Mississippi Child Pornography Laws

Child pornography is a crime in every state. Generally, child pornography laws make it a crime to produce, possess, distribute, or sell child pornography. Under Mississippi's child pornography laws, child pornography is defined as any material that depicts a child under 18 years old engaging in any sexually explicit conduct.

The following chart highlights Mississippi's main child pornography laws.

Code Section

Mississippi Code section 97-5-31 through 35: Exploitation of Children

Definitions

"Child" means any individual who is less than 18 years old.

"Sexually explicit conduct" means actual or simulated:

  • Sexual intercourse (including genital-genital, oral-genital, anal-genital, or oral-anal) between people of the same or opposite sex
  • Bestiality
  • Masturbation
  • Sadistic or masochistic abuse
  • Lascivious exhibition of the genital or pubic area of any person, or
  • Fondling (or any other erotic touching) of the genitals, pubic area, buttocks, anus, or breast

What's Prohibited?

Producing Child Pornography:

  • Causing, soliciting, or knowingly permitting any child to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing any visual depiction of the conduct
  • Filming, video taping, or otherwise depicting or recording a child engaging in sexually explicit conduct, or
  • Knowingly enticing, inducing, persuading, seducing, soliciting, advising, coercing, or ordering a child to meet with a person for the purpose of engaging in sexually explicit conduct

Possessing Child Pornography:

  • Possessing any photograph, drawing, sketch, film, video tape, or other visual depiction of an actual child engaging in sexually explicit conduct

Distributing Child Pornography:

  • Receiving with the intent to distribute, distribute for sale, sell, or attempt to sell any visual depiction of a child engaging in sexually explicit conduct, or
  • Knowingly sending, transporting, transmitting, shipping, mailing, or receiving any visual depiction of an actual child engaging in sexually explicit conduct

Undercover Police Officers

The fact that an undercover police officer posed as a child in the course of an investigation isn't a defense to a child pornography prosecution.

Jurisdiction

The jurisdiction of this law covers all of the offenses listed above if all or part of the offense occurs in Mississippi, or if the transmission that constitute the offense either originates or is received in Mississippi.

Penalties

First offense: Felony. Punishable by a fine of between $50,000 and $500,000 and by imprisonment for between five and 40 years.

Second (or subsequent) offense: Felony. Punishable by a fine of between $100,000 and $1,000,000 and by imprisonment for between 20 years and life in prison.

Sexting Laws

"Sexting" is the act of sending an explicit photo or message with a cellphone. While sexting may not appear to be criminal in nature, minors who sext naked photos of themselves to others may be in violation of Mississippi's child pornography laws because Mississippi doesn't have an exception for minors who sext other minors. Therefore, it is possible for two teenagers who are sexting each other to violate the state's child pornography laws and face possible jail time.

For additional information see Child Pornography and Selfies: What You Need to Know.

Additional Resources

State laws change frequently. For case specific information regarding Mississippi's child pornography laws contact a local criminal defense attorney.

Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney

Contact a qualified attorney.