Voyeurism and Video Voyeurism

Florida law defines various types of “voyeurism” under Section 810.14 of the Florida Statutes. Offenses can include video voyeurism, video voyeurism dissemination after an image is created, and video voyeurism for a commercial purpose (sometimes called “digital voyeurism”).

The term voyeurism covers behavior commonly associated with a “peeping tom” (sometimes called “unwanted peepery”). The crimes cover someone using a hidden camera in a bathroom or dressing room or “upskirting,” which refers to secretly photographing or video recording while looking up a woman’s skirt.

Voyeurism is sometimes considered to be a “sexually motivated crime.” For this reason, allegations of voyeurism and video voyeurism can have severe direct and indirect consequences.

Attorney for Voyeurism Charges in Tampa, FL

If you were charged with any voyeurism crime, contact an experienced attorney at Sammis Law Firm located in downtown Tampa, FL. Our attorneys are focused exclusively on criminal defense.

That focus helps us provide the most effective and aggressive defense to protect our clients at every stage of the case.

We also represent clients for related offenses such as stalking or sexual cyberharassment (sometimes called “revenge porn”).

Because of the impulsive nature of the offense, juveniles between the ages of 14 and 17 are often charged with voyeurism-related crimes in juvenile court.

Visit our offices in downtown Tampa, FL. We also have offices in Clearwater and New Port Richey, FL.

We represent clients in 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 determine what you must do to protect yourself from the allegation. Contact us to learn more about essential defenses that might apply to your case.

Call (813) 250-0500 today.

Types of Voyeurism Crimes under Florida Law

Florida provides for various voyeurism crimes under Florida Statute Section 810.14, including:

  • Voyeurism § 810.14, Fla. Stat.;
  • 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.
  • Video Voyeurism, Video Voyeurism Dissemination, Commercial Video Voyeurism Involving Certain Aged Minors Or Defendants § 810.145(8)(a), Fla. Stat.

Jury Instructions for Voyeurism in Florida

Reading the jury instructions is an excellent way for a layperson to gain a basic understanding of the elements of the offense.

The Florida Supreme Court has approved particular 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.

Those standard jury instructions provide that to prove the crime of voyeurism, the prosecutor must prove the following three elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. The defendant secretly observed the victim;
  2. The act alleged was done with an indecent, lascivious, or lewd intent; and
  3. 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:

  • licentious;
  • unchaste;
  • wicked;
  • lustful; or
  • sensual.

Jury Instructions for Video Voyeurism in Florida

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:

  1. 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;
  2. The Victim was thereby viewed, broadcast, or recorded at a time when the victim was dressing, undressing, or privately exposing his or her body;
  3. At the place and time when the victim was viewed, broadcast, or recorded, the victim had a reasonable expectation of privacy; and
  4. The viewing, broadcast, or recording of the victim was without the knowledge and consent of the victim.

The penalties depend, in part, on whether the defendant was either over or under the age of 19 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 Statutes

For purposes of Florida’s video voyeurism statute, the term “broadcast” is defined to mean “electronically transmitting a visual image with the intent that another person view it.”

The term “imaging device” is defined to include any instrument, equipment, or format capable of recording, storing, or transmitting visual images of another person, including any of the following:

  • a mechanical, digital, or electronic viewing device
  • a still camera
  • a camcorder
  • a motion picture camera

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

Such places would include, but not be limited to, the interior of any of the following:

  • residential dwelling;
  • bathroom;
  • 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 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 two-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.”

Additional Resources

“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 National Network to End Domestic Violence, Inc. (NNEDV) website 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 voyeurism, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney for sexually motivated crimes at Sammis Law Firm.

Any allegation of a sexually motivated offense requires experienced and aggressive 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.

Our primary office is located in downtown Tampa. We also have offices in Clearwater and New Port Richey.

We represent clients for voyeurism in 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.

Call 813-250-0500.

This article was last updated on Friday, June 26, 2024.