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Michigan Porn Laws: Everything You Need to Know

A simple definition of pornography would be sexually explicit visual material designed to arouse the viewer sexually. Pornography can be in any form: video, photographs, drawing, or even computer-generated images.

Pornography is legal under federal laws and is protected under the first amendment right, which protects artistic or expressive work. However, there are exemptions to first amendment protections, which include sexually explicit visual material of a minor, images deemed obscene, or sexually explicit visual material recorded without the consent of the subject of the recording.

Michigan Porn Laws

Computer Key - Adult Only

A violation of Michigan porn laws can have dire consequences on the offender, upon conviction. Therefore, it is important to talk to an attorney if you are under investigation or charged by law enforcement for porn-related offenses. Not just any attorney either, but a top child pornography lawyer that focuses solely on sex crimes.

Illegal Pornography under Michigan Law

Pornography is legal in Michigan as long as it involves two consenting adults engaging in sex and each have given consent to record and disseminate their sexual acts (learn what does non-consensual sex mean here). Besides that, every other type of pornography would be illegal.

There are three broad classes of illegal pornography in Michigan:

  • Child Pornography
  • Obscene Pornography
  • Revenge Pornography

Child Pornography

Child pornography, also referred to as child sexually abusive material (CSAM), is a grave offense under Michigan law. It is defined as any depiction of a minor engaging in a listed sexual act. This law applies irrespective of the medium through which the image is depicted, including video, photographs, digital images, or computer-generated images.

Child pornography offenses in Michigan fall into three categories:

  • Production of Child Pornography
  • Possession of Child Pornography
  • Distribution of Child Pornography

Production of Child Pornography

Production of child sexually abusive material is the most severe of all child porn offenses. MCL 750.145c(2) criminalizes coercing, inducing, enticing, persuading, causing, or allowing a minor to engage in sexual acts to produce sexually explicit material. The law also criminalizes any direct or indirect participation in the commission of the offense.

PENALTY: Upon a conviction, a person will be guilty of a felony carrying a penalty of a maximum of 20 years in prison, a fine of not more than $100,000, or both. If the offense involves a child/person under 13 years of age creating a video or more than 100 images, the penalty could go up to 25 years in prison, a fine not exceeding $125,000, or both.

Distribution of Child Pornography

Under MCL 750.145c(3), it is illegal for anyone to possess any material portraying a child engaging in a sexual act. This law also criminalizes seeking to access such material, even if a person is unsuccessful at accessing them.

PENALTY: Distribution of child pornography is the second most severe offense in this category and attracts penalties of a maximum of seven years in prison, a fine not exceeding $50,000, or both. If aggravating factors exist, including if the illegal material depicts bestiality, has over 100 images, oris  a video, the penalties go up to 15 years in prison, potential fines up to $75,000, or both.

Possession of Child Pornography

MCL 750.145c(4) criminalizes the possession of any CSAM while knowing or having reason to know that the depiction in the material is of a minor. This offense is the least severe in this class of offenses.

PENALTY: A conviction with this offense is a felony attracting penalties of up to four years in prison, a fine not exceeding $10,000, or both. If aggravating factors exist, the sentences can go up to 10 years in prison, a fine of not more than $50,000, or both.

Obscene Pornography

First Amendment protection does not cover content deemed obscene. The same applies to Michigan. Obscene matter, as used in a pornography context, refers to any pornographic material depicting sexual conduct in a blatantly offensive manner.

MCL 752.365 criminalizes knowingly disseminating or possessing to disseminate any obscene material.

PENALTY: A conviction for violating MCL 752.365 is a misdemeanor by imprisonment of not more than one year, a fine not exceeding $100,000, or both. Repeat offenders can face up to two years and a fine of between $50,000 and $100,000.

Revenge Pornography

Under MCL 750.145e, pornographic material can be deemed revenge pornography if all of the following circumstances exist:

  • The person depicted in the material is over 18 years of age.
  • The person depicted in the material is identifiable by the explicit visual material or the information contained in the material. There is an exemption if another person rather than the disseminator supplies the identifying information.
  • The person obtains the sexually explicit material under circumstances that a reasonable person would understand or know the material was supposed to remain private.
  • The person knows or should have known that the person depicted in the visual did not consent to its dissemination.

Under revenge porn law, dissemination refers to the online distribution of sexually explicit visual material of another, including posting or publishing on a computer device, website, computer network, interactive computer service, commercial mobile service, or any other electronic device or medium of communication. Learn more about what are internet sex crimes here.

Revenge porn is common on the internet and is usually used by criminals engaging in sextortion. Often, criminals engaging in sextortion will hold a person’s sexually explicit material with the intent to threaten, coerce, or intimidate the other person into complying with their demands.

PENALTY: A Michigan revenge porn law violation is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 93 days in jail. A second or subsequent violation can have violators of this law committed to up to a year in jail.

If you or someone you know is being accused, investigated, or charged with possessing sexually explicit materials with the intent to threaten, coerce, or intimidate someone into doing things due to the fear of the texting, sending, or emailing of that sexually explicit materials, it would be best to contact a child pornography defense attorney as soon as possible.

Let Attorney Nicole Blank Becker Help You with Your Case:

Michigan law takes pornography-related offenses very seriously. Upon conviction, you may be looking at years upon years in prison, along with hefty fines. The fines can vary depending on the circumstances of the offense. Sadly, some offenses carry consequences that can last a lifetime, including a damaged reputation.

Nicole Blank Becker Blank Law PC

If you face any pornography-related charges in Michigan, Attorney Nicole Blank Becker of Blank Law, PC, can help you navigate your charges and ensure that you get the most favorable outcome. Nicole’s practice experience spans 20+ years in Michigan and throughout the U.S.

Nicole only focuses on sex crimes. It is not all about the years, Nicole has a record of success to back it up and is among Michigan’s most respected sex offender lawyers.

Nicole Blank Becker has also served as the Chief of the Sex Crimes Unit and Chief of the Child Abuse Unit in Macomb County. She looks at every case from many dimensions to ensure that she provides her client with the most robust criminal sexual conduct defense possible. Nicole has a reputation in the Michigan legal circles as someone who is dedicated to her work, her clients, and finding justice. Nicole ensures that her clients have a listening ear and she will take the stress right off of your shoulders.

Do not let one mistake alter the course of your life or leave an indelible mark on your reputation. Call Attorney Nicole Blank Becker of Blank Law, PC, at  (248) 515-6583 or contact us online to book your initial free consultation and start the journey of building a strong attorney-client relationship with Michigan’s best criminal defense attorney.

3150 Livernois Rd. Suite 126
Troy, MI 48083
(248) 515-6583
law@nicoleblankbecker.com

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We serve the following counties: Macomb County, Oakland County, Wayne County, Washtenaw County, Ingham County, Lapeer County, Genesee County, Livingston County, etc.

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