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When Does Invading Privacy Become a Crime?

Personal Injury Lawyer

With security cameras all over the place these days, our personal data can be easily misused online or hijacked. With devices in our homes hearing our every word, it can seem as if invasion of privacy is now a normal thing in life.

However, while the way we live today can make it seem like privacy is a concept of the past, the law still protects people against personal violations. Being charged with a crime related to invasion of privacy can have serious consequences on your life. If you are dealing with such a charge, be sure to contact a criminal lawyer for help.

When invasion of privacy becomes a crime

You can invade someone’s privacy in a lot of ways, but it becomes criminal in specific instances. Specifically, taking videos or pictures of someone’s intimate areas without consent and in an area where they could expect privacy is illegal. As far as the person being able to reasonably expect having privacy, this includes changing rooms, restrooms, inside homes–areas where the average person could expect some degree of privacy. However, even in a public place, a person could expect some degree of privacy from certain activities, such as a person taking a photo up a woman’s dress or skirt.

A criminal invasion of privacy charge is a Class 2 misdemeanor, which can carry a jail sentence ranging from three months to one year and/or a fine from $250 to $1,000.

The invasion of privacy offense can become more serious if the person who took the videos or images did so for their own sexual gratification. In this case, that adds a separate criminal charge that is a Class 1 misdemeanor, which can mean six to 18 months in jail and/or a fine from $500 to $5,000. It’s also what is known as an “extraordinary risk” offense, which is crimes that represent a serious risk of harm to society and involves even more penalties. In addition, if the person charged had a previous conviction related to a sex crime and/or the person whose privacy was invaded is under 15–and at least four years younger than the person charged–the offense could be charged as a felony, opening the door to even more severe consequences.

Keep in mind that when someone distributes photos or videos that fall under the criminal invasion of privacy umbrella out of some sort of revenge, this constitutes another crime and also means more fines and jail time.

Taking intimate photos or videos of someone without their consent is a serious matter. Not only are you facing potential jail time and fines, but the criminal record you will have after being convicted can follow you for years–or even longer, if you are required to register as a sex offender as a result.

If you are facing charges related to criminal invasion of privacy, speak to a criminal lawyer in Denver, CO about your case as soon as you can.



Thanks to Richard J. Banta, PC for their insight into criminal law and illegal invasion of privacy.