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Visual Surveillance

Visual Surveillance in Maryland is only a crime in fairly limited circumstances, but the charges are often misunderstood due to the fact that the name covers a lot more than the law does. Police often mistakenly believe that people have broken the law against visual surveillance, and sometimes court commissioners and judges make the same mistake. I can help. Call me at (301) 556-8709 because someone else’s mistake shouldn’t be allowed to destroy your life.

Visual Surveillance in a Private Place (CR 3-901)

Visual surveillance in a private place is unlawful, but a private place under CR 3-901 only includes dressing rooms and restrooms in retail stores. The maximum penalty is 30 days in jail and a $1000 fine. Visual surveillance is a misdemeanor.

Visual Surveillance with Prurient Intent (CR 3-902)

Visual surveillance with prurient intent is a much broader crime that carries higher penalties, but it requires prurient intent. Prurient intent means that the State has to prove that your interest was sexual in nature. The law has a different scope in public and private places. Visual Surveillance with Prurient Intent covers pictures of people’s private parts in public, as long as they can reasonably expect their parts to remain private. This means that it’s legal to look at or photograph a nudist in public, but not to use a selfie stick or mirror to photograph beneath people’s clothing from odd angles, which is also sometimes referred to as an upskirt photo.

In private places, like tanning rooms, dressing rooms, and bathrooms, the law is more broad. Prurient intent is still required, but the state does not have to prove that you viewed a private part of the victim as they would have to in public.

Visual surveillance with prurient intent is a misdemeanor, carrying a maximum sentence of 1 year in jail and a fine of $2500.

Camera Surveillance (CR 3-903)

The Maryland law against camera surveillance, despite the broad sounding name, prohibits placing cameras on property where other people reside to secretly observe them without permission from a resident of that property. The state does not have to prove prurient intent, which means that they do not have to prove that the interest is sexual in nature. Camera surveillance requires, among other things, that the surveillance be done covertly from the same real property as the person being watched. This means that your security camera does not violate the law, even if it points toward a neighbor’s home.

The maximum penalty for camera surveillance is 1 year in jail and a fine of $2500. Camera surveillance is a misdemeanor, not a felony.

The law is complicated, and I can help

All of the laws against visual surveillance and camera surveillance have a lot of tricky exceptions and definitions that allow me to win your case in court. I’ve successfully defended the lives and reputations of hundreds of Maryland residents, and I can protect you too. Call me now at (301) 556-8709, because your case is important.