Porn Sharing Laws in Pennsylvania

Every day, people in Pittsburgh and throughout Pennsylvania face serious sexual offenses because of simple mistakes involving pornography. Often, they aren’t even aware the pornography is on their computer or saved to their phone until the police have already collected and revealed the incriminating evidence against them.

As a criminal defense attorney in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, I’ve seen far too many people face the consequences of porn-related crimes they didn’t even realize they were committing. This article is intended to help you avoid their mistakes.

Is Sharing Porn Illegal in Pennsylvania?

The short answer: “Yes.” Pennsylvania law clearly states that sharing explicitly sexual material is illegal. How the crime is punished, though, depends on a number of factors, like the nature of the crime, the offender’s age, whether this was their first offense, and how much pornography was found in their possession.

With today’s technology making porn so easy to view, share, and distribute, it’s no surprise that Pennsylvania law can barely keep up. As a result, penalties are typically assigned on a case-by-case basis.

What does this mean for you? Well, if you’ve been accused of any pornography-related crime, it means you want an attorney who knows exactly what they’re doing. Someone with the knowledge and experience to dig into the details of your specific situation and effectively argue your case.

How Police Track Porn Sharing

Many pornography cases begin with an accusation. Someone sends a sext or an explicit Snapchat, then the person they sent it to turns around and shares it with others. The person depicted in the image(s) or video(s) gets the police involved, and before they know it, the person who shared the pornographic file(s) is facing a criminal charge.

Although this scenario has become extremely common in the past decade, it’s important to note that there are other ways pornography charges can be brought against you. Let’s take a moment to discuss peer-to-peer sharing and how it can put incriminating evidence on your computer.

Peer-to-Peer Sharing & Pornography

If you’re not familiar with the term, peer-to-peer (or “P2P”) sharing refers to sites and software that allow internet users to access and share digital media with other users around the globe. The practice of P2P file sharing first became popular with the invention of Napster in 1999. In the decades since, countless other P2P services have emerged, such as LimeWire, Kazaa, Gnutella, Grokster, Morpheus, FastTrack, eDonkey, mIRC, and BitTorrent.

So here’s the problem:

Peer-to-peer services are notorious for causing serious legal problems for those who use them. In addition to copyright infringement and hacking problems, users have also been charged with illegal possession of pornography, possession of child pornography, distribution of pornography, and related offenses. Generally, these users get charged for one of two reasons: either they don’t realize they’ve committed a crime, or they don’t realize the police are actively monitoring these P2P services for criminal activity.

Pittsburgh Criminal Defense Against Pornography Charges

Now, just because there’s pornographic material on your computer doesn’t mean you’re guilty of a horrible sex crime. As someone who has been defending the accused since 2001, I can tell you that the majority of people charged with porn offenses had no intention of breaking the law. Rather, they followed the wrong link, downloaded the wrong file, or frankly wanted to view adult porn but were surprised to learn that one of the actors was underage.

Mistakes happen, and Pennsylvania courts recognize that. If your case is presented the right way, you may be able to get your charges reduced or dismissed altogether. If you need an aggressive defense to a pornography charge in or near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, I strongly encourage you to contact Allegheny Attorneys at Law and set up a free phone consultation.


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