest that you take three actions if you are arrested:

  • Remain calm.
  • Remain silent.
  • Tell police officers that you wish to call a lawyer and that you will not answer any questions until counsel represents you.

We understand that being arrested is unpleasant and distressing. However, your best chance for defending yourself and potentially having the charges against you dropped or reduced begins when you are arrested.

Why You Should Remain Silent Until Your Lawyer Arrives

Joslyn Law Firm respects our city’s law enforcement officers. We know they have a dangerous and challenging duty as they protect and serve the citizens of Cincinnati 24/7. However, you should realize that no matter how friendly the arresting officer may be, you should politely refuse to make any statement or answer any questions until you have a lawyer by your side.

The reason is that you have a constitutional right under the Fifth Amendment to avoid self-incrimination legally. A police officer may tell you that you could look guilty by hiring a lawyer to be with you during questioning. In reality, you look like an informed, proactive individual who understands that our criminal justice system is complex. You deserve a legal ally.

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Possible Defenses to Displaying Matter Harmful to Juveniles

A store owner arrested and charged with displaying matter harmful to juveniles is encouraged to call an attorney who handles these cases. Although the crime can be charged as a misdemeanor (with exceptions), you could still go to jail for up to 180 days or pay a maximum fine of $1,000.

Possible defenses include:

  • You did not know that the person viewing the material was a juvenile.
  • You were unaware that the material was removed from its protective covering and placed in a more visible location.
  • You were unfairly targeted by police or the victim of entrapment.
  • You were not read your Miranda rights.
  • You believed the material in question had some legitimate value for literary, artistic, social, historical, political, or scientific value.

A Joslyn Law Firm attorney will examine the circumstances of your case to determine a defense strategy.

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Resources for Displaying Harmful Matter Crimes

Office of Criminal Justice Services (OCJS)

You may research current and archived crime reports for state and federal crimes. The OCJS has a searchable database that includes information on crimes, arrest and incident reports, participating law enforcement agencies, and a county breakdown of criminal statistics.

Ohio Alliance to End Sexual Violence (OAESV)

This organization coordinates with law enforcement agencies throughout Ohio in three critical ways: to improve the response to sex crimes, provide greater community education and protection, and hold sex offenders accountable for their crimes. The OAESV also works with survivors to provide support and advocacy throughout criminal proceedings and beyond.

National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE)

The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) is the leading organization in the U.S. that exposes the connections between all forms of sexual abuse and exploitation. NCOSE is a nonprofit organization dedicated to ending sexual exploitation, violence, abuse, assault, and other related activities that rob men, women, and children of their inherent human dignity.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

SAMHSA is a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services division. Sexual addiction is a mental health issue, and this agency can help individuals who want to break the cycle. SAMHSA’s National Helpline is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service available in English and Spanish. Its helpline number is 1-800-662-4357 (HELP).

Sexual Assault & Domestic Violence Prevention Program

The Ohio Department of Health offers many services to assist victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. These include funding and awareness of local sexual violence prevention, programs for sexual violence intervention in underserved communities, and maintaining protocol for sexual assault medical and forensic examinations.

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News About Displaying Harmful Matter and Sex Crimes in Ohio

June 23, 2021

“Former ‘Drake and Josh’ Actor Pleads Guilty to Felony Against 15-Year-Old Girl in Cleveland”

Jared Drake Bell, the actor who played Drake in Nickelodeon’s TV series ‘Drake and Josh,’ recently pleaded guilty to charges of attempted child endangerment, a fourth-degree felony, and disseminating matter harmful to juveniles, a first-degree misdemeanor, in a case involving a 15-year-old girl. The 34-year-old actor from Los Angeles allegedly committed offenses against the girl after a concert in Cleveland in 2017, according to the news report. Bell could be sentenced to probation or two years in prison.

June 3, 2021

“Ohio Man Receives 14-year Sentence for Sex Crimes Against Lafayette Teen”

An Ohio man engaged in sexual conduct with a 13-year-old girl was sentenced to 14 years in prison, the Journal & Courier reports. Joshua Pennington, 28, received 12 years for sexual misconduct with a minor and two years for possession of child pornography. Pennington drove several times to Indiana, where the victim lived. The judge in the case called Pennington “a predator,” and he must register as a sex offender for the first decade after serving his prison term.

May 2, 2021

“Man Gets One Year for Sex Offenses”

A Youngstown, Ohio, man arrested in a coordinated sting for individuals attempting to have sex with minors was sentenced to a year in prison for his crime, The Vindicator reports. Jason Walker, 39, pleaded guilty to charges of attempted unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, importuning and soliciting an adolescent, and resisting arrest. Walker is one of 14 individuals arrested in October of 2020 as part of a sting operation called Operation Autumn Hope.

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FAQs for Displaying Matter Harmful to Juveniles

What Is Considered Harmful Material to Juveniles?

Material that is considered harmful to juveniles includes images or text that depicts nudity, sexual acts, sexual excitement, or sexual violence.

What Should I Do If Police Question Me for Displaying Matter Harmful to Juveniles?

You should tell police officers that you are invoking your Fifth Amendment right to remain silent and that you want to call an attorney immediately. Then, do not answer any questions or make any statements until you have an attorney present.

My Employee Allowed a 12-Year-Old to See Harmful Matter While I Was on a Break. Am I Liable for His Actions?

If you are the employee’s supervisor, you could be held accountable for his actions, even if you did not know about them. Additionally, you could face civil charges from the child’s parents under the assumption of vicarious liability.

What Is the Penalty for Displaying Matter Harmful to Juveniles?

Matter that is considered harmful and displayed to an unmarried person 18 or younger is a misdemeanor in the first degree. It is punishable by up to 180 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. However, if the court deems the material to be not harmful but obscene, you could be charged with a fifth-degree felony. This charge carries up to one year in prison and a fine of up to $2,500.

What Happens if I Am Warned About Displaying Matter Harmful to Juveniles but Fail to Take Corrective Action?

Each day that you supposedly break Ohio law is a separate charge. Each misdemeanor charge for displaying matter harmful to juveniles is up to 180 days in jail and a maximum fine of $1,000. The longer you allegedly break the law, the more jail time and fees you might accumulate.

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Attorney for Displaying Matter Harmful to Juveniles in Cincinnati, OH

Store owners and others in a commercial establishment should protect juveniles from viewing harmful material. When they fail to uphold this legal duty, they can be charged and convicted. An attorney for displaying matter harmful to juveniles in Cincinnati, OH, can help defend against these charges.

The Joslyn Law Firm has successfully defended other clients who face sex crimes and different types of crimes. We are dedicated to helping clients clear their names so that they can return to their lives as soon as possible.

For a free consultation about your case, call the Joslyn Law Firm today at (513) 399-6289.

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  • Brian Joslyn was named Best Lawyer in 2019 by Birdeye.
  • Columbus CEO magazine has yearly selections for the best attorneys in Columbus Ohio. Brian Joslyn has been identified as one of the most highly skilled attorneys across central Ohio.
  • Brian Joslyn has earned recognition for community leadership by Lawyer LegionLawyer Legion
  • Preeminent Attorney Award. Peer rated for highest level of professional excellence.
  • The Better Business Bureau (BBB), founded in 1912, is a private, nonprofit organization whose self-described mission is to focus on advancing marketplace trust.

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