Voyeurism is defined as secretly observing another person's intimate areas with lewd, lascivious, or indecent intent in a place where that person has a reasonable expectation of privacy. Often called "peeping Tom" offenses, accusations of voyeurism can have long-lasting consequences on your career, housing, and family life. If you have been arrested or accused of voyeurism, you should seek help from an experienced criminal defense attorney who will fight to protect your reputation and future.
The Crime of Voyeurism in Florida
Florida Statute 810.14 prohibits members of the public from looking through windows, under or over bathroom stalls, through fences, or otherwise observing someone's underwear or genitals. The law is restricted to sexual areas that are typically covered by clothing. For example, watching someone in a bathing suit through a window would not qualify as voyeurism.
Video Voyeurism Charges in Florida
Florida Statute 810.145 makes it illegal to secretly record or broadcast someone in an intimate state for reasons of personal interest or sexual gratification. Personal interest could include amusement, entertainment, profit, or degradation of the victim (such as "upskirting" or installing a hidden camera in someone's bedroom). If your voyeurism offense included a phone, camera, or another imaging device to record the victim's private areas, you would face enhanced criminal penalties.
Penalties for Voyeurism and Video Voyeurism
Penalties for voyeurism depend on many factors, including the age of the victim and the defendant, the number of previous convictions, and whether the act was recorded or broadcast. If convicted, you could face the following punishment:
- First offense or defendant under 19 years old. First-time voyeurism, or video voyeurism committed by someone under age 19, is a first-degree misdemeanor. It is punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
- Multiple offenses or defendant 19 years old. A second conviction for voyeurism, or video voyeurism committed by someone over age 19, is a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
- Prior convictions for video voyeurism. If you have been convicted of a similar crime before, you face a second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison or probation and up to $10,000 in fines.
- Video voyeurism against a child. Video voyeurism crimes against minors are second-degree felonies with a Level 6 offense severity ranking. If convicted, you will be listed on the sex offender registry and face up to 15 years in prison or probation and up to $10,000 in fines. You will also be ineligible to seal your criminal record.
It's not unusual for voyeurism defendants to be charged with additional criminal offenses. If you have observed the accuser more than once or have videos of the accuser, you could face stalking or cyberstalking charges. You could also face longer prison sentences and harsher penalties if you made copies of the video and disseminated it to a larger audience.
Fighting Against a Charge of Voyeurism in Florida
In many cases, voyeurism accusations are made due to innocent mistakes and the embarrassment of the alleged victim. Your defense will depend on the case's specifics, but you must defeat the prosecutor's evidence to avoid conviction.
In a voyeurism case, the prosecutor must prove that:
- You secretly observed the accuser. If you were hiking and stumbled onto someone in a state of undress, your actions may not be seen as intentional or secretive.
- The accuser was in a house, structure, or vehicle where they had a reasonable expectation of privacy. A "reasonable expectation" of privacy is a time and place when a person can undress without expecting to be watched. This may not apply if the accuser was undressing behind a bush or naked while lying on the ground.
- Your actions had a lewd, lascivious, or indecent intent. If you looked through a friend's window because they didn't answer the door, you might claim that your only goal was to check on your friend's well-being.
Speak to a Florida Criminal Defense Lawyer for Free
If you have been accused of voyeurism, board-certified criminal trial attorney Robert David Malove offers affordable payment plans and a free consultation so that you can learn your options at no cost to you. Contact us online or call us at 954-861-0384 today to tell us about your case.