With the increasingly popularity and availability of commercial drones – the dangers of invasion of privacy charges have escalated exponentially – as a recent couple in Utah just learned.
A Utah man and his girlfriend were recently arrested on voyeurism charges for flying a drone and taping people in their homes.
While I have written about the subject of Colorado’s Invasion of Privacy laws before – it the drone “spin” that adds a new component.
Under Colorado Law :
– any person who knowingly observes or takes a photograph of another person’s intimate parts without that person’s consent, and in a situation where the person photographed has a reasonable expectation of privacy, commits criminal invasion of privacy.
A “Photograph” includes a photograph, motion picture, videotape, live feed, print, negative, slide, or other mechanically, electronically, digitally, or chemically reproduced visual material.
When the District Attorney believes he has enough evidence to charge invasion of privacy for “sexual gratification” – the following enhanced law – 18-3-405.6 – applies:
(1) A person who knowingly observes or takes a photograph of another person’s intimate parts without that person’s consent, in a situation where the person observed or photographed has a reasonable expectation of privacy, for the purpose of the observer’s own sexual gratification, commits unlawful invasion of privacy for sexual gratification.
(2) (a) Except as otherwise provided in paragraph (b) of this subsection (2), invasion of privacy for sexual gratification is a class 1 misdemeanor and is an extraordinary risk crime subject to the modified sentencing range specified in section 18-1.3-501(3).
(b) Invasion of privacy for sexual gratification is a class 6 felony and is an extraordinary risk crime subject to the modified sentencing range specified in section 18-1.3-401(10) if either of the following circumstances exist:
(I) The offense is committed subsequent to a prior conviction, as defined in section 16-22-102(3), C.R.S., for unlawful sexual behavior as defined in section 16-22-102(9), C.R.S.; or
(II) The person observes or takes a photograph of the intimate parts of a person under fifteen years of age. This subparagraph (II) shall not apply if the defendant is less than four years older than the person observed or photographed.
(3) For purposes of this section, “photograph” includes a photograph, motion picture, videotape, live feed, print, negative, slide, or other mechanically, electronically, or chemically produced or reproduced visual material.
Understanding The Colorado Sex Crime Enhancement In Colorado Invasion Of Privacy Cases
To prove the crime of Invasion of Privacy for Sexual Gratification is more difficult than it might first appear. The State has to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the Defendant’s intent in the context of the intrusion was to receive sexual gratification.
While the District Attorney may try to prove the enhanced charge – it is tough to prove circumstantially (without a confession) that a person’s intent was sexual and not just mischievous.
The Drone And The Colorado Crime Of Eavesdropping 18-9-304
One last point. Using a drone to listen in on the conversations of others may also be charged as a criminal act. This crime is called eavesdropping – and here is a LINK to an article I have written about the law.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: H. Michael Steinberg – Email The Author at email@example.com – A Denver Colorado Criminal Defense Lawyer – or call his office at 303-627-7777 during business hours – or call his cell if you cannot wait and need his immediate assistance – please call 720-220-2277.