Voyeurism – Florida Statue 810.14

In Florida, voyeurism is considered a serious offense and is punishable by imprisonment, hefty fines, and probation. Rather than prohibiting one type of behavior, Florida’s statute actually forbids a variety of actions, all of which fall under the broad category of voyeurism.

Elements of Voyeurism

Under Florida statute 810.14, a person can be convicted of voyeurism if he or she, with lewd or lascivious intent:
  • Secretly observes someone else while that person is located in a dwelling or a conveyance where they have a reasonable expectation of privacy
  • Covertly observes another person’s intimate areas when that person is in a public or private dwelling
Those who are arrested for voyeurism face first-degree misdemeanor charges, which are punishable by up to one year in prison and a $1,000 fine. However, if a person has previously been convicted on two or more occasions for this offense, he or she will face third-degree felony charges, which could mean up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. Video Voyeurism In Florida, and under Florida statute 810.145, an offense can be raised to a charge of video voyeurism if a prosecutor can demonstrate that a defendant:
  • Intentionally used or installed an imaging device in order to secretly view or record a person, without that person’s knowledge or consent
  • Viewed or recorded the person while he or she was undressing, dressing, or privately exposing the body at a place and time where the subject had a reasonable expectation of privacy
  • Viewed the person for his or her own amusement, entertainment, arousal, or profit, or for the purpose of degrading the subject
What qualifies as an imaging device is defined extremely broadly and includes any of the following types of equipment:
  • Mechanical, digital, or electronic viewing devices;
  • Still cameras
  • Camcorders
  • Motion picture cameras
  • Any instrument, equipment, or format capable of recording, storing, or transmitting visual images of another person
A person can also be charged with video voyeurism for using an imaging device to secretly view, record, or broadcast under or through someone else’s clothing without his or her knowledge, as long as he or she did so for the purpose of viewing the person’s body or undergarments.

Other Prohibited Acts

Besides being prohibited from installing or using a device to record someone else without their knowledge, Florida law also prohibits the following actions:
  • Allowing someone to use or install an imaging device
  • Intentionally disseminating, distributing, or transferring an image that he or she knew or had reason to know was created for the purpose of sexual arousal, degradation, or gratification

An offense can be charged as commercial video voyeurism dissemination if the defendant:
  • Knew or had reason to believe that an image was created without the subject’s consent and then sold it to another person
  • Created the image and then transferred it to another person, so that that person could sell it

Exceptions

There are a number of exceptions to this law, including when:
  • A law enforcement agency is conducting surveillance for a law enforcement purpose
  • A written notice of the presence of a security system is conspicuously posted on the premises
  • The video surveillance device is installed in such a way that its presence is clearly obvious
  • Dissemination or distribution of the images is conducted by an electronic communication service provider
Unless a defendant falls under one of these categories, he or she can be charged with video voyeurism, which comes with harsh penalties.

Video Voyeurism Penalties

The penalties for committing video voyeurism depend on the age of the defendant. For example, someone who is convicted of this offense and is under the age of 19 years old can be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor. Defendants who are older than 19 years of age, however, can be charged with a third-degree felony. Repeat offenders will be charged with a second-degree felony, which is punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
A defendant also faces second-degree felony charges if he or she is:
  • Eighteen years of age or older and commits an offense against a child who is younger than 16 years old and for whom he or she is responsible
  • At least eighteen years old and works at a school, where he or she commits an offense against a student
  • Twenty-four years of age or older and commits an offense against a child under the age of 16 years old
Defendants are also not permitted to argue that they did not know the age of the victim at the time of the offense to escape conviction.
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