Georgia Criminal Defense Blog

Strange Break-in Results in Peeping Tom Charge in Georgia

Posted by Richard Lawson | Mar 21, 2018 | 0 Comments

A man has been recently arrested after cutting power lines to a woman's house, breaking into her bedroom, standing over her, and touching himself while she slept in her bed. This all happened yesterday at a home in Chamblee

The woman woke up, screamed when she saw him, and immediately began to push him out of the house. She called the police and described the invader. Police were able to gather enough details about his description from the victim that they found him, and she pointed him out in a line-up. 

He is facing charges of both burglary in Georgia and a violation of Georgia's Peeping Tom Act. That's right - Georgia has a Peeping Tom Act. Most people are not familiar with this charge, and I'll be diving into the law behind it in today's post. 

Georgia Law on the Peeping Tom

Georgia law defines a peeping tom in Georgia as a person who “peeps” through windows or doors, on or about the premises of another for the purpose of spying upon or invading the privacy of the persons spied upon. A person is in violation of the act when they go about or upon the premises of another for the purpose of becoming a peeping tom. (O.C.G.A. §16-11-60). 

Georgia courts hold that specific intent to commit the crime is necessary in order to be considered a peeping tom - the purpose must be for spying or invading the privacy of another. Davis v. State, 115 Ga. App. 338 (1967). 

The State also hold that it does not matter if the actual attempt to invade someone else's privacy was successful - if someone had the intent to invade, and an attempt was made, then he or she is guilty of being a peeping tom. McBride v. State, 196 Ga. App. 398 (1990). 

What's the punishment for conviction?

As lighthearted as the title of the law is, a peeping tom conviction is extremely serious. Georgia takes any invasion of privacy between citizens very seriously.

If the State proves that the accused person is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt meaning that the accused person had the specific intent to invade the privacy of another and acted with that intent, then the accused will be convicted. It is considered a felony to violate the peeping tom statute in Georgia. This includes a possible punishment of one to five years in prison, a fine up to $10,000, or both. 

Personal Note

As a Georgia Criminal Defense Lawyer, I'm very aware that no one should be considered guilty just because he or she is accused or charged with breaking the law. This can be hard when people are accused of crimes that are stigmatized. A peeping tom charge in Georgia is humiliating and can have a significant effect on the accused person's future. If you have been charged with being a peeping tom, contact us today. There are Georgia Criminal Defenses to this charge that can be utilized to defend your case.

About the Author

Richard Lawson

Managing Partner at Lawson & Berry:


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