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Furnishing Harmful or Obscene Materials to a Minor

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Furnishing harmful or obscene materials to a minor is a serious and complex offense under Arizona law. Defined by A.R.S. § 13-3506, this crime involves knowingly providing, selling, or distributing materials deemed harmful or obscene to individuals under the age of 18.

The consequences of these charges can be severe, including potential imprisonment, substantial fines, and the possibility of mandatory sex offender registration.

At Colburn Hintze Maletta, our experienced criminal defense attorneys are dedicated to protecting your rights and minimizing the impact of these charges on your life.

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Furnishing Harmful or Obscene Materials to a Minor 

What is Considered Harmful/ Obscene Material?

In Arizona, the legal definitions of harmful and obscene materials are outlined in A.R.S. § 13-3501.

Harmful materials are those which the average adult person, applying contemporary community standards, would find predominantly appeals to a prurient interest in sex and lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value. Obscene materials are defined similarly but focus more on explicit sexual content that goes beyond what is deemed acceptable by community standards.

  • Harmful Materials: Includes explicit depictions or descriptions of sexual acts or nudity intended to arouse sexual interest.
  • Obscene Materials: Generally refers to materials with explicit sexual content that violates community standards of decency.

These materials are considered harmful or obscene when they predominantly appeal to prurient interests, are patently offensive, and lack significant value.

What Is Furnishing Harmful or Obscene Materials?

Under Arizona law, specifically A.R.S. § 13-3506, furnishing harmful or obscene materials to a minor is a criminal offense. This law defines the act of providing, selling, or distributing materials that are deemed harmful or obscene to anyone under the age of 18. The statute is broad and covers various forms of material distribution, ensuring that minors are protected from exposure to inappropriate content.


Forms of Furnishing Harmful or Obscene Materials

  • Physical Distribution: This includes handing over explicit books, magazines, or other printed materials directly to a minor.
  • Digital Distribution: Sending harmful or obscene content via email, social media, or any other electronic means falls under this category. This includes sharing links to pornographic websites or sending explicit images or videos.
  • Indirect Furnishing: Even if the minor is not the direct recipient, but the materials are made accessible to them, it can be considered furnishing. For example, leaving explicit content in a place where a minor is likely to find it.


Intent and Knowledge

An important element of this offense is the perpetrator’s knowledge and intent.

The law requires that the individual knowingly provides such materials to a minor.

This means that if a person accidentally or unknowingly furnishes harmful or obscene materials without intent, the charges might be more difficult to substantiate. However, proving the absence of intent can be challenging and requires a thorough legal defense.


Specific Examples of Offenses

  • Selling Explicit Content: Selling explicit magazines or DVDs to minors or allowing them access to such materials in a store or through an online platform.
  • Providing Access to Pornography: Giving a minor access to a computer or device with unrestricted access to pornographic websites.
  • Sending Explicit Messages: Sending sexually explicit messages, images, or videos directly to a minor’s phone or social media account.

Understanding the scope of what constitutes furnishing harmful or obscene materials is critical for both preventing unintentional violations and defending against such charges. This offense encompasses various methods of distribution and requires clear evidence of intent and knowledge to secure a conviction.

Consequences for Furnishing Obscene Materials to Minors 

Furnishing obscene materials to minors is a grave offense in Arizona, carrying substantial legal penalties. Understanding the classification and potential consequences is crucial for anyone facing such charges.


Classification of the Offense

  • Class 4 Felony: Furnishing obscene materials to minors is generally classified as a Class 4 felony under A.R.S. § 13-3506.01.



  • First Offense: Sentences range from 1.5 to 3 years in prison.
  • Repeat Offenders: Longer prison terms apply for those with prior convictions.



  • Substantial Fines: Convictions can result in significant fines, potentially reaching several thousand dollars, depending on the case’s specifics and judicial discretion.

These severe penalties highlight the importance of seeking experienced legal representation to navigate the complexities of the law and minimize the impact on one’s life.

Will I Have to Register as a Sex Offender? 

In Arizona, individuals convicted of furnishing obscene materials to minors may be required to register as sex offenders under A.R.S. § 13-3821. This requirement depends on the specifics of the offense and the court’s judgment. Registration entails regular updates to law enforcement regarding your address and employment, and it often includes community notification, which can lead to significant personal and professional consequences. 

How Can a Criminal Defense Attorney Help Reduce Penalties 

Facing charges for furnishing obscene materials to minors is a serious matter, but a skilled criminal defense attorney can help reduce the potential penalties. Here are several ways an experienced attorney can assist:


Challenging the Evidence

A knowledgeable defense attorney will scrutinize the evidence presented against you. This includes ensuring that it was obtained legally and challenging its admissibility if there are any violations of your rights. By questioning the validity and reliability of the evidence, your attorney can weaken the prosecution’s case.


Demonstrating Lack of Intent

Intent is an important element in charges of furnishing obscene materials to minors. Your attorney can work to demonstrate that you did not knowingly or intentionally provide such materials to a minor. Proving a lack of intent can significantly reduce the severity of the charges or lead to a dismissal of the case.


Negotiating Plea Deals

In some cases, negotiating a plea deal with the prosecution can result in reduced charges or lighter penalties. An experienced attorney can negotiate on your behalf to reach an agreement that may involve pleading guilty to a lesser offense in exchange for a reduced sentence or other concessions.


Exploring Alternative Sentencing

Your attorney can advocate for alternative sentencing options such as probation, community service, or counseling instead of imprisonment. These alternatives can help you avoid the harshest penalties and work towards rehabilitation rather than punishment.


Providing a Strong Defense

An experienced criminal defense attorney will build a strong defense strategy tailored to your specific case. This may involve presenting evidence, calling witnesses, and making compelling arguments in court to defend your rights and achieve the best possible outcome.

Hiring a skilled criminal defense attorney can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case, helping to reduce penalties and protect your future.

Contact the Attorneys at Colburn Hintze Maletta

If you are facing charges for furnishing obscene materials to minors, the experienced criminal defense attorneys at Colburn Hintze Maletta are here to help. Our team understands the complexities of Arizona law and is dedicated to providing a strong defense to protect your rights. We offer personalized legal strategies aimed at reducing penalties and achieving the best possible outcome for your case.

Contact us today at (602) 825-2500. to schedule a consultation and take the first step towards safeguarding your future.


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