In these days of ready access to webcams, cell phones and live video streaming, Illinois law has laid down some limits. Ignoring those limits can cost you criminal charges.

Under 720 ILCS 5/26-4, you may be charged with a misdemeanor or felony if you knowingly make a video or transmit live video of another person without that person’s consent in any of the following places:

(a) In a restroom, tanning bed, tanning salon, locker room, changing room, or hotel bedroom. (It is also illegal to place or cause to be placed a video recording or transmitting device in any of those places. Note that the definition of restroom is not limited to public facilities but includes restrooms in a person’s home).

(b) In another person’s residence without that person’s consent. (The definition of residence includes a rental dwelling but does not include areas to which the general public has access such as halls or stairways. Again, placing a video device in such an area is illegal. In People v. Maillet, the court held that the law applied where defendant recorded another resident in defendant’s own home).

(c) Outside the other person’s residence through use of an audio or video device that records or transmits from a remote location.

(d) Under or through clothing worn by the other person in order to view their body or undergarments.

You may also be charged if you knowingly disseminated or allowed such a video to be disseminated if you knew the video was made in violation of the law.

The law does exempt law enforcement officers, correctional officers and news reporters in certain situations such as where an officer pursues a criminal investigation or a news reporter covers a sports event from the locker room.

If you have been charged with a unauthorized video recording or other offense, contact an experienced criminal law attorney immediately. An attorney can review your case for its best possible defense. Do the police have probable cause to arrest you? Can the state prove all the elements of your offense beyond a reasonable doubt? Even if the police acted lawfully and the evidence against you is overwhelming, an attorney who is respected in the courthouse may be able to negotiate a more favorable plea agreement than you could on your own.

If you have questions about this or another related Illinois criminal or traffic matter, please contact Matt Keenan at 847-568-0160 or email

(Besides Skokie, Matt Keenan also serves the communities of Arlington Heights, Chicago, Deerfield, Des Plaines, Evanston, Glenview, Morton Grove, Mount Prospect, Niles, Northbrook, Park Ridge, Rolling Meadows, Wilmette and Winnetka.)

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