Tahlequah Attorney BlogWhat Is A Peeping Tom In Tahlequah?

Peeping Tom in TahlequahPeeping Toms. We often think of the crime as cute or innocent. However, the crime is about voyeurism. Also, the crime often has sexual overtones when it is committed. Here is what you need to know about a Peeping Tom charge in Tahlequah, Oklahoma.

Peeping Tom Defined

In Oklahoma, a Peeping Tom is defined as a person who hides, waits, or loiters near a person’s home, restroom, dressing room, or in any other place in which a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy, with the express and unlawful intent of watching or looking at that person in a clandestine manner. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 1171

The voyeur often gains sexual satisfaction from watching another person either naked or engaged in a sexual activity.


Peeping Tom charges are often brought as a misdemeanor in Tahlequah. However, they can be brought as a felony count under the right circumstances. Here is an example to help illustrate when the crime is treated as a misdemeanor and when it is treated as a felony.

A new neighbor moves in next door. Tom, an avid bird watcher, uses his binoculars to watch the neighbor undress in preparation to take a shower. Tom likes doing this, and does it repeatedly.

However, the neighbor notices and presses charges. This is mostly chargeable as a misdemeanor. If convicted, Tom will likely face up to a year in county jail, a fine of up to $5,000, or both.

However, if Tom decides to photograph, record, or video his neighbor for any illegal, illegitimate, prurient, lewd, or lascivious purpose, Tom would likely be looking at a felony count.

It would also be a felony for Tom to publish or distribute any image obtained from such an act.

Recording, making a video, or photographing means that the victim’s image is available for repeated viewings and could be distributed to others. With the advent of the internet, it has become a simple task to upload content that can forever change someone’s private life.

Thus, ifTom is convicted, he could serve up to five years in prison, pay a fine of up to $5,000, or both.

Peeping Tom Elements

Here are the elements of the crime:

  • hiding, waiting, or loitering
  • near a private dwelling house, apartment building, residence, locker, dressing room, restroom, or any other place in which a person has a right to a reasonable expectation of privacy
  • with the unlawful and willful intent
  • to watch, gaze, or look upon any person
  • in a clandestine manner.

OUJI-CR 4-136

Defenses To The Crime

If any of the aforementioned elements are missing, you have a viable defense to the crime. Here are some common defenses that should be explored with your attorney:

  • The defendant was not hiding, waiting, or loitering.
  • The victim was not in any area where they had a reasonable expectation of privacy.
  • There was no willful intent. Put another way, the viewing was accidental.
  • Consent of the victim.
  • The viewing was open and obvious.

Many defenses grow out of the prosecution’s inability to prove one or more elements of the crime. Discuss the particulars of your case with your Tahlequah attorney.

Free Consultation: Tahlequah Criminal Defense Lawyer

Please contact a Tahlequah criminal defense lawyer to discuss your available legal options if you are facing charges for peeping tom in Oklahoma.

For a free consultation, call Wirth Law Office – Tahlequah at 918-458-2677 or toll-free at 1-888-447-7262.

Or, if you prefer e-mail, you may enter a legal question in the form at the top right of this page and we’ll contact you by e-mail as soon as possible.

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