Is Peeping Tom a Real Law in Indiana?

We’ve all heard of a “peeping Tom”; but what does it really mean? And furthermore, is it a real crime recognized by the state of Indiana? These are common questions asked by both suspected victims and perpetrators of privacy offenses. Continue reading to learn what you need to know about “peeping Toms”, including where the term originated from, what the Indiana law says about it, and what you can do if you are suspected of the crime.

Criminal Defense Law Firm 317-636-7514
Criminal Defense Law Firm 317-636-7514

What is a “Peeping Tom”?

The phrase “Peeing Tom” is said to have originated in 11th Century England from Lady Godiva’s infamous nude ride through the streets of Coventry. After ordering the town to close all windows and shutters to avoid seeing her naked, a tailor supposedly named Tom bore a hole in his shutters in order to catch a peek at the Queen. The story goes on to say that the tailor was instantly struck blind, or later died, as a result of his offense.

Although we cannot know the true context of this century-old tale, modern governments do recognize peeping Tom-like crimes. A “peeping Tom” is colloquially defined as an unauthorized person who sneakily looks into a window, door, or other private opening into a dwelling, and spies on an oblivious person (or persons), all for the purpose of sexual pleasure and excitement. In virtually all cases, a peeping Tom is looking onto those who are undressing, in the nude, or partaking in sexual activity with someone else.

The Indiana Law

In our state, the law does have something to say about peeping Toms; it’s called voyeurism. The matter is criminalized in the Indiana voyeurism statute IC 35-45-4-5, which states that a person “who knowingly or intentionally:

(A) peeps; or

(B) goes upon the land of another with the intent to peep;

into an occupied dwelling of another person; or

(2) who knowingly or intentionally peeps into an area where an

occupant of the area reasonably can be expected to disrobe,


(A) restrooms;

(B) baths;

(C) showers; and

(D) dressing rooms;

…without the consent of the other person, commits voyeurism.

Charged With Voyeurism in Indiana?

Indianapolis Criminal Defense 317-636-7514

In Indiana, the penalty for voyeurism ranges from a Class A misdemeanor to a Level 6 Felony, depending on the specific details of the crime. If you were recently charged with a peeping Tom crime, contact a licensed and experienced Indiana criminal defense attorney to avoid the maximum penalties for your charges.

Call David E. Lewis, Attorney at Law, at 317-636-7514 for aggressive and experienced criminal defense in Indianapolis, Indiana. Our law firm offers free initial consultations to discuss the best strategies for defense against your criminal charges.

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