CA Penal Code 647(j)

“Peeping Tom” Laws

“Peeping Tom” Law in California

It is illegal to intentionally invade another’s privacy (spying). The “peeping” may be accomplished in a number of ways, as listed out in the statute, but essentially, when someone has a reasonable expectation of their own privacy, violation of that privacy is a crime.

Prosecuting California Penal Code 647(j)

The prosecutor must prove:

  1. You viewed another individual;
  2. The individual had a reasonable expectation of privacy; and
  3. You intentionally invaded that privacy.

The statute explains that the viewing can occur in a number of ways, including via periscope, telescope, binoculars, camera, motion picture camera, camcorder, or mobile phone. In addition, the place being viewed can include a bedroom, bathroom, changing room, fitting room, dressing room, or tanning booth, or the interior of any other area.

Concealing a recording device to secretly electronically record an identifiable person with the intent to see through or under that person’s clothing to their undergarments constitutes a violation of 647(j), as well, so long as the recording party did not have consent to record.

Intentionally distributing any image of another identifiable person’s intimate body parts is a crime under this statute, as well. In fact, if the two parties agree to keep such images private, or images of the victim engaged in any type of sexual activity, the distribution of such images is also a crime so long as the person distributing knows the distribution will cause serious emotional distress and the victim actually suffers that distress.

Defending Penal Code 647(j)

The penal code explicitly states it is not a defense to this charge that the defendant is a cohabitant, landlord, tenant, cotenant, employer, employee, or business partner or associate of the victim.

It is also not a defense that the victim was fully or partially clothed.

A skilled attorney can defend against this charge in a multitude of ways. For example, the attorney can explain that you were not viewing the victim, or did not view the victim intentionally. Further, an attorney can show the victim had no expectation of privacy at the time of the viewing. A good attorney may be able to show you had consent to view the victim, as well.

Finally, the statute states there is no 647(j) violation when the distribution is made in the course of reporting unlawful activity or in compliance with a court order. There is no crime, as well, if the distribution is made in the course of a lawful public proceeding.

We Want to Help

If you or a loved one is accused of being a “Peeping Tom” in violation of PC 647(j) in California, we invite you to contact us immediately for a free case review. Schedule an appointment to meet with us in person, or feel free to submit an evaluation online and we will get in contact with you ASAP. We can provide a free consultation in our office located in Century City, or by phone.

Our experienced and assiduous attorneys will be sure to fight until the end to reduce or drop your charges completely.

Call Us for a FREE Case Review: 310-274-6529

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