Like every other state, Ohio law criminalizes certain sexual acts. Typically, sex crimes are those sexual acts that violate the rights of others. Often, the rights violated in sex crimes center around a victim’s right to privacy and personal choice.
But you be wondering, Is voyeurism illegal? The answer is yes. In fact, voyeurism is a sex crime that centers, almost entirely, on one’s right to privacy.
There is more to Ohio’s voyeurism rules than the fact that voyeurism is illegal. If you face a voyeurism accusation, contact an Ohio sex crime lawyer as soon as possible. Before calling a lawyer, however, read through this piece for a quick breakdown of Ohio’s voyeurism laws brought to you by the legal team at Gounaris Abboud, LPA.
What Is Voyeurism?
Different states use different legal terms to define criminal acts. This applies to voyeurism just like any other crime. Consider this general voyeurism definition. Voyeurism occurs when someone achieves or otherwise seeks sexual gratification by watching others engage in sexual activity.
As a criminal act, voyeurism occurs when one seeks sexual gratification or pleasure by watching others participate in sexual activities without their consent or knowledge. Voyeurism also includes seeking sexual gratification by watching someone who is not necessarily engaged in a sexual act but is otherwise in a state of nudity or undress without their knowledge or consent.
The victim’s lack of consent or knowledge is critical in differentiating between voyeurism as a crime and voyeurism as a legal sexual act.
Ohio Voyeurism Laws
In Ohio, there are four varying levels of voyeurism severity. The state prosecutes the least severe offense as a third-degree misdemeanor and the highest as a fifth-degree felony. Each of the various levels has a different definition or list of qualifications.
All of the levels of voyeurism share the same basic qualifications. To be a crime, voyeurism involves someone who trespasses or surreptitiously invades the privacy of another, or spies or eavesdrops upon another for the purpose of sexually arousing or gratifying themselves.
Voyeurism as a third-degree misdemeanor occurs when someone invades the privacy of another to spy or eavesdrop on them for purposes of sexual gratification or pleasure. As a second-degree misdemeanor, voyeurism is slightly different.
Voyeurism as a second-degree misdemeanor occurs when someone, for the purposes of sexually gratifying or arousing themselves, invades the privacy of another to record, film, or otherwise photograph another person in a state of nudity.
First-degree misdemeanor voyeurism occurs when someone tries to invade the privacy of another by photographing or viewing their body or undergarments. As a fifth-degree felony, voyeurism occurs when one engages in the same activity noted in the third-degree misdemeanor but does so with a minor as their target.
Penalties for a Voyeurism Conviction
The penalties for an Ohio voyeurism conviction differ from one another based on the severity or degree of the crime. The following bulleted list illustrates the maximum penalty for each level of voyeurism conviction:
- Third-degree misdemeanor: Up to 60 days incarceration, a fine up to $500, or both;
- Second-degree misdemeanor: Up to 90 days incarceration, a fine of up to $750, or both;
- First-degree misdemeanor: Up to 180 days incarceration, a fine of up to $1,000, or both; or
- Fifth-degree felony: A maximum of six to 12 months incarceration, a fine of up to $2,500, or both.
It is important to note that each of these categories represents the maximum punishment. Someone convicted of voyeurism will not always face the maximum punishment. Judges consider numerous factors that can mitigate or aggravate the severity of any punishment they hand down.
The best way for someone facing a voyeurism charge to avoid the maximum penalty is to hire an experienced sex crimes lawyer who will litigate aggressively on their behalf.
Protect Your Freedom with Ohio’s Premier Sex Crime Lawyers
If you are facing a voyeurism charge in Ohio, don’t wait for the legal process to unfold before hiring an attorney. Instead, from the moment you are aware that you are under investigation for a crime like voyeurism, retain the services of an experienced sex crime lawyer.
An experienced sex crime attorney will help you preserve your freedom and constitutional rights from the moment you hire them. The attorneys at Gounaris Abboud, LPA know the ins and outs of voyeurism charges in Ohio. They can draw on their vast experience to help you achieve the best possible outcome in your case.
Preserving our clients’ freedom is our top priority. Let us make your freedom our priority. Contact us today for your free consultation.