“Checking someone out” discretely and without their consent can result in voyeurism charges.
Common cases of voyeurism
When the word voyeurism starts getting thrown around, it is typically due to someone videotaping or snapping a picture of another person when they are indecently exposed. Utah law does consider this voyeurism, however the charges are the same whether the person is dressed or not. Sneaking a picture of ANY part of someone’s body they would consider private can end in a class A misdemeanor or a 3rd degree felony if the person being looked over is under 14 years old. Dissemination of the images is a violation punishable as a 3rd degree felony or 2nd degree if the images are of a younger child.
Careful where you stare
Taking a picture or video isn’t necessary to be guilty of voyeurism. Merely looking (staring, ogling, gawking, rubbernecking) at a person’s private areas with or without clothing covering them is voyeurism. The lack of a picture simply brings it down a notch to a class B misdemeanor or a class A misdemeanor for a child under 14 years.
Ask permission first?
If someone crosses paths with another individual that they deem attractive, it could be incredibly uncomfortable to request their permission to look them over. That plea in itself would be entirely creepy to that other person. The only other option to avoid being guilty of voyeurism is to be a gentlemen (or a lady) and only view appropriate areas on them, such as their eyes, smile…or feet.
Excuse me, my eyes are up here
There are some notable problems with voyeurism laws:
• Who can be exactly sure WHERE another person is looking? This can apply to shorter people whose smile sits in close proximity to their chest area or to someone with an extremely distracting belt buckle.
• What about clothing that begs to be gawked over? Low cut shirts that reveal cleavage, short skirts or shorts, and tight clothing all trap individuals within close proximity to steal a glance, whether they want to or not. Should revealing clothing be considered consent?
For more information on voyeurism charges or laws regarding how to legally look at other people, contact a criminal defense attorney.