Texas Criminal Law

The Voyeurism crime in the state of Texas gives police the right to arrest you if they believe you “spy” (for sexual purposes) on someone without their consent in a place that should be considered private. Learn more detailed information about the Voyeurism offense below.

Unlawful Disclosure of Intimate Visual Material is a closely related law. The Voyeurism offense was created by the Texas Legislature in 2015. In the same session, the legislature created the Unlawful Disclosure of Intimate Visual Material offense. Each of these offenses were labeled Penal Code Section 21.16. Both offenses are classified in the Texas Penal Code under Title 5 “Offenses Against The Person” and Chapter 21 “Sexual Offenses.”

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What is the current Texas law about Voyeurism?

The current Texas law defines the offense of Voyeurism in Penal Code Section §21.17 as follows:[1]

(a) A person commits an offense if the person, with the intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of the actor, observes another person without the other person’s consent while the other person is in a dwelling or structure in which the other person has a reasonable expectation of privacy.

As described below, subsections (b), (c) and (d) categorize the punishment levels for the offense.

How can I be charged with Voyeurism?

You can be charged with Voyeurism if the state’s attorneys believe that each of the elements of 21.16(a) as described in the section above have been met.

What is the punishment for Voyeurism?

A conviction for Voyeurism is punished as a Class C Misdemeanor,[2] with a maximum possible fine under Texas state law of up to $500, unless the victim is under 14 or the state can prove you have two or more previous Voyeurism convictions.

If you have two or more prior convictions, the Voyeurism offense can be punished as a Class B misdemeanor,[3] with a maximum possible fine under Texas state law of up to $2,000 and jail time of up to 180 days.

If the victim was a child younger than 14 years old at the time, then the offense is punished as a State Jail Felony,[4] with a maximum fine under Texas state law of up to $10,000 and up to 2 years in a state jail. Learn about the differences between grades of felonies and misdemeanors

Legal References:

^1. Texas Penal Code §21.17^2. Texas Penal Code §21.16(b)^3. Texas Penal Code §21.16(c)^4. Texas Penal Code §21.16(d)

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