Illinois Compiled Statutes
Information maintained by the Legislative
Updating the database of the Illinois Compiled Statutes (ILCS) is an ongoing process.
Recent laws may not yet be included in the ILCS database, but they are found on this site as Public
soon after they become law. For information concerning the relationship between statutes and Public Acts, refer to the
Because the statute database is maintained primarily for legislative drafting purposes,
statutory changes are sometimes included in the statute database before they take effect.
If the source note at the end of a Section of the statutes includes a Public Act that has
not yet taken effect, the version of the law that is currently in effect may have already
been removed from the database and you should refer to that Public Act to see the changes
made to the current law.
720 ILCS 5/11-20
(720 ILCS 5/11-20)
(from Ch. 38, par. 11-20)
(a) Elements of the Offense.
A person commits obscenity when, with knowledge of the nature or content
thereof, or recklessly failing to exercise reasonable inspection which
would have disclosed the nature or content thereof, he or she:
(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
(4) Performs an obscene act or otherwise presents an
obscene exhibition of his or her body for gain; or
(5) Creates, buys, procures or possesses obscene
matter or material with intent to disseminate it in violation of this Section, or of the penal laws or regulations of any other jurisdiction; or
(6) Advertises or otherwise promotes the sale of
material represented or held out by him or her to be obscene, whether or not it is obscene.
(b) Obscene Defined.
Any material or performance is obscene if: (1) the average person,
applying contemporary adult community standards, would find that, taken as
a whole, it appeals to the prurient interest; and (2) the average person,
applying contemporary adult community standards, would find that it depicts
or describes, in a patently offensive way, ultimate sexual acts or
sadomasochistic sexual acts, whether normal or perverted, actual or
simulated, or masturbation, excretory functions or lewd exhibition of the
genitals; and (3) taken as a whole, it lacks serious literary, artistic,
political or scientific value.
(c) Interpretation of Evidence.
Obscenity shall be judged with reference to ordinary adults, except that
it shall be judged with reference to children or other specially
susceptible audiences if it appears from the character of the material or
the circumstances of its dissemination to be specially designed for or
directed to such an audience.
Where circumstances of production, presentation, sale, dissemination,
distribution, or publicity indicate that material is being commercially
exploited for the sake of its prurient appeal, such evidence is probative
with respect to the nature of the matter and can justify the conclusion
that the matter is lacking in serious literary, artistic, political or
In any prosecution for an offense under this Section evidence shall be
admissible to show:
(1) The character of the audience for which the
material was designed or to which it was directed;
(2) What the predominant appeal of the material would
be for ordinary adults or a special audience, and what effect, if any, it would probably have on the behavior of such people;
(3) The artistic, literary, scientific, educational
or other merits of the material, or absence thereof;
(4) The degree, if any, of public acceptance of the
(5) Appeal to prurient interest, or absence thereof,
in advertising or other promotion of the material;
(6) Purpose of the author, creator, publisher or
Obscenity is a Class A misdemeanor. A second or subsequent offense is a
Class 4 felony.
(e) Permissive Inference.
The trier of fact may infer an intent to disseminate from the creation, purchase, procurement or possession of a mold, engraved
plate or other embodiment of obscenity specially adapted for reproducing
multiple copies, or the possession of more than 3 copies of obscene
(f) Affirmative Defenses.
It shall be an affirmative defense to obscenity that the dissemination:
(1) Was not for gain and was made to personal
associates other than children under 18 years of age;
(2) Was to institutions or individuals having
scientific or other special justification for possession of such material.
(g) Forfeiture of property. A person who has been convicted
previously of the offense of obscenity and who is convicted of a
second or subsequent offense of obscenity is subject to the property forfeiture provisions set forth in Article 124B of the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1963.
(Source: P.A. 96-712, eff. 1-1-10; 96-1551, eff. 7-1-11