Looking into the dwelling of another, in specific circumstances, is one criminal form of invasion of privacy. And while we consistently hear the phrase “invasion of privacy” thrown around in the media and in daily life, it only applies to a very few specific circumstances. Dwellings is a broad term, but in this circumstance applies to all private property and the common areas of multi-unit dwellings or condominiums.
Invasion of privacy – looking into the dwelling of another is a Class A misdemeanor. This means that upon conviction, the maximum penalty the defendant faces is 9 months in jail, $10,000.00 in fines, or both. While felony sentences break down the terms of incarceration into in-custody and out-of-custody terms, the 9 month jail sentence may be required to be completed entirely in-custody. Importantly, if the victim is under 18 years old, this offense is a Class I felony, punishable by up to 3.5 years prison, $10,000.00 in fines, or both. That 3.5 years in prison breaks down into 1.5 years initial confinement followed by 2 years extended supervision.
Hiring the right criminal defense attorney is important. While many attorneys may accept your money, not all attorneys focus 100% of their practices on criminal defense. At Van Severen Law Office, S.C., our only focus is on helping individuals charged with crimes. We don’t practice other areas of law. This focus allows us to understand all areas of criminal law and help individuals facing these issues even more. We keep on top of the constant updates in criminal law and the local procedural issues that will impact you. Contact us at (414) 270-0202 for a free consultation today.
Section 942.08 of the Wisconsin Statutes provides the law regarding criminal invasion of privacy. Further down, in subsection (2)(d), we find the specific part of the law focused on looking into a dwelling (irrelevant sections excluded):
942.08 Invasion of privacy.
(2) Except as provided in sub. (4), whoever does any of the following is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor:
(d) Enters another person’s private property without that person’s consent or enters an enclosed or unenclosed common area of a multiunit dwelling or condominium and looks into any individual’s dwelling unit if all of the following apply:1. The actor looks into the dwelling unit for the purpose of sexual arousal or gratification and with the intent to intrude upon or interfere with an individual’s privacy.2. The actor looks into a part of the dwelling unit in which an individual is present.3. The individual has a reasonable expectation of privacy in that part of the dwelling unit.4. The individual does not consent to the actor looking into that part of the dwelling.
(4) A person who commits a violation specified under sub. (2) is guilty of a Class I felony if a victim of the violation had not, at the time of the violation, attained the age of 18 years.
Pre-drafted jury instructions accompany many criminal charges in Wisconsin. These jury instructions are important: they break charges down into smaller parts, called elements. And those elements are what the government must prove against the defendant beyond a reasonable doubt. If the government cannot prove those elements, or we can show they’ve failed to satisfy their burden, you must be found not guilty of the crime you’ve been charged with.
Wisconsin Criminal Jury Instruction 1395 provides the elements of invasion of privacy – looking into a dwelling unit:
Importantly, the instructions also help us to define “reasonable expectation of privacy.” That phrase requires that 1) the victim had an actual expectation of privacy in the part of the building or unit in question and 2) that expectation of privacy was reasonable. Does a person standing naked in front of a glass window have a reasonable expectation of privacy? Probably not.
Not all criminal defense lawyers are created equal. Some focus all of their time keeping up on the constant updates in criminal law and applying those updates to defending their cases. Others might be simply looking to collect a check. At Van Severen Law Office, S.C., we don’t employ any criminal defense lawyers who try to take the easy way out. We keep on top of the constant updates in criminal law. And we figure out creative ways to apply those to defending our clients.
Hiring the right lawyer could impact the result in your criminal case. Our firm offers free consultations to potential clients seeking representation. Contact us at (414) 270-0202 to connect and figure if we’re a match.