Probation Officer Arrested for Secretly Filming Woman in Tampa Bay Walmart
A probation officer for the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice was arrested last week and charged with video voyeurism.
Police allege the man used his phone to take videos under a woman’s dress at a Walmart located at at 1720 E. Hillsborough Avenue.
The woman told police she realized what the man was doing and looked him in the eye’s, which got him to stop filming and walk away.
According to reports, the loss prevention officer at the store followed the man to his car and wrote down his license plate number.
The man was arrested Thursday. Police claim he still had the videos of the woman at Walmart on his phone.
This case brings up the question of what exactly is video voyeurism and is it actually a crime. Essentially, video voyeurism is filming or recording someone in private without receiving their consent. Filming or recording someone in private refers to a place where a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy, such as a changing room, locker room, public bathroom, etc. While a person may be filmed while they are shopping for a new blouse or picking up a gallon of milk at a retail store because we imply consent when we visit these establishments, the exception here is when someone at a store like this films a person through their clothing or under it without their consent. When this happens, this is classified as video voyeurism.
Video voyeurism can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony. In Florida, a person under the age of 19 with no previous charges of video voyeurism will face a first-degree misdemeanor for this crime. If they have been charged before with video voyeurism, the charge will be increased to a second-degree felony. Anyone over the age of 19 without prior video voyeurism charges will face a third-degree felony. If the person has a previous video voyeurism charge, they can now face a second-degree felony. If a person over the age of 18 is accused of video voyeurism involving a child under the age of 16 who they are responsible for, the crime will be enhanced to a second-degree felony. And finally, if a person over the age of 24 is charged with video voyeurism involving a child under the age of 16, the charge will be a second-degree felony.
Video voyeurism charges are nothing to scoff at. These crimes fall under the category of sex crimes and are taken quite seriously by police and prosecutors. While the punishments for a video voyeurism charge can vary, usually the following is applied:
- Video voyeurism as a first-degree misdemeanor penalties – up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine.
- Video voyeurism charged as a third-degree felony penalties – up to five years in prison, five years of probation, and a $5,000 fine.
- Video voyeurism charged as a second-degree felony consequences – up to 15 years behind bars in prison, 15 years of probation, and a hefty fine of $10,000.
Our Video Voyeurism Sex Crimes Defense Attorneys at Whittel & Melton cannot stress how important it is to obtain legal representation as soon as you have been arrested for a crime of this nature. It is absolutely imperative that you do not make any statements to police before you have an attorney fighting to protect you and your rights. You may not even realize you are saying anything incriminating, but police know how to twist their words to be used in their favor. You want to remain silent and get a skilled defense attorney to help you fight these charges.
Video voyeurism charges can be beat, but you must have an attorney equipped to handle these types of cases in your corner in order to achieve a successful outcome. One way to challenge these charges is to question the ownership of the device that was used to record any footage. Another way to challenge a video voyeurism charge is to question what is a “reasonable” expectation of privacy. It may be possible to show that location the person was filmed in was not somewhere they had a reasonable right to privacy. Every case is unique, and while we make no guarantees on the outcome of your particular case, we can help guide you through the legal process with an emphasis on obtaining an outcome you can live with.
If you have been arrested for video voyeurism we urge you to get legal help right away. A sex crime conviction can plague you for the rest of your life by making it harder to find housing, a job, get a loan, etc. Our Florida Video Voyeurism Defense Attorneys at Whittel & Melton can begin helping you with your sex crimes charges today.