A New Jersey criminal statute that deals with invasion of privacy is N.J.S. 2C:14-9. The privacy treated by that statute relates exclusively to sexual activity. Sexual activity here includes sexual penetration and sexual contact. Also included within N.J.S. 2C:14-9 are surruptitious observations of intimate parts of another. Privacy invasion in non-sexual contexts is treated elsewhere, most notably under New Jersey laws relating to stalking. And, the lurid picture in the corner of this page notwithstanding, the New Jersey law relating to being a “peeping tom” is treated under a different section of the New Jersey Criminal Code.
Subparts of N.J.S. 2C:14-9 define three different, but related, offenses. The first offense involves mere observation of another, or others. To violate this subpart, the observer must know that his viewing is unauthorized. It must be under circumstances where a reasonable person would know that another, or others, may expose intimate parts or engage in sexual activity. And it requires circumstances in which a reasonable person would not expect to be observed. Violation of this subpart is a fourth degree crime.
The second subpart echos the first except that what is prohibited is not observation but, rather, photographing, videotaping, recording, or otherwise reproducing images of sexual activity. As with the first subpart, also covered is exposure of intimate parts. Note that this subpart discusses only reproduction of images. Presumably, reproduction of intimate sounds and conversations is not covered. Violation of this subpart is a third degree crime.
The third subpart also concerns itself with photographed, videotaped, or other reproduced images of sexual activity. What this third subpart prohibits is unauthorized disclosure of those images. New Jersey defines “disclosure” under this third subpart very broadly. It includes selling, manufacturing, giving, lending, mailing, delivering, exhibiting, and even advertising or offering. A New York Times Editorial on October 13, 2013, discussed disclosures of this nature. As with the second subpart, violation of this third N.J.S. 2C:14-9 subpart is a third degree crime.
Other subparts of N.J.S. 2C:14-9 make special provisions for fitting rooms in retail establishments; for observations in correctional facilities; and for disclosures in connection with law enforcement, or pursuant to a subpoena or court order.
Upon being convicted of a fourth degree crime, a person is exposed to a sentence of up to eighteen months imprisonment. Upon being convicted of a third degree crime, a person is exposed to a sentence of up to five years imprisonment. Additionally, exposure to substantial fines and other financial penalties exist.
Allan Marain is a New Jersey criminal defense lawyer. He has been fighting for persons charged with commiting criminal offenses in New Jersey for well over forty years. He has the knowledge and experience to defend persons charged with offenses of this nature. If you or a member of your family is facing criminal charges, Mr. Marain is available to review your situation in a no-obligation office conference. He would welcome your call.