Many of us have heard the words “peeping Tom.” We usually think of someone peeking in our windows and observing our actions when we are not looking. In some cases, the person that is “peeping” is viewing things that we would not like him to see. Under Florida’s criminal laws, this is known as voyeurism. As a Jacksonville criminal lawyer, I am often asked questions about several different crimes. Normally, people will ask about more common crimes, such as Jacksonville possession of marijuana or Florida theft charges. Voyeurism is not a hot topic.
When people see crimes on the news, this prompts them to ask more questions about the criminal offense. In 2011, I was asked to comment on voyeurism as a Jacksonville criminal attorney. I had never been asked to comment on this subject matter before. First Coast News was going to air a story about a peeping tom in Mandarin in Jacksonville, Florida.
First Coast News told me about the Mandarin Families Frightened By the Peeping Tom (click here for the video and story). After listening the facts of the case and applying the law that applies to voyeurism, it appears that the suspect may be charged with a variety of Florida criminal offenses. Depending on the circumstances surrounding each individual incident, he may be charged with voyeurism, trespass, or stalking.
Jacksonville voyeurism charges will be governed by Florida Statute Section 810.14. Voyeurism occurs when a person:
- has a lewd, lascivious, or indecent intent;
- secretly observes another person; and
- the person being observed is in a place where he or she has a reasonable expectation of privacy.
Florida stalking is governed by Florida Statute Section 784.048. Stalking occurs when a person:
- engages in a course of conduct direct at a specific person;
- the conduct causes substantial emotional distress; and
- the conduct has not legitimate purpose.
If you are a victim of voyeurism, you must protect yourself. While the person may be only looking through your windows, you never know if this will go further. You should be aware of your surroundings. If you are being interrogated about a crime in Duval, Clay, St. Johns, or Nassau County, you should talk to a Jacksonville lawyer about your circumstances before talking to police. You do not want to say anything that may be used against you later on. If you have been arrested, you need to discuss your defenses with a Florida criminal lawyer. It does not matter if you are going to court as a Jacksonville juvenile delinquent or adult. Talking with an attorney is beneficial. Call (904) 564-2525 to talk to Jacksonville criminal defense attorney about your case.