CA’s “Peeping Tom” Laws: Penal Code 647(i)

The California “Peeping Tom” law (Penal Code 647 (i)) is one that can be quite embarrassing for the individual charged under it. This inevitably leads to a string of pejoratives directed at the person arrested for this violation.

What is the Peeping Tom Law?

The law technically is known as “peeking while loitering” or “unlawful peeking.” That means peeking in either a window or door of private property is considered a crime for anyone who loiters on the land without having any legally legitimate business with the person residing in it.  If you find yourself in such a position, you will need the help of a good bondsman.

What Are the Penalties?

This is the same as a disorderly conduct charge and is considered a misdemeanor. The maximum penalty can be six months in the county jail and/or a fine of $1,000.

While the charge is considered a misdemeanor, the subsequent arrest may result in the person being jailed. That means the arrested individual will need to be bailed out, which can be difficult for families with limited funds.

A Question of Bail

In California, the amount of bail differs in each county and is based on the arrested’s past criminal history, the circumstances, and whether or not they can be trusted to return for the pre-trial hearing and beyond.

The bail is returned upon completion of the case, but raising it can be difficult or impossible. That requires the defendant to request a bail hearing.

The Need for a Bail Bondman

If successful, the services of a bail bondsman may be necessary. They’ll post the bond within about 20 minutes, though being officially released from custody may take longer.

For services rendered, the bail bondsman receives up to a 10 percent non-refundable premium of the total bail.

In certain cases, that percentage can be lower depending on such circumstances as being government employees, members of the military or a union, or if already represented by an attorney.

The bail bondsman will likely ask for some form of collateral equal to the amount they’re lending in order to make sure the bail is properly refunded. The official contract is usually for one year, which should cover the entirety of most cases. Past that period, payment of a renewal premium is almost guaranteed.

The Consequences of Being Found Guilty

If convicted or a guilty plea is offered, the sentence is based on the surrounding circumstances of the incident, along with the past criminal history of the defendant. In some cases, that might mean being given summary probation.

If a person pleads guilty or is convicted of the crime, they’re not considered sex offenders. Thus, they don’t have to register with the state as a sex offender under Megan’s Law statute.

Words to the Wise

Avoiding situations that lead to such events is the best advice to offer, but in the event, a similar scenario has already begun to unfold, the information above can serve as an asset.

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