If you are convicted of voyeurism or video voyeurism, you could damage your business, home life, and reputation irreparably. You will need a skilled Florida sex crime attorney to lessen or dismiss the charges against you.
Types of Voyeurism Crimes in Florida
Under Florida Statute § 810.14, voyeurism is the act of secretly observing another person in a lewd or lascivious manner and with indecent intent while the person is in a place where they have a reasonable expectation of privacy.
Examples of voyeurism might include:
- Observing someone in a dressing room at a clothing store
- Watching someone in their home through a window or vent
- Looking through a gap in a bathroom stall
- Upskirting, or using a camera or mirror to look under another person’s clothing
- Using hidden cameras to observe someone’s undergarments or intimate areas while they are in a place where they expect privacy
- Video voyeurism, or secretly recording someone in an intimate state for sexual interest or gratification
Potential Penalties for Voyeurism and Video Voyeurism
Voyeurism carries severe penalties due to the vulnerable and non-consensual status of the victim. Depending on the circumstances and the number of incidents, voyeurism and video voyeurism may lead to charges of stalking. Video voyeurism of an acquaintance or ex-partner could be used to add additional charges of revenge porn or cyberstalking.
Penalties for voyeurism in Florida include:
- Jail time. First offenses of voyeurism and acts of video voyeurism committed by offenders under 19 years of age are charged as first-degree misdemeanors. Punishments include various combinations of 12 months in jail, 12 months on probation, and a fine of $1,000.
- Prison sentences. Third-degree felonies are reserved for offenders with multiple voyeurism convictions or video voyeurism offenders over the age of 19. Defendants face up to five years in prison, up to five years of probation, and a fine of $5,000.
- Sex offender registration. Multiple criminal convictions or committing video voyeurism against a child is a second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years of prison or probation and $10,000 in fines. You may also be designated as a sex offender, requiring you to register with the state and periodically check in with law enforcement for the rest of your life. Sex offender registrants often have difficulty finding a place to live and face intense social stigma.
- Permanent criminal record. Anyone convicted of voyeurism in Florida will have a lifelong criminal record that cannot be sealed. This can significantly impact your career path, housing, education, and employment.
Defenses to Voyeurism Charges in Florida
There are several exceptions and explanations involved in voyeurism accusations. One of the most significant exceptions requires intent. A charge of voyeurism may be dropped if you can prove that you watched someone in an undressed state but did not have an indecent intent—such as accidentally opening the wrong dressing room door.
The intent requirements for video voyeurism charges are broader and go beyond the sexual motivations of the accused. A recording may be taken for personal reasons, including the accused’s arousal or the degradation of the victim. However, it could also be intended to be shared with others for profit, amusement, entertainment, or gratification.
While charges of voyeurism may be increased to video voyeurism, the presence of an imaging device is not enough to show intent. Just because you had a phone with a camera at the time of the incident doesn’t mean you intended to record someone in an intimate position.
Contact an Okaloosa County Criminal Defense Attorney
If you or a loved one have been charged with a crime in Okaloosa County, call Flaherty & Merrifield today at (850) 243-6097 for a free consultation.