Voyeurism: What Is It & What are the Penalties?

Criminal voyeurism in Florida is secretly observing another person with a lewd, lascivious, or indecent intent when that person was in a place where they had a reasonable expectation of privacy. The crime may involve viewing intimate areas of the victim’s body, but seeing someone in a state of undress is not always required.  


At Stechschulte Nell, Attorneys at Law in Tampa, we believe that everyone should be aware of the acts prohibited by Florida criminal law so they can avoid learning about the severe penalties the hard way, by being prosecuted after the events. This blog post explains Florida’s criminal voyeurism law, including the various penalties that may be imposed, as well as how an experienced Florida criminal defense lawyer can successfully defend someone charged with such an offense. 



What Is Criminal Voyeurism in Florida? 


Anti-voyeurism laws used to be referred to as “peeping Tom” laws because the offense was usually committed by someone, typically a male, secretly peeking into someone else’s bedroom or bathroom window.  


Florida statute § 810.14 declares that a person is guilty of criminal voyeurism if they have lewd, lascivious, or indecent motives when they do the following: 


  • Secretly observe another person when that person is located in a dwelling, structure, or conveyance and such location provides a reasonable expectation of privacy, 


  • Secretly observe another person’s intimate areas in which the person has a reasonable expectation of privacy, when the victim is located in a public or private dwelling, structure, or conveyance. 


When a defendant is accused of violating the anti-voyeurism law by viewing another person’s “intimate areas,” the law defines those intimate areas as “any portion of a person’s body or undergarments that is covered by clothing and intended to be protected from public view.”  


The law does not limit the offense only to voyeurs of victims who are undressed. A defendant can be prosecuted for criminal voyeurism even if the victim is fully dressed when the person’s underwear is secretly viewed by the accused. This is sometimes referred to as “up-skirt” voyeurism.  


Be Informed > Florida’s Statute of Limitations for Sex Crimes 


Video Voyeurism Is a Separate Crime in Florida 


With the development and universal availability of electronic recording devices, smartphones with cameras, and wireless miniature video equipment, criminal voyeurism is much easier to commit and much more common.  


Video voyeurism is perhaps the most frequently prosecuted type of voyeurism in society today. The extraordinarily small widely available video camera equipment enables just about anyone to secretly record images of people in their homes, offices, cars, and other locations where the unsuspecting victim believes they are alone and entirely private.  


And the equipment necessary to secretly monitor or photograph someone without their knowledge or consent is marketed openly for more innocent and acceptable purposes. Nanny cams to monitor the quality of care provided to children by hired babysitters and daycare workers include recording equipment disguised within other commonplace household items. This is not a violation of the anti-voyeurism law because such monitoring is not intended for an illegal purpose. 


Florida statute §810.145 criminalizes the intentional use or installation of any “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.” 


The statute specifically identifies particular places where a person would believe they can disrobe without being observed, including but not limited to the inside of a home, a bathroom, a changing room, a dressing room, or a tanning booth. 


However, to convict a defendant of violating this section of the criminal law, the state must prove that the person acted for their own amusement, entertainment, sexual arousal, gratification, or profit, or for the purpose of degrading or abusing another person. 


Who Else Can Be Prosecuted Under the Florida Criminal Video Voyeurism Statute? 


Others who may be prosecuted under the criminal voyeurism statute include anyone who permits another to use or install the device for a prohibited purpose or who does so on another person’s behalf. 


And anyone who disseminates any image or video that they know or reasonably should know was created in violation of the anti-voyeurism law can also be convicted of a crime.  


Voyeurism Penalties in Florida 


Voyeurism in Florida can be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the age of the victim, the age of the alleged voyeur, and whether the accused has prior a prior conviction for voyeurism. 


  • A first-time conviction of a person under 19 years old will be charged as a 1st-degree misdemeanor carrying a penalty of up to 1 year in jail and a $1,000 fine. 
  • A first offense by someone 19 years of age or older will lead to 3rd-degree felony charges that are punishable by up to 5 years in state prison and a $5,000 fine.  
  • A subsequent offense by someone previously convicted or adjudged delinquent for this offense will be a 2nd-degree felony and is punishable by up to 15 years in state prison and a $10,000 fine. 


Other special circumstances that will result in prosecution of 2nd-degree felony charges include those in which a 


  • defendant is 18 years of age or older is responsible for the child victim who is under 16, 
  • defendant is 18 and employed by a private school or pre-K program whose victim is a student in the program,  
  • defendant is 24 years old or more and commits an offense against a person younger than 16. 


Contact Our Experienced Team at Stechschulte and Nell  


If you or your family member is charged with any criminal voyeurism offense in Florida, you need an experienced criminal defense lawyer with comprehensive knowledge of the law and the criminal court procedures that can protect you from suffering a life-changing conviction. 


The stigma of a public conviction for voyeurism is one virtually unmatched in contemporary society. Don’t be wrongly convicted of a serious offense carrying such damaging social consequences. 


Have you been charged with voyeurism in Hillsborough or Pinellas County Florida? Contact Stechschulte Nell, Attorneys at Law at 813-280-1244. 

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