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peeping Tom laws

Peeping Tom laws—also known as voyeurism laws or invasion of privacy laws—generally make it illegal and a criminal offense to peek into windows or doors on private property to view a person who is fully or partially naked for the purpose of sexual desire or gratification.

Peeping Tom laws vary from state to state and some states require that the victim not realize he or she was being viewed and that the victim had a reasonable expectation of privacy (was in a place where it was reasonable to expect privacy). And some states specifically address the use of unmanned aircraft (drones), cameras, video cameras, and binoculars in connection with such peeping. Some state statutes specifically prohibit peeking into bathrooms, dressing rooms, showers, and baths. And some states characterize this criminal offense as trespassing with the intent to peer or peep.

Peeping Tom laws are located in a state’s statutes—often in the penal or criminal code.

In Texas, Peeping Tom laws are addressed under the state's penal code concerning 'Invasive Visual Recording.' According to Texas Penal Code Section 21.15, it is illegal to photograph or record a person without their consent in a place where they have a reasonable expectation of privacy, such as a bathroom or dressing room, with the intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person. This includes situations where a person is fully or partially undressed. Additionally, Texas law prohibits the use of any device, including drones, to conduct surveillance that is not otherwise permissible by law. The offense is considered a state jail felony. Furthermore, Texas law also addresses trespassing with the intent to engage in peeping, which can be prosecuted under the state's trespassing statutes. It is important to note that the victim does not need to be aware that they are being recorded for the offense to occur, and the law specifically protects the victim's expectation of privacy in certain locations.

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