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TexLaw, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 4430
Experience:  Lead trial/International commercial attorney licensed 11 yrs
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is there a liability for just instant messaging and emailing

Resolved Question:

is there a liability for just instant messaging and emailing suggestive or sexual in nature , with no physical no contact?
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  TexLaw replied 8 years ago.
Dear scraper2,

Thank you for submitting your important legal issue to Just Answer. I am pleased to have the opportunity to provide you with an honest and easy to understand answer to your question.

I am an attorney licensed in the State of Texas. The following information is a brief answer to your question. However, if you feel that you need further information or that you have other insights which might help me in providing a better answer, please feel free to write back.

Depending on the state you are in, and the person receiving your message, there could be both criminal and civil liability for emailing someone. If you are sending IMs or emails to a minor, this could definitely result in criminal charges against you. It also depends on what computer you are using. For instance, if you are using a computer at your place of employment, and that causes someone to receive a sexual message from you, they could potentially sue the company for harassment, etc., which could end up coming back against you. Just remember, everything you place in an instant message or an email is potentially evidence that can be used against you.

I hope that this information has been helpful to you. If we can be of any further assistance please free to use our service again. Best wishes for a successful outcome.

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The information provided is general in nature only and should not be construed as legal advice. By using this forum, you acknowledge that no attorney-client relationship has been created between you and Zachary D. Norris or The Norris Law Firm. For complete legal advice and representation, you should consult with an attorney licensed to practice in your state.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
what about 2 consenting adults that are both married in the State of NC?
Expert:  TexLaw replied 8 years ago.
The following is the criminal statute that is applicable to this situation. My reading of this is that a private communication between you and another adult is not necessarily in violation of this statute, as you are not "disseminating" the obscenity. I was unable to find any NC case interpreting this statute for your specific situation, but that doesn't mean that there isn't a case out there like that.

I would take extra care to make sure all communications remain absolutely private.

§ 14-190.1. Obscene literature and exhibitions.
(a) It shall be unlawful for any person, firm or corporation to intentionally
disseminate obscenity. A person, firm or corporation disseminates obscenity within the
meaning of this Article if he or it:
(1) Sells, delivers or provides or offers or agrees to sell, deliver or provide
any obscene writing, picture, record or other representation or
embodiment of the obscene; or
(2) Presents or directs an obscene play, dance or other performance or
participates directly in that portion thereof which makes it obscene; or
(3) Publishes, exhibits or otherwise makes available anything obscene; or
(4) Exhibits, presents, rents, sells, delivers or provides; or offers or agrees
to exhibit, present, rent or to provide: any obscene still or motion
picture, film, filmstrip, or projection slide, or sound recording, sound
tape, or sound track, or any matter or material of whatever form which
is a representation, embodiment, performance, or publication of the
(b) For purposes of this Article any material is obscene if:
(1) The material depicts or describes in a patently offensive way sexual
conduct specifically defined by subsection (c) of this section; and
(2) The average person applying contemporary community standards
relating to the depiction or description of sexual matters would find that
the material taken as a whole appeals to the prurient interest in sex; and
(3) The material lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value;
NC General Statutes - Chapter 14 Article 26 4
(4) The material as used is not protected or privileged under the
Constitution of the United States or the Constitution of North Carolina.
(c) As used in this Article, "sexual conduct" means:
(1) Vaginal, anal, or oral intercourse, whether actual or simulated, normal
or perverted; or
(2) Masturbation, excretory functions, or lewd exhibition of uncovered
genitals; or
(3) An act or condition that depicts torture, physical restraint by being
fettered or bound, or flagellation of or by a nude person or a person clad
in undergarments or in revealing or bizarre costume.
(d) Obscenity shall be judged with reference to ordinary adults except that it shall
be judged with reference to children or other especially susceptible audiences if it appears
from the character of the material or the circumstances of its dissemination to be
especially designed for or directed to such children or audiences.
(e) It shall be unlawful for any person, firm or corporation to knowingly and
intentionally create, buy, procure or possess obscene material with the purpose and intent
of disseminating it unlawfully.
(f) It shall be unlawful for a person, firm or corporation to advertise or otherwise
promote the sale of material represented or held out by said person, firm or corporation as
(g) Violation of this section is a Class I felony.
(h) Obscene material disseminated, procured, or promoted in violation of this
section is contraband.
(i) Nothing in this section shall be deemed to preempt local government
regulation of the location or operation of sexually oriented businesses to the extent
consistent with the constitutional protection afforded free speech. (1971, c. 405, s. 1;
1973, c. 1434, s. 1; 1985, c. 703, s. 1; 1993, c. 539, s. 1194; 1994, Ex. Sess., c. 24, s.
14(c); 1998-46, s. 2.)
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