Peeping Toms. They’re often the butt of jokes by stand-up comedians, but the crime of Unlawful Surveillance in the Second Degree is no laughing matter. When you secretly install a camera or even an audio recording device with the intent of prying into someone’s privacy (such as watching someone undress or listening to a private conversation), it’s a serious crime in the state of New York. Prosecutors and courts tend not to believe that these suspects are “good people who made one mistake.” Installing a surveillance device, especially for salacious or voyeuristic purposes, is considered a malicious, premeditated, and predatory crime in New York. It’s a felony. If you are charged with Unlawful Surveillance in the Second Degree, it’s imperative to obtain defense representation immediately by contacting an experienced Long Island criminal defense attorney.

You do not want to be convicted of this felony. Yes, you’ll face prison time if convicted of Unlawful Surveillance, but even after that, you’ll have to register as a sex offender – just like rapists and child molesters. While being a Peeping Tom may not be “as bad” as being a rapist or a child molester, it makes no difference. Your picture will be available to friends, neighbors, and employers, right there alongside New York’s most heinous sex offenders. Don’t let this happen. A good criminal defense lawyer may find a way to have the charge reduced or dismissed or to have you acquitted. Is there proof the surveillance device belonged to you? Were your rights violated during the investigation or arrest? Even if you committed the crime, a good criminal defense lawyer may be able to introduce mitigating circumstances that induce the court to treat you somewhat more leniently.

If you have been charged with unlawful surveillance, never make contact with the victim. Along with wanting to avoid the perception of victim intimidation, suspects should avoid making contact with victims because anything they say to those victims may be introduced against them in court.  Even if the message is delivered in the form of an apology, a single statement to a victim can crumble that suspect’s defense.

Another reason to avoid making contact with victims is because the victim has very little to do with deciding whether or not charges move forward.  It is up to the prosecution, not the victim, to decide whether or not charges should be pursued, reduced, or dropped entirely.

Perhaps the best reason to avoid contact with victims is because, in most cases, such contact will be forbidden by the court handling the case.  If a court finds out that a suspect has violated any of its orders, the suspect may find him or herself facing an entirely new criminal charge – whether the contact between suspect and victim was friendly or not.

Don’t make a really foolish mistake and get yourself arrested for Unlawful Surveillance. The embarrassment of being arrested will be only your first problem among many. But if you’re charged with Unlawful Surveillance anywhere in the New York City area, protect yourself and your future. Consult at once with an experienced Queens criminal defense attorney.