In Florida, the crime of video voyeurism is a serious offense that is punishable by up to fifteen years in prison. A conviction for this offense can have serious legal, emotional, and financial repercussions, so if you have been charged with video voyeurism, it is important to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help protect your rights.Video Voyeurism
In order to establish a charge of video voyeurism, the prosecution must show that the suspect:
- Secretly observed or recorded another person who was exposing his or her body at a place and time where that person had a reasonable expectation of privacy;
- For the purpose of the viewer’s entertainment, sexual gratification, or profit.
Places where a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy include, among others:
- Residential dwellings;
- Locker rooms;
- Fitting rooms; and
- Tanning booths.
If an individual secretly uses an imaging device to record or view under or through the clothing of another person, without consent, and for the purpose of viewing the body or undergarments of the victim, he or she can also be charged with video voyeurism.Dissemination
The distribution of voyeuristic images can also be a crime. A suspect has committed the offense of video voyeurism dissemination if he or she knows, or has reason to believe, that an image was created secretly and without the subject’s consent, but nonetheless intentionally transfers the image to someone else for the purpose of entertainment or sexual gratification.
The charge is elevated to commercial video voyeurism if the individual sells or transfers the image to a third party.Exceptions
In Florida, there are a variety of exceptions to the video voyeurism law. For instance, a law enforcement agency’s use of imaging devices to conduct surveillance is not considered video voyeurism. Similarly, security systems and video surveillance devices do not fall within the purview of the law when a written notice is conspicuously displayed, or a camera is installed in such a way that its presence is immediately obvious.Penalties
The penalties for committing this offense vary in seriousness depending on the offender’s age. For example, a person who is under nineteen years old will be charged with a first degree misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to one year’s imprisonment and the payment of a $1,000 fine. However, an offender who is convicted of this crime and is older than nineteen years will be charged with a third degree felony, which carries a five year prison sentence. Repeat offenders will be charged with a second degree felony and may receive up to fifteen years in prison.Defenses
A person who has been charged with video voyeurism can assert a number of defenses, including:
- A lack of knowledge that the camera existed;
- That consent was given by the subject;
- An absence of lascivious intent; or
- That a reasonable expectation of privacy did not exist.
Video voyeurism offenses carry serious legal penalties in Florida. If you have been arrested for or charged with video voyeurism, please contact West Palm Beach criminal defense attorney William Wallshein for a free consultation.