There are a wide variety of crimes in North Carolina and a very large quantity of different sex crimes that someone can be charged with. While most of them, such as rape, statutory rape, and sexual battery, are pretty commonly heard terms and easy concepts to grasp, there are some that a lot of people have not heard of. One of those is secret peeping.
What in the world is secret peeping?
North Carolina Criminal law, specifically General Statute 14-202 spells out two different behaviors that can lead to a charge and conviction of this crime:
- Any person who shall peep secretly into any room occupied by another person shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor; or
- Unless covered by another provision of law providing greater punishment, any person who secretly or surreptitiously peeps underneath or through the clothing being worn by another person, through the use of a mirror or other device, for the purpose of viewing the body of, or the undergarments worn by, that other person without their consent shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.
The statute clearly defines those basic behaviors, and gives a good overview and basis for what secret peeping is, but it also lists several more serious versions of the crime.
When secret peeping becomes a Class A1 misdemeanor
- Secretly peeping using a device that can be used to create a photographic image.
- A second or subsequent charge of the Class 1 version of secretly peeping.
When secret peeping is a Class I felony
- Secretly peeping into a room and using a device to create a photographic image of another person for the purpose of arousing or gratifying the sexual desire of any person.
- Secretly or surreptitiously using a device to create a photographic image of another person underneath or through the clothes without their consent.
- Installing or using a room device without the consent of the person in the room, to capture an image for the purpose of sexual gratification.
- Knowingly possessing a photographic image that the person knows or has reason to believe was obtained through violation of North Carolina General Statute 14-202.
When secret peeping is a Class H Felony
- When someone disseminates or allows to be disseminated images that the person knows, or should have known, were obtained as a result of the violations of North Carolina General Statute 14-202, without the consent of the person in the photographic image
Like all instances of criminal law, the government would have to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant in fact committed this crime. Unlike some crimes, however, there are more than just typical criminal consequences that the defendant may face.
Other Consequences of secret peeping
- Civil consequence – Any person whose image is captured or disseminated in the above-described ways has a civil cause of action against the person that committed this crime. Simply put, the defendant can be sued in addition to facing criminal consequences.
- Sex offender registry – When a person is convicted of this crime or is convicted of a second or subsequent violation of this statute the sentencing court shall consider whether the person is a danger to the community and whether requiring the person to register as a sex offender. If the court finds the person to be a danger to the community, then an order will be entered requiring the defendant to register.
If you have been charged with a sex crime in North Carolina or South Carolina, you need a criminal lawyer to help you through the process. At Gilles Law, we practice criminal law in Charlotte and the surrounding areas.