Although video voyeurism is unlawful under both state and federal law, the elements that prosecutors must prove and the penalties for conviction differ, making it especially important for those who have been charged with federal video voyeurism to consult with an experienced federal crime attorney who can help them begin formulating a strong defense.
Under federal law, a person can be charged with video voyeurism if he or she:
- Knowingly and intentionally captures an image of someone else’s private area without that person’s consent; and
- Does so under circumstances in which the subject has a reasonable expectation of privacy.
The penalties for even a single charge of video voyeurism are severe, as defendants who are convicted could end up spending a year in prison for each charge.
Defining Video Voyeurism
Before a person can be convicted of voyeurism, prosecutors must demonstrate that their actions fall under the definition of “capturing an image,” which includes:
- Recording; or
- Broadcasting, which includes electronically transmitting a visual image so that it can be viewed by others.
For a defendant’s actions to qualify as video voyeurism, he or she must also record specific parts of the body, namely, the nude or undergarment clad pubic area, buttocks, genitals, or female breast.
Many video voyeurism trials hinge on the last element of the offense, which requires that the person who was allegedly filmed have been somewhere where he or she had a reasonable expectation of privacy, which means situations where:
- A reasonable person would believe that he or she could change in privacy, without fear of being viewed; or
- A reasonable person would believe that a private body part wouldn’t be visible to the public, regardless of whether the individual is actually in a private place.
It is also important to note that this federal law only applies in places where the federal government has jurisdiction, including federal buildings, national parks, and military bases. Alleged offenses that occur elsewhere will generally be prosecuted in state court.
The Importance of Mounting a Strong Defense
Although the passage of the Video Voyeurism Prevention Act in 2004 was primarily geared towards those who use updated technology to film unsuspecting victims in private places, such as locker rooms, bathrooms, homes, and changing rooms with cell phones and other micro-recording devices, it has also been used to prosecute others who record for security or anti-theft purposes. This is largely due to the law’s broad reach, which also applies to recording in public places.
The Legal Representation You Deserve
If you were recently charged in federal court with video voyeurism, you may be facing serious penalties, including jail time, fines, and irreparable damage to your reputation. To ensure that you have the best chance at avoiding these kinds of penalties, please call Jeffrey S. Weiner in Miami at 305-670-9919 to learn more about your legal options from a dedicated federal crime attorney. We don’t charge for initial case evaluations, so if you have questions or concerns about your own criminal charges, please don’t hesitate to call or contact us online.