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Expertise

Unlawful Surveillance

New York Penal Law 250.40-250.60 codifies the crime of unlawful surveillance. New York’s unlawful surveillance statutes were created to combat and criminalize, “upskirting” or using cell phones or other electronic devices to take pictures up women’s skirts or surreptitiously taking video of people in intimate situations. When the New York Legislature was considering passing the unlawful surveillance laws proponents of the bill were concerned with the issue of people being secure from fear that they were being photographed in places where they had a reasonable expectation of privacy.

If you have been accused of unlawful surveillance please call our New York Criminal Attorneys today for a free consultation. Our experienced New York Criminal Attorneys may be able to help get your charges reduced or dismissed.

People accused of unlawful surveillance may fear harm to their reputation. Many upstanding people have been accused of unlawful surveillance when using hidden video cameras for legitimate security needs and to protect themselves from liability. People who may be wrongfully accused of unlawful surveillance include teachers, personal trainers, gym owners, doctors, surgeons, owners of retail clothing stores with shoplifting concerns, landlords who are concerned with tenants who many be damaging the landlord’s apartment or creating unsafe conditions in the building, and others. The statutes sweep is very broad and unfortunately, mistakes when installing security cameras can culminate in criminal charges. The following explains when unlawful surveillance in the second degree occurs:

  1. When a person facilitates or sets up for use a webcam or other kind of video camera, in order to disgrace or humiliate a person, for financial gain, or for fun and amusement, they capture images, film, or release footage of a person disrobing or their private parts, when the recorded person believes or should believe they they would be in a private situation, and the images and films are taken without that victim’s consent.
  2. When a person facilitates or sets up for use a webcam or other kind of video camera, in order fulfill their sexual wishes and desires, they capture images, film, or release footage of a person disrobing or their private parts, when the recorded person believes or should believe they they would be in a private situation, and the images and films are taken without that victim's consent
    1. When a person facilitates or sets up for use a webcam or other kind of video camera and they capture images, film of any of the private rooms in a home or motel without the guest’s consent and without a legitimate purpose.
    2. Whenever a person facilitates or sets up for use a webcam or other kind of video camera and they capture images, film of any of the private rooms in a home or motel without the guest’s consent it is presumed that the cameras were set with not legitimate purpose. This presumption may be overcome.
  3. When a person facilitates or sets up for use a webcam or other kind of video camera and they capture images of the underwear or undergarments of a person, or their private parts.
  4. When a person facilitates or sets up for use a webcam or other kind of video camera and they capture images of a person, for fun, monetary gain, humiliation, and identify that person:
    1. participating in sexual intercourse or other sexual situations;
    2. when they are in the same picture with a third person and the third person’s private parts are exposed; and
    3. when they would have a reasonable belief that they would private and the images were taken without permission.

Unlawful surveillance in the second degree is a class E felony with a maximum penalty of 4 years in prison. If a person is convicted of unlawful surveillance twice in 10 years, the penalty for the second charge is aggravated to a D Felony with a maximum penalty of 7 years.

If you have been accused of unlawful surveillance please call our New York Criminal Attorneys today for a free consultation. Our experienced New York Criminal Attorneys may be able to help get your charges reduced or dismissed.

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