Peeping in criminal law refers to the "Peeping Tom" law. Peeping is synonymous to peeking and refers to a person who looks into someone's window. Peeping is a crime in California that falls under the umbrella of Disorderly Conduct. Peeping occurs when a person lingers, loiters, prowls, or wanders onto someone else's property and peeks in the window or door of an inhabited building or other structure with no visible or lawful business with the owner or occupant. "Loiter" means to delay or linger without a lawful purpose for being on the property and with the intent to commit a crime. Under this definition, Peeping is a misdemeanor in California and prosecuted under Penal Code section 647(i) punishable by a fine and up to six months in county jail.

There is another law in California used to prosecute Peeping and that is Penal Code section 647(j), also referred to as Invasion of Privacy. Under this law it is a misdemeanor to:

  • Peek into a bathroom, dressing room, or tanning booth

  • Video or photograph a person in their undergarments

  • Video or photograph a person inside a room.

This crime is a misdemeanor and punishable by up 6 months in county jail and a fine.

The stigma of a Peeping conviction can follow you for a long time. If you are facing Peeping charges, consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney to learn all about your rights, defenses, and legal options.

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