Voyeurism Crimes in Florida
If you are accused of voyeurism under the provisions of Section 810.14, Florida Statutes, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Meltzer & Bell. The prosecutor for the State of Florida must prove that the victim had an expectation of privacy under the facts of this case.
These crimes can include placing a video camera in a bathroom or dressing room without the knowledge of the person undressing in that room. Charges for voyeurism have also been brought against people taking photographs of a person by placing the camera in a position to see up a woman’s skirt.
Although sometimes the person accused and the person making the accusation are strangers, many of these crimes involve allegations of “revenge” porn filed or shared with former spouse or lover. In some of these cases, the videos are even uploaded online and posted with the victim’s name to further embarrass and harass the victim.
Any charge for voyeurism or video voyeurism is serious. Prosecutors and law enforcement officers receive special training on how to investigate and prosecuted the crimes. You also need an experienced criminal defense attorney focused on your defense.
Attorneys for Voyeurism Crimes in Florida
The attorneys at Meltzer & Bell in Fort Lauderdale, FL, represent clients charged with a wide range of sexually motivated crimes including lewd and lascivious actions, computer crimes against children, voyeurism, and video voyeurism.
With offices in Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, our attorneys represent clients charged with computer crimes and sexually motivated crimes throughout Broward County, Palm Beach County, and the surrounding areas in South Florida.
Call us at (561) 557-8686 for a free consultation to discuss your case.
Video Voyeurism in Florida
Section 810.145, F.S., establishes the crime of video voyeurism. A person commits the offense of video voyeurism if that person:
For his or her own amusement, entertainment, sexual arousal, gratification, or profit, or for the purpose of degrading or abusing another person, intentionally uses or installs an imaging device to secretly view, broadcast, or record a person, without that person’s knowledge and consent, who is dressing, undressing, or privately exposing the body, at a place and time when that person has a reasonable expectation of privacy…
For the amusement, entertainment, sexual arousal, gratification, or profit of another, or on behalf of another, intentionally permits the use or installation of an imaging device to secretly view, broadcast, or record a person, without that person’s knowledge and consent, who is dressing, undressing, or privately exposing the body, at a place and time when that person has a reasonable expectation of privacy; or
For the amusement, entertainment, sexual arousal, gratification, or profit of oneself or another, or on behalf of oneself or another, intentionally uses an imaging device to secretly view, broadcast, or record under or through the clothing being worn by another person, without that person’s knowledge and consent, for the purpose of viewing the body of, or the undergarments worn by, that person.
Definition of Reasonable Expectation of Privacy in Florida
Section 810.145(1)(c), F.S., defines the phrase “place and time when a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy” as a place and time when a reasonable person would believe that he or she could fully disrobe in privacy, without being concerned that the person’s undressing was being viewed, recorded, or broadcasted by another, including, but not limited to, the interior of a bathroom, tanning booth, dressing room, changing room, or fitting room.
Penalties for Video Voyeurism in Florida
Generally, a first-time violation of video voyeurism is a 1st degree misdemeanor and second or subsequent violations are charged as 3rd degree felonies.
Section 810.145(8)(a), F.S., specifies that the penalty for video voyeurism is a 3rd degree felony for persons:
- Who are 18 years of age or older and who are responsible for the welfare of a child younger than 16 years of age, regardless of whether the person knows or has reason to know the age of the child, who commit video voyeurism against that child;
- Who are 18 years of age or older and who are employed at a private school,5 a school,6 or a voluntary prekindergarten education program,7 who commit video voyeurism against a student of the private school, school, or voluntary prekindergarten education program; or
- Who are 24 years of age or older who commit video voyeurism against a child younger than 16 years of age, regardless of whether the person knows or has reason to know the age of the child.
Section 810.145(8)(b), F.S., makes it is a 2nd degree felony if a person violates s. 810.145(8)(a), F.S., and that person has previously been convicted or adjudicated delinquent for any violation of s. 810.145, F.S.
Section 810.04 – Florida’s Voyeurism Statute
Section 810.14, Florida Statutes, prohibits the secret observation of another person, with lewd, lascivious or indecent intent, when that person is located in a structure or conveyance, and such location provides a reasonable expectation of privacy. The term “reasonable expectation of privacy” is not defined in Section 810.14, Florida Statutes. Nevertheless, it is a key element of the offense.
Section 810.145, which prohibits video or photographic voyeurism, does contain such a definition, paragraph (1)(b) providing that a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy at a time and in a place where a reasonable person would believe that he or she could fully disrobe without being observed, such as a bathroom, dressing room or tanning booth. There are no other sections related to this offense.
Many courts have held that the expectation of privacy is not in the private areas of one’s body but in the place where the victim is located when the observation occurs. See State of Washington v. Glas, 54 P.3d 147 (Wash. 2002).
The State of Washington v. Glas, 54 P.3d 147 (Wash. 2002) case addressed the expectation of privacy requirements. In that case, the victims saw a flash of light and saw Glas with a small camera in his hand. Then current Washington law prohibited one from viewing or photographing another, without consent, in a place where that person would have a reasonable expectation of privacy. The statute defined that as a place where one could disrobe in privacy, safe from intrusion. The court found Glas’ actions to be reprehensible but held that the statute, as written, did not prohibit “upskirt photography” in a public location.
Is Upskirt Photography Illegal in Florida?
In response to the ever-increasing instances of upskirt photography, some states are redefining reasonable expectation of privacy to include the private areas of the body.
California’s voyeurism law provides that it is a criminal violation to film or record under or through another’s clothing to view his or her undergarments or body areas, and “invade the privacy of that other person”, under circumstances where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy. People of California v. Garcia, Cal.App. 6 Dist. 2008.
In 2003, Washington amended its statute to add a prohibition against viewing the “intimate areas of another person” under circumstances where the person has a reasonable expectation of privacy whether in a public or private place. State of Washington v. Boyd, 155 P.3d 188 (Wash. 2007).
Since the definition in Section 810.145, and the lack of definition in Section 810.14, it seems clear that a person’s expectation of privacy depends upon where he or she is located and not whether his or her private areas are being observed.
The Florida legislature recently expanded the voyeurism statute in Florida to provide that a person commits the crime of voyeurism if the person, with lewd, lascivious, or indecent intent, secretly observes another person’s intimate areas in which the person has a reasonable expectation of privacy, when the other person is located in a public or private dwelling, structure, or conveyance.
The statute now defines “intimate area” as any portion of a person’s body or undergarments that is covered by clothing and intended to be protected from public view. This amendment makes clear that the statute applies to offenders who view a person’s intimate areas in a public place, such as secretly using a mirror to look up a woman’s skirt in a store.
This article was last updated on Friday, October 28, 2016.