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Indiana Child Pornography Laws

Child pornography is illegal in Indiana, as it is throughout the U.S. Penalties vary based on the conduct committed, such as creating child pornography versus possessing a sexually explicit photo of a child. Sentences also vary based on the age of the child, with harsher sentences for bad acts committed on children who are under 14 compared to those committed on children who are 14 to 17 years old.

Details about Indiana child pornography laws are outlined in the table below. For more information, see the FindLaw Sex Crimes section.

Code Sections

Indiana Code Title 35 Criminal Law & Procedure: Articles 42 - Offenses Against the Person and 49 Obscenity and Pornography

What is Prohibited?

The specific forms of child pornography and sexual contact or solicitation of children that are prohibited are described below by the code section on child pornography:

  • 35-42-4-4: Child exploitation by knowingly creating, selling, sending, or presenting materials showing sexual conduct or showing the genitals or breasts of children under 18 whether in person or on a computer, a Level 5 felony. Possession of child pornography by knowingly having pictures or films of depicting sexual conduct by a child under 18 that lacks a literary, scientific, or educational reason, a Level 6 felony.
  • 35-49-3-1: Sale, distribution or exhibition of child pornography showing sexual conduct of children or adults appearing to be under 18 is a Level 6 felony, whereas selling pornography with adults over 18 is a Class A misdemeanor.
  • 35-49-3-2: Knowingly showing, managing, presenting photos or films of an "obscene performance" (average person applying contemporary standards finds the performance offensive, sexual, and lacking literary, artistic, scientific, or political value) of children under 18 is a Level 6 felony, of adults it's a Class A misdemeanor.
  • 35-49-3-3: Dissemination of matter or conducting performance harmful to minors is essentially showing or giving porn to minors or sexual performances in front of minors that appeals to their interest in sex, a Level 6 felony.

Other possible charges, especially for the creators of child pornography in Indiana, include:

  • 35-42-3.5-1: Sexual trafficking of a minor under 18 by an adult 18 or older who knowingly sells or sends a child for prostitution or other sexual conduct, a Level 2 felony.
  • 35-42-4-3: Child Molesting by having sex or other sexual contact with a child under 14 years old. While it’s usually a Level 3 felony, it's a Level 1 (highest) felony if person committing it is over 21 or there were weapons, serious injury, or date rape drugs involved. Similarly, for fondling or touching a child under 14, usually it’s a Level 4 felony. It's a Level 2 if the same aggravating factors are present.
  • 35-42-4-5: Sexual conduct in presence of a minor when an adult 18 or older knowingly causes a 14 or 15-year-old child to touch himself or herself for the adult's sexual pleasure it’s a Level 5 felony. However, if the child is under 14, it's a Level 4 felony. If force, weapons, or incapacity is involved, it's a Level 3 felony.


Penalties for child pornography in Indiana vary depending on the conduct committed and age of the victim. Below are sentencing ranges for the applicable felonies and misdemeanor levels.

  • Level 1 Felony - 20-40 years incarceration and a fine of up to $10,000
  • Level 2 Felony - 10-30 years incarceration and a fine of up to $10,000 (sexual trafficking of a minor)
  • Level 3 Felony - 3-16 years incarceration and a fine of up to $10,000
  • Level 4 Felony - 2-12 years incarceration and a fine of up to $10,000
  • Level 5 Felony - 1-6 years incarceration and a fine up to $10,000 (child exploitation)
  • Level 6 Felony - 6 months to 2.5 years incarceration and a fine up to $10,000 (possession of child porn, sale of child porn)
  • Class A Misdemeanor - up to 1 year incarceration and a fine of up to $5,000 (sale of adult porn)

Note: On July 1, 2014 Indiana criminal law changed from classifying felonies as Classes A-D to Levels 1-6 as described above. Some individuals, literature, or websites may still refer to the old system. Contact an experienced Indiana criminal defense lawyer for up to date information.


Much like statutory rape laws, consent is no defense to child pornography charges as the child wasn't of the age to consent to the sexual conduct and its distribution. However, innocence, insanity, the material being for educational or another valuable purpose, and other defenses may apply.

Indiana also created specific "sexting" defenses under Indiana Code Sections 34-42-4-4 and 35-49-3-4. Since July 1, 2014 it's a defense to having or disseminating child pornography if the defendant is less than 22 years old, less than 4 years older than the child depicted, they're in a dating or personal relationship, and the alleged victim consented to this behavior. This defense doesn't apply when the defendant shares the photo or film with others.

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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Indiana Child Pornography Laws: Related Resources

Charged Under Indiana Child Pornography Laws? Get Legal Help

If you've been accused of violating Indiana's child pornography laws, whether through sexting, mere possession, or even distribution, you'll want to know more about the laws and consequences of a conviction. The good news is that there are many attorneys in your area who can assist in your defense. Contact a skilled sex crime attorney in Indiana today to discuss your situation and learn about your options.

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