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A San Diego Criminal Defense Lawyer Explains the Possible Criminal Penalties You Face for Possessing Loli in California

California’s child pornography laws protect children from sexual exploitation.

Violators receive harsh prison sentences and face other repercussions like having to register for life as a sex offender.

However, whether lolicon is illegal depends on an analysis of the cartoons in question.

If you face child pornography charges in California, you will need a tough, aggressive, and accomplished sex crimes defense attorney to protect your rights.

Having a wrongful conviction on your record for child pornography could ruin virtually everything in your life. Do not let this happen to you. 

To get started with one of our San Diego criminal defense lawyers, contact us online or call (619) 598-1703 today. We want to hear your story.

What is Loli in California?

Loli, short for Lolicon, is an animated cartoon that depicts young girls performing sexual acts.

The term lolicon is a Japanese word that describes an attraction to young girls or visual arts showing young girls.

The word “manga” refers to comic books or graphic novels that may also contain lolicon.

Some people find loli anime attractive because the characters look like children, even if the storyline suggests that the character is an adult. 

Does California Have Loli Laws?

Although California’s penal code does not contain a provision directly answering the question, is lolicon illegal?

California Penal Code 311.11 outlaws possessing, creating, publishing, or displaying child pornography.

Therefore, loli could be illegal in California if the depictions meet the definition of child pornography in California.

Without a specific statute banning lolicon in California, courts must determine if the material in question is child pornography.

A California appeals court decision requires an actual child under eighteen to be shown.

The person possessing the material must know the person is under eighteen for the crime to meet the definition of child pornography.

Otherwise, the First Amendment protects possessing lolicon in California.

Facing Child Pornography Charges?

Speak to a California sex crime attorney from the Law Offices of Kerry L. Armstrong, APLC today.

What Is Child Pornography in California?

Under California Penal Code 311, child pornography is any material depicting people seventeen years of age or younger participating in sexual conduct.

The term sexual conduct refers to actual or simulated sexual intercourse, oral intercourse, anal intercourse, and masturbation. 

To be charged with a crime involving child pornography, the accused must knowingly possess child pornography.

Therefore, the person must know the material in their possession is child pornography and that the individuals depicted in the material participating in sexual conduct are under the age of eighteen.

California also outlaws some pornographic material based on obscenity. Obscenity in California refers to material that:

  • Shows or describes sexual conduct in an offensive manner;
  • Allows a reasonable person to conclude that the material lacks any artistic, scientific, literary, or political value; and
  • Permits the average adult to conclude the material appeals to the prurient interest.

Prurient interest refers to a morbid fascination with nudity, sex, or excrement. 

A person convicted in California of possessing child pornography could serve up to three years in prison for each image.

Also, anyone convicted of possessing child pornography in California must register as a convicted sex offender.

Where Is Lolicon Illegal?

The answer to the question, is lolicon illegal? Is less certain when applying federal law.

Federal laws, including the PROTECT ACT of 2003, prohibiting child porn state that the matter must be obscene and depict an actual minor or a depiction of a minor in an image engaging in sexual conduct.

Also, federal law specifically bans using computer-generated images of a child or an image that is indistinguishable from a photo of a child engaged in sexual conduct.

Cartoons like anime could meet the definition of obscenity under this law.

Anyone convicted of possessing child pornography under federal law faces between five and twenty years in federal prison if they received or distributed it. 

Mere possession in federal court carries prison time of up to twenty years.  

You could successfully defend against this charge if you show that the persons depicted are consenting adults or not actual minors.

Contact a California Sex Crime Attorney Today

If you face child pornography charges in California state court or federal court, you need a dedicated team of advocates who are willing to go the extra mile for you.

At The Law Offices of Kerry L. Armstrong, APLC, our California sex crimes attorneys stand committed to helping you fight to protect your rights.

We offer free initial consultations.

If you are interested in representation from a successful sex crimes defense lawyer in San Diego, click or call us today at 619-304-1359 to schedule your free and confidential consultation.

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Kerry L. Armstrong


Attorney Kerry Armstrong opened up his law firm in June 2007. Mr. Armstrong attended Thomas Jefferson School of Law, San Diego, California, and received his B.S. from Middle Tennessee State University. Kerry L. Armstrong became certified by the State Bar of California’s Board of Legal Specialization for criminal law in August 2020, making him one of the few criminal defense attorneys with a criminal law legal specialization certificate in San Diego County.  Between 2014 – 2019, Mr. Armstrong was selected for inclusion in the California Super Lawyers list, an honor only awarded to 5% of the nation’s attorneys.