Texas Voyeurism Lawyer

Texas prosecutors take sexual offenses very seriously, and this extends to charges of voyeurism. In the following piece, Price & Twine explains the voyeurism law in Texas, including penalties and potential defenses to charges, and why to involve a sex crime lawyer if criminally charged.

Georgetown Voyeurism Defense Lawyer

Sex crime charges can have an immediate and heavy impact on one’s life, especially given the potential fine and jail sentence associated with a conviction. The criminal defense lawyers at Price & Twine, PLLC have helped many clients in the state resolve serious criminal charges on favorable grounds. If you have been charged with voyeurism, contact us at (512) 354-1880 or get in touch online for a confidential consultation regarding your case.

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What Is Voyeurism According To Texas Law?

According to Texas Statutes Section 21.17, voyeurism occurs when a person intentionally observes another individual without their consent in a place where they have a reasonable expectation of privacy. The key here is that the observation must be done intending to gratify or arouse the sexual interest of the person observing.

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Classification And Penalties

In most cases, voyeurism is classified as a Class C misdemeanor. This is the baseline category for this particular crime. Class C misdemeanors are punishable by a $500 fine.

The offense escalates to a Class B misdemeanor if the person charged has previously been convicted two or more times for voyeurism. Class B misdemeanors are punishable by up to 180 days in jail and/or a $2,000 fine.

If the alleged victim involved is a child under 14 years of age, the voyeurism charge rises to the level of a state jail felony. A state jail felony is punishable by 6 months to 2 years in jail and/or a fine of up to $10,000.

Under Texas law, if a person’s conduct falls under another law as well as the voyeurism law, they may be prosecuted under both laws. Essentially, multiple charges can be filed based on the same act if that act violates more than one law.

In addition to the above penalties, someone convicted of voyeurism may face the following consequences:

  • Registration as a sex offender
  • Loss of ability to carry a firearm if convicted for a felony
  • Protective orders

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Possible Defenses for Voyeurism Charges

Element of Intent

One of the primary elements of the law involves the “intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire” of the person observing. Challenging this intent can serve as a key defense. If it can be demonstrated that the individual had no such intent when observing the other person, then they cannot be convicted of voyeurism under this specific law. For example, if someone is caught observing another but it can be proved that the observation was accidental or incidental, this might negate the element of intent necessary for a voyeurism conviction.

Reasonable Expectation of Privacy

Another component of the law states that the observation must occur in a place where the alleged victim has a “reasonable expectation of privacy.” If a defense attorney can establish that the place where the observation occurred doesn’t offer a reasonable expectation of privacy, the charges could potentially be dropped or reduced. For example, observing someone in a public park would generally not fall under the law, as most people wouldn’t have a reasonable expectation of privacy in such a setting.

Consent of the Observed Person

The law says that the observation must be “without the other person’s consent.” If it can be proven that the observed person actually consented to being watched, then the offense of voyeurism hasn’t occurred according to this law.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What Constitutes Voyeurism In Texas?

In Texas, voyeurism occurs when an individual intentionally observes another person without their consent, in a location where the observed person has a reasonable expectation of privacy. The observation must be carried out intending to gratify or arouse the sexual interest of the person doing the observing.

What Are the Penalties For Voyeurism In Texas?

The penalties for voyeurism vary based on the circumstances:

  • Class C Misdemeanor: The basic penalty, often accompanied by a fine.
  • Class B Misdemeanor: This applies if the accused has been convicted two or more times for voyeurism, carrying harsher penalties.
  • State Jail Felony: If the alleged victim is under 14 years old, the offense is treated as a state jail felony.

What Does ‘Reasonable Expectation of Privacy’ Mean?

The term refers to locations or situations where a person would expect to have privacy, such as their home or a restroom. However, places like public parks generally do not offer a reasonable expectation of privacy.

How Important Is ‘Intent’ In A Voyeurism Case?

The prosecution must prove that the act was done with the intent to sexually arouse or gratify the person doing the observing. If this element is lacking or can be challenged, the charges may not hold up in court.

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Texas State Law Library

Provides access to Texas statutes and codes including voyeurism laws. Visit here

Texas Courts Online

Contains information on Texas court systems and the criminal process. Learn About Texas Courts

Bureau of Justice Statistics

Offers statistics and reports on various federal criminal offenses, including sex crimes. Explore BJS

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Hire a Voyeurism Defense Attorney in Georgetown, TX

Being accused of voyeurism is a very serious matter. Your freedom, reputation, and future are at stake. The criminal defense lawyers at Price & Twine, PLLC are committed to defending clients against these accusations while protecting their rights through the criminal process. If you have been charged, call us at (512) 354-1880 or request a consultation online.

For more information on sex crimes, click here

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