According to the laws of the State of Florida, the crime of voyeurism occurs in two distinct but related situations. First, voyeurism is when one person secretly observes someone else in a building or vehicle that they would reasonably expect to be private. A common name for a voyeur that fits this first definition is a “peeping tom.” The statute covers more than just a house or a car— it also covers trailers, aircraft, or train cars. Voyeurism can also occur when someone secretly observes another person’s private parts (either clothed or unclothed) in any public or private place where the person being watched would normally expect privacy. This broader second definition, therefore, covers secretly observing others’ intimate areas in public places, such as a bathroom or changing room. However, in either of these two distinct types of voyeuristic scenarios, a crime only occurs when the observing person also has “lewd, lascivious, or indecent intent.” This intent requirement means that the prosecutor has to prove that the observing person acted while seeking to further an impure desire.
It is important to note that Florida Statutes separately prohibit video voyeurism under a different statute. So, the act of recording or broadcasting voyeuristic content could be an additional offense under the law.
Florida Voyeurism Attorney
If you have been accused of committing voyeurism, hire The Law Office of Ashley Aulls, P.A. to fight for you. Founder attorney Ashley Aulls is experienced with Florida’s criminal courts and can protect your rights. Serious charges of voyeurism or video voyeurism can lead to severe consequences such as significant fines and jail time.
An arrest does not mean a conviction. If you reside in Hernando County, Citrus County, or Sumter County, get an early start on your defense by contacting The Law Office of Ashley Aulls, P.A. at (352) 593-4115 today.
- Penalties For Voyeurism
- Statute Of Limitations In Voyeurism Cases
- Defenses In Voyeurism Cases
- Additional Resources
Penalties For Voyeurism
The possible penalties for voyeurism ramp up based on how many times someone has been convicted of this crime. The first time someone is charged with voyeurism, they are being charged with a first-degree misdemeanor and are therefore looking at a maximum penalty of one year imprisonment and a $1,000 fine. The second time and each time after that, however, the crime can be charged as a third-degree felony, and the associated penalties go up to a maximum of five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. This system of increasing penalties serves to deter repeat offenses, which is an essential objective of the criminal justice system.
Statute Of Limitations In Voyeurism Cases
Florida’s criminal code limits the time prosecutors have to bring voyeurism charges against a person. While there are some crucial exceptions, generally, the clock begins to run after the offense allegedly occurred. In Florida, the length of time from the date of the offense for which one may be charged with a crime is tied to the maximum penalty of the charged crime. Because the penalties vary based on the number of times someone has been previously convicted of the crime of voyeurism, the statute of limitations will vary in turn. If a person accused of voyeurism has not been convicted before, the charge will be limited to a first-degree misdemeanor, and so prosecution must commence within two years of the date of offense. However, after obtaining a prior conviction against an accused person, the state may charge voyeurism as a third-degree felony. In that case, the state has an extra year, for a total of three years from the date of the offense, for which to commence a criminal prosecution.
Defenses In Voyeurism Cases
There are defenses to every crime. One defense against voyeurism is countering the specific intent element. The prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused had “lewd, lascivious, or indecent intent.” Because mental states are personal and subjective, there is often ample opportunity to counter this element of voyeurism. For example, if someone accidentally walks into a changing room and observes another undressing, they wouldn’t have the intent to be guilty of voyeurism. This protects innocent people from embarrassing mistakes that become criminal convictions.
Another avenue to defend against a voyeurism charge is to counter the observed person’s reasonable expectation of privacy. This means that the observed person was not in a location where they would have had a reasonable expectation of privacy, so the accused did not commit any crime by observing that person or their intimate areas. To illustrate this defense, one could picture someone walking down a sunny public beach when they suddenly notice several towels draped up around an umbrella. If the curious beach walker investigates the odd arrangement of towels and finds someone tanning nude behind them, no crime has been committed because the sunbather did not have a reasonable expectation of privacy while being nude on the public beach. Another possible defense to a voyeurism charge could be the requirement that the accused “secretly” observe another person or that person’s intimate areas.
Florida Council Against Sexual Violence – The Florida Council Against Sexual Violence website is a nonprofit organization that provides assistance, tools, and resources to victims and survivors of sexual violence and sexual assault in Florida. They offer localized sexual assault programs serving counties all over Florida, and this link provides access to a directory listing local offices for the organization. The Florida Council Against Sexual Violence also provides educational materials, offers training to those interested, and advocates for public policy relating to sexual violence and sexual assault.
Video Voyeurism – The State of Florida’s Sunshine Online website provides the 2022 statutory language concerning the related criminal charges of video voyeurism, dissemination of video voyeurism, and commercial dissemination of video voyeurism. The main difference between voyeurism and video voyeurism charges is that video voyeurism involves using an imaging device, which is any object that can record, store, or transmit images of a human person.
Brooksville Voyeurism Lawyer | Hernando County, FL
If you have been arrested for voyeurism in Brooksville, Florida, criminal defense lawyer Ashley Aulls at The Law Office of Ashley Aulls, P.A. has the training and experience necessary to fight these difficult cases. He is passionate about his clients’ cases and will fight to obtain a reduction or dismissal of charges.
The Law Office of Ashley Aulls, P.A. serves clients in North Weeki Wachee, Homosassa Springs, Floral City, Wildwood, Lake Panasoffkee, Spring Hill, Brooksville, and the surrounding areas in Hernando, Citrus, or Sumter Counties. Call (352) 593-4115 to schedule a free consultation today.