CALL NOW

951-684-4484

California’s Peeping Tom Laws

0 Comments
California’s Peeping Tom Laws

California’s Peeping Tom Laws

T
he problem with California’s “Peeping Tom” laws is that they aren’t written as clearly as they should be. There is a great deal of room for interpretation which makes the case difficult for both sides to prove.

Peeping Tom laws are covered in California Penal Code Section 647(i) PC. The code states that a peeping Tom is anyone who;

(i) Who, while loitering, prowling, or wandering upon the private property of another, at any time, peeks in the door or window of any inhabited building or structure, without visible or lawful business with the owner or occupant.

(j) (1) A person who looks through a hole or opening, into, or otherwise views, by means of any instrumentality, including, but not limited to, a periscope, telescope, binoculars, camera, motion picture camera, camcorder, mobile phone, electronic device, or unmanned aircraft system, the interior of a bedroom, bathroom, changing room, fitting room, dressing room, or tanning booth, or the interior of any other area in which the occupant has a reasonable expectation of privacy, with the intent to invade the privacy of a person or persons inside. This subdivision does not apply to those areas of a private business used to count currency or other negotiable instruments.

(2) A person who uses a concealed camcorder, motion picture camera, or photographic camera of any type, to secretly videotape, film, photograph, or record by electronic means, another identifiable person under or through the clothing being worn by that other person, for the purpose of viewing the body of, or the undergarments worn by, that other person, without the consent or knowledge of that other person, with the intent to arouse, appeal to, or gratify the lust, passions, or sexual desires of that person and invade the privacy of that other person, under circumstances in which the other person has a reasonable expectation of privacy. For the purposes of this paragraph, “identifiable” means capable of identification, or capable of being recognized, meaning that someone, including the victim, could identify or recognize the victim. It does not require the victim’s identity to actually be established.

(3) (A) A person who uses a concealed camcorder, motion picture camera, or photographic camera of any type, to secretly videotape, film, photograph, or record by electronic means, another identifiable person who may be in a state of full or partial undress, for the purpose of viewing the body of, or the undergarments worn by, that other person, without the consent or knowledge of that other person, in the interior of a bedroom, bathroom, changing room, fitting room, dressing room, or tanning booth, or the interior of any other area in which that other person has a reasonable expectation of privacy, with the intent to invade the privacy of that other person. For the purposes of this paragraph, “identifiable” means capable of identification, or capable of being recognized, meaning that someone, including the victim, could identify or recognize the victim. It does not require the victim’s identity to actually be established.”

While the law is pretty clear when it comes to cameras and surveillance, things get murky when peeping without a camera is discussed.
The problem with the way the code is written is that if someone notices a bill collector, family member, friend hanging around their house, or the house of a neighbor, they can assume that the frequency the person stops in means they’re up to no good. On more than one occasion this has resulted in someone being arrested and charged as a Peeping Tom.

If you have to go to someone’s house with any frequency and are worried about someone considering the way you’re behaving to be in the same manner as a Peeping Tom, it is in your best interest to bring a friend. They’ll serve as your witness. You should also document your visits and be ready and able to explain why you’re on the property with such frequency.