What Is Considered Illegal To Search And View Online?

Last Updated on July 29, 2022 by Fair Punishment Team

You might be curious what is forbidden from being viewed online in light of the numerous sex offenses that have been reported and are based on a variety of different factors.

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Given that using the Internet may result in accusations of sex crimes, which may carry penalties and even jail time, it is a crucial issue to address.

In this article, we will be discussing what you can and should avoid searching and viewing online. 

Watching Adult Porn On The Internet Is Not Illegal

You should first be aware of what porn, or pornography, is. In Texas, any written or visual anything that portrays sexual or obscene activities intended to arouse sexual desire.

You should also be aware that accessing such pornographic content online is not considered to be illegal.

That’s a good thing, especially for people who don’t go looking for porn online, as pornographic material frequently shows up by accident in unrelated searches or in website advertisements on a computer, tablet, or phone used by an innocent user.

However, in Texas, in order to legally access porn on the Internet, a person must:

  • Considered an adult. Being an adult in Texas, is defined as having reached the age of 18
  • Only watch content with consenting adults 18 or older.
  • Don’t distribute porn to minors under the age of 18.

Therefore, it is lawful in Texas for consenting individuals over the age of 18 to own, buy, or watch pornography, whether over the Internet or another channel.

Only as long as the content shows you are viewing or have purchasing features, consenting adults over the age of 18. It is only when the content involves minors or is sold to minors when you could be arrested and face charges. 

Watching Child Pornography On The Internet Is Illegal

The legality of selling (see also ‘Scalping Tickets: What Does The Law Say?‘), buying, or watching pornographic material online also depends on the circumstances, even though doing so may be protected by law.

For instance, both Texas Penal Code Title 9 Sec. 43.26 and federal law prohibit the possession or promotion of child pornography.

Such laws carry severe penalties, including jail time, fines, and life-long registration as a sex offender. Even well-known people are becoming aware of how severe child porn accusations might be.

Mark Salling, an actor who played a major role on Fox’s Glee for six seasons, awaits 4 to 7 years in prison. Along with at least $50,000 in fines, and a permanent record as a sex offender for having child porn on his computer.

Child Porn Laws In Texas

When someone intentionally or deliberately acquires, or intentionally or purposefully tries to access with the intent to view, visual content that visually depicts a child.

Who is clearly younger than 18 years old, at the time the image of the child was produced who is engaging in sexual conduct, according to Texas law, it is illegal.

Such offenses can be classified as first degree, second degree, or third-degree felonies, which all have the potential for lengthy prison sentences. Particularly child porn punishments can be unreasonable.

Federal Laws Involving Online Porn

Although child pornography is not protected by the U.S. The Constitution, numerous federal laws addressing porn on the internet in general and child porn in particular have recently been overturned by courts. 

This is because they are seen as being unconstitutional under the First Amendment. In general, recent rulings have sided with those who claim that government regulation of Internet pornography constitutes censorship.

However, there is still a significant difference between watching and downloading porn. Remember that law enforcement agencies frequently possess the tools necessary to monitor a person’s IP address and other online connections.

However, it may be challenging to charge someone for simply browsing a website that displays pornography of any kind. Thus, it is much safer to watch porn online without downloading it when it comes to what is prohibited from being viewed online.

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Age Of The Person In The Pornographic Content

Sometimes it can be difficult to know the age of someone by looking at them. The following procedures can be used to determine whether the person in the recording is at least 18 years old if there is a doubt in the jury’s mind about that fact:

  • Examination of the child,
  • Examination of the image or video that depicts the child performing the sexual act.
  • Oral evidence of a spectator to the sexual act describing the child’s age based on how the youngster looked at the time.
  • Based on the look of the kid performing the sexual act, expert medical testimony.
  • Any other procedure permitted by statute or the common law norms of proof.

Consequences Of Owning Child Pornography

In Texas, possessing child pornography is often a third-degree felony, punishable by 2 to 20 years in jail.

The stigma of the arrest, and the need to register as a sex offender for life, and the fact that the innocent until proven guilty seems to be lost. All of these things makes being charged with possessing child pornography far more difficult than any other third-degree felony. 

Possession of child pornography is normally a third-degree felony, but if the offender has a prior conviction for possession or distribution of child pornography, the charge may be increased to carry a more severe sentence.

 A first-degree felony charge results from two past convictions or more, whereas one prior conviction results in a second-degree criminal charge.

Additionally, if found guilty of possessing child pornography, the offender will have to sign a lifetime sex offender registration. When needed, failing to register as a sex offender will result in a second felony prosecution.

Defense Cases Against Charges For Online Porn

When allegations of online child pornography are present, educated and experienced legal representation is crucial. You should consider your Internet porn defense if you are facing an unjustified arrest for online porn, especially child porn.

The gravity of charges relating to the possession of child pornography on a computer is fully understood by an experienced computer crimes attorney. Even a first-time offender may receive harsh consequences as a result of this.

Is An Image Actually Child Pornography?

At the state level, this defense is more comprehensive than it is at the federal level. 

In Texas, if a person “knows that the material depicts the child” engaging in sexual activity, they are guilty of a crime if they knowingly or intentionally possess “visual content that visually depicts a child younger than 18 years old at the time the image of the child was made who is engaging in sexual acts.”  

Contrary to the federal law, the Texas law’s straightforward language makes it clear that only material that “really” portrays a kid is prohibited from possession, not anything that merely “appears” to show one.

Affirmative Defenses

In Texas, there are a variety of affirmative defenses that a lawyer can assert on behalf of a client to prevent child pornography charges. A person generally uses an affirmative defense when they acknowledge the behavior but offer a legal argument.

A successful defense case would include one of the following:

  • At the time of the violation, the defendant was the child’s spouse.
  • The behavior was carried out for a legitimate objective of lawful legislative, judicial, medical, psychological, or psychiatric intent.
  • Only two years separate the defendant from the minor.


We hope this article has given you an insight into what you can view on the internet and what you should avoid. If you are facing these charges, it is important to get an experienced lawyer to help you with your case