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What is Voyeurism in Washington State?

“Voyeurism” is big word that means viewing, photographing, or filming another person for sexual gratification, under circumstance where that person has a reasonable expectation of privacy, and without their consent. This could include peering into someone’s bedroom windows, taking pictures or video of someone inside a bathroom stall, taking pictures up an unsuspecting woman’s skirt without her permission, or photographing or filming a private sexual encounter without the consent of the subjects.

What is the law on voyeurism in Washington?

In Washington State, voyeurism is illegal. To convict someone of voyeurism, the prosecutor must prove that person:

  • knowingly viewed, photographed, or filmed another person or another person’s intimate areas
  • without that person’s consent and in a place where that person had a reasonable expectation of privacy
  • with the purpose of arousing or gratifying a sexual desire

Voyeurism is a Class C felony. Depending on the number of counts and whether the offender has any prior felony convictions, a voyeurism conviction can mean as much as five years in prison. A voyeurism conviction also means a duty to register as a sex offender for ten years.

Because Washington law designates voyeurism as a sex offense, a voyeurism conviction may also mean seriously restrictive conditions once the offender is on parole (which is called “community custody” in Washington State.) Community custody conditions are rules that the offender must follow while under the supervision of a community custody officer. These conditions may include a prohibition on viewing pornography, drinking alcohol, or living in parts of town that contain schools, parks, and playgrounds.

How can I defend myself against a voyeurism charge?

To attack a voyeurism charge, your attorney will try to show reason to doubt one or more of the legal elements of voyeurism listed above. Perhaps the person viewed, filmed, or photographed in your case actually consented to this conduct, or the location where the viewing took place was too public for anyone to have a reasonable expectation of privacy. Your attorney could also present a defense that whatever viewing, filming, or photographing occurred was not in fact for sexual gratification, but for some other legitimate or legal purpose.

The Marshall Defense Firm defends those accused of voyeurism in Washington State. Our legal team is highly experienced in defending sex offense charges in Washington and can build the strongest defense available to you. Please contact us at 206.826.1400 or to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys.

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