Voyeurism

Voyeurism has always existed in some form throughout history, but as a criminal offense in Florida, voyeurism has grown exponentially in recent years. The reason has to do with the fact that gains in technology have made it easier than ever to spy on other people and record private acts.

There are two Florida statutes that address the crime of voyeurism:

  • F.S. 810.14 – Voyeurism
  • F.S. 810.145 – Video voyeurism, video voyeurism dissemination and commercial video voyeurism dissemination

Fort Lauderdale criminal defense lawyers at The Ansara Law Firm are adept at handling both types of charges and minimizing the impact of such charges on your future.

There are several provisions of each statute that are highly specific and that prosecutors must prove to secure a conviction. When our defense attorneys can raise reasonable doubts about any of these elements, we can successfully obtain a dismissal or acquittal. Even in cases with overwhelming evidence, we can often negotiate for a lesser charge or at least a reduced penalty.

What Is Voyeurism?

F.S. 810.14 involves the secret observation of another person with lewd, lascivious or indecent intent when the other person is either in a dwelling, structure or vehicle and that location provides a reasonable expectation of privacy.

It can also include cases where someone secretly observes another person’s private areas where the alleged victim has a reasonable expectation of privacy. In this case, “intimate area” refers to any part of a person’s body or undergarments that is either covered by undergarments or clothing or that the person intends to protect from view of the public.

What Is Video Voyeurism?

F.S. 810.145 involves secretly recording someone who may be in an intimate state, typically for sexual gratification or sexual interest.

The primary difference between video voyeurism and general voyeurism in Florida is that video voyeurism is carried out with some type of imaging device or technology. This could include a camera, but it might also include a smartphone.

Although motivation is usually for entertainment or sexual gratification, it can also planned for purposes of profiting. It involves filming:

  • Another person undressing/ dressing or otherwise exposing their bodies.
  • Through or under a person’s clothing to view the person’s undergarments or body.

The offense is far more serious when it involves a minor child. Anyone under the age of 18 is considered a minor, though offenses to children under 16 are deemed especially egregious. There are increased penalties and mandatory sex offender registration in cases where:

  • Child was under 16 and offender was 24 or older.
  • Child was under 16 and offender was older than 18 and responsible for child’s welfare.
  • Child was enrolled as a student at a school where offender over the age of 18 was employed.
Penalties for Voyeurism

The punishment guidelines for crimes of voyeurism are rather complex, but generally will depend on the underlying circumstances of the case, but they will be higher for offenders who are 19 or older.

It should be noted that unlike many other offenses, a conviction for voyeurism results in a permanent criminal record for which the individual will be ineligible to ever have sealed – even if he or she has never had any prior offenses.

Let’s start with simple voyeurism. A first-time offender convicted of voyeurism under F.S. 810.14 will be penalized for a first-degree misdemeanor. This carries a maximum penalty of:

  • One year in jail.
  • One year of probation.
  • Up to $1,000 in fines.

If you have prior convictions for voyeurism, the crime is bumped up to a third-degree felony, in which case defendant will face maximum penalties that include:

  • Five years in prison.
  • Five years of probation.
  • Up to $5,000 in fines.

Regarding video voyeurism, there are many different “what-ifs” involved.

In cases where defendant is under 19 and convicted of video voyeurism, it’s considered a first-degree misdemeanor, which carries maximum penalties of:

  • One year in jail.
  • One year of probation.
  • Up to $1,000 in fines.

In cases where defendant is older than 19 and convicted of video voyeurism, it’s considered a third-degree felony, which means the following maximum punishment:

  • Five years in prison.
  • Five years of probation.
  • Up to $5,000 in fines.

If you have a prior conviction for video voyeurism, then a second or subsequent conviction is considered a second-degree felony – regardless of your age. That means maximum penalties that include:

  • Fifteen years in prison.
  • Fifteen years of probation.
  • Up to $10,000 in fines.

If the alleged victim in the case was a child, the court is required to impose a sex offender designation on offender, and can also order a maximum of:

  • Fifteen years in prison.
  • Fifteen years of probation.
  • Up to $10,000 in fines.
Defending Allegations of Voyeurism/ Video Voyeurism

Because there are several specific provisions that must be met in order to secure a conviction, our defense lawyers can target any one of these. A few we may explore:

  • Alleged victim had no expectation of privacy. You have every right to film or observe someone who has no reasonable expectation of privacy. For example, if you are at a nude beach and observe someone topless, that’s not criminal voyeurism. It could, however, still be illegal to disseminate that recording if you don’t have the other person’s permission.

  • Security surveillance. If you have a security surveillance system posted conspicuously on site or you have some warning that the area is under video surveillance, this is lawful. However, people still have an expectation of privacy if they are in a restroom stall or dressing room.

Our South Florida criminal defense lawyers can help you formulate a comprehensive and effective defense strategy.

If you have been charged with voyeurism in South Florida, contact the Fort Lauderdale Criminal Defense Lawyers at The Ansara Law Firm by calling (877) 277-3780.