Voyeurism and Video Voyeurism
Florida law defines various types of “voyeurism” under Section 810.14 of the Florida Statute. Offenses can include video voyeurism, video voyeurism dissemination after an image is created, and video voyeurism for a commercial purpose.
The term voyeurism covers behavior commonly associated with a “peeping tom” (sometimes called “unwanted peepery”). Video voyeurism includes someone using a hidden camera in a bathroom or dressing room. The statute even covers “upskirting” which refers to secretly photographing or video recording while looking up a woman’s skirt.
Because of the impulsive nature of the offense, juveniles between the age of 14 and 17 are often charged with voyeurism in juvenile court.
Voyeurism is considered a “sexually motivated crime.” For this reason, these allegation can have serious direct and indirect consequences.
Attorney for Voyeurism Charges in Tampa, FL
If you were charged with any type of voyeurism crime, contact an experienced attorney at the Sammis Law Firm located in downtown Tampa, FL. Our attorneys are focused exclusively on criminal defense.
That focused helps us provide the most effective and aggressive defense to protect our client at every stage of the case. We also represent clients for related offenses such as stalking or sexual cyber harassment (sometimes called “revenge porn”).
Our offices are located in Tampa, FL. Call us to discuss your case today for Hillsborough County, or any of the surrounding areas including St. Petersburg or Clearwater in Pinellas County, Bartow or Lakeland in Polk County, New Port Richey or Dade City in Pasco County, Brooksville in Hernando County, and Bradenton in Manatee County.
Talk with an experienced attorney to find out what you need to do now to protect yourself from the allegation. Contact us to learn more about important defenses that might apply to your case.
Call (813) 250-0500 today.
Types of Voyeurism under Florida Law
Florida provides for various voyeurism crimes under Florida Statute Section 810.14, including:
- Video Voyeurism § 810.145(2)(a) or (b), Fla.Stat.;
- Video Voyeurism § 810.145(2)(c), Fla.Stat.;
- Video Voyeurism Dissemination (Image Created in Violation of Section 810.145(2)(a) and (b)) § 810.145(3), Fla.Stat.;
- Video Voyeurism Dissemination (Image Created in Violation of Section 810.145(2)(c)) § 810.145(3), Fla.Stat.;
- Commercial Video Voyeurism (Image Created in Violation of Section 810.145(2)(a) and (b)) § 810.145(4)(a), Fla.Stat.;
- Commercial Video Voyeurism (Image Created in Violation of Section 810.145(2)(c)) § 810.145(4)(a), Fla.Stat.; and
- Commercial Video Voyeurism (Image Created in Violation of Section 810.145(4)(b)) § 810.145(4)(b), Fla.Stat.
Jury Instructions for Voyeurism under Florida Law
The Florida Supreme Court has approved certain standard jury instructions for the crime of voyeurism under Florida Statute Section 810.14. The jury instructions for voyeurism were adopted in 2000 and amended on July 29, 2008.
Reading the jury instructions is a great way for a lay person to gain a basic understanding of the elements of the offense. Of course, numerous defenses may apply in a particular case that warrant special jury instructions.
To prove the crime of voyeurism, the prosecutor with the State Attorney’s Office must prove the following three elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
- The defendant secretly observed the victim;
- The act alleged was done with an indecent, lascivious, or lewd intent; and
- When the alleged victim was observed he or she was in a conveyance, structure or dwelling in which he or she had a reasonable expectation of privacy.
Florida law defines the words “indecent, lascivious or lewd” to mean an intent on the person doing the act that is:
- lustful; or
Jury Instructions for Video Voyeurism
Video Voyeurism crimes are prosecuted under § 810.145(2)(a) or (b), Fla. Stat. A successful prosecution for “video voyeurism” requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt of the following elements:
- The Defendant either:
- intentionally used or installed an imaging device to secretly view, broadcast, or record the victim for his or her own amusement, entertainment, sexual arousal, gratification or profit or for the purpose of degrading or abusing the victim; or
- intentionally permitted the use or installation of an imaging device to secretly view, broadcast, or record the victim for the amusement, entertainment, sexual arousal, gratification or profit of another or on behalf of another;
- The Victim was thereby viewed, broadcast or recorded at a time when the victim was dressing, undressing or privately exposing his or her body;
- At the place and time when the victim was viewed, broadcast, or recorded, the victim had a reasonable expectation of privacy; and
- The viewing, broadcast or recording of the victim was without the knowledge and consent of the victim.
The penalties that are imposed depend, in part, on whether the defendant was either over or under the age of 19 years old at the time the victim was viewed, broadcast or recorded.
This standard instruction for video voyeurism, found in Chapter 11.13(a), was first adopted in 2008 [982 So. 2d 1160] and last amended in 2013.
Definitions under Florida’s Voyeurism Statute
For purposes of Florida’s video voyeurism statute, the term “broadcast” is defined to mean “electronically transmitting a visual image with the intent that it be viewed by another person.”
The term “imaging device” is defined to mean “any mechanical, digital, or electronic viewing device; still camera; camcorder; motion picture camera; or any other instrument, equipment, or format capable of recording, storing, or transmitting visual images of another person.”
Under Florida law, the phrase “place and time when a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy” when used in the voyeurism statute means a place and time when a reasonable person would believe that he or she could fully disrobe in privacy, without being concerned that his or her undressing was being viewed, recorded, or broadcasted by another, including, but not limited to, the interior of any of the following places:
- residential dwelling;
- changing room;
- fitting room;
- dressing room; or
- tanning booth.
“Privately exposing the body” means exposing a sexual organ.
Penalties for Video Voyeurism in Florida
As of July 1, 2008, the Florida Legislature increased the penalties for acts of “video voyeurism” committed under certain circumstances. The Florida Legislature created Section 810.145(8), Florida Statutes, which makes it a third-degree felony to commit acts of video voyeurism if:
- the defendant is at least 18 and the victim is a child in his or her care;
- the defendant is at least 18 and a school employee and the victim is a student at that school; or
- the defendant is 24 or older and the victim is younger than 16.
A second or subsequent violation becomes a second-degree felony which is punishable by up to 15 years in Florida State Prison.
One Year Discovery Exception to the Statute of Limitations for Video Voyeurism
Many allegations of video voyeurism cannot be prosecuted because the crime is barred by the statute of limitations. If the prosecutor attempts to charge an offense barred by the statute of limitations, the criminal defense attorney must raise the issue with the trial court.
As a general rule, the statute of limitations depends on how the crime is classified. For instance, a first degree misdemeanor charge of voyeurism has a 2 year statute of limitations. Any video voyeurism crime classified as a third or second degree felony generally has a three year statute of limitations.
Florida Statute Section 775.15, however, provides an exception to the general rules for the statute of limitations in subsection (17) which applies to video voyeurism crimes prosecuted under Section 810.145. The exception provides:
“[i]n addition to the time periods prescribed in this section, a prosecution for video voyeurism in violation of s. 810.145 may be commenced within 1 year after the date on which the victim of video voyeurism obtains actual knowledge of the existence of such a recording or the date on which the recording is confiscated by a law enforcement agency, whichever occurs first.
Any dissemination of such a recording before the victim obtains actual knowledge thereof or before its confiscation by a law enforcement agency does not affect any provision of this subsection.”
“I’ll Be Watching You”: The Florida Voyeurism Offense – Visit the Florida Bar Journal to find an article by Richard J. Sanders published in February of 2015, in Volume 89, No. 2. The article discusses two Florida statutes that apply to prohibitions against being a voyeur by engaging in video voyeurism, video voyeurism dissemination, and commercial video voyeurism dissemination. The article also discusses video and audio surveillance and videotaping laws in the workplace.
Florida Statutes on Prohibitions against Voyeurism – Visit the website of the National Network to End Domestic Violence, Inc. (NNEDV) which is funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, and Office for Victims of Crime. Find information on Florida Statutes that apply to voyeurism and video voyeurism prosecuted under Florida Statute Section 810.14.
Finding an Attorney to Fight Voyeurism Charges in Florida
If you were charged under Florida law with the offense of voyeurism, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney for sexually motivated crimes at the Sammis Law Firm. Any allegation of a sexually motivated offense requires experienced and aggressively representation to fight for the best results.
Many of these cases involve video surveillance or audio recordings of another person without their consent either in their home or another place in which they have an expectation of privacy
We fight to protect our clients charged with voyeurism in Tampa for Hillsborough County, FL, and the surrounding areas of Pinellas County for St. Petersburg and Clearwater, Polk County for Bartow and Lakeland, Pasco County for New Port Richey and Dade City, Hernando County for Brooksville, and Manatee County for Bradenton, FL.
This article was last updated on Thursday, February 28, 2019.