Lewd or Lascivious Molestation in Florida
Florida Sex Crimes Attorneys can Defend Your Case
In Florida, individuals who are charged with crimes against children often face steep and severe penalties. This is especially true in cases where individuals are charged with lewd or lascivious molestation.
Under Florida law, Lewd and Lascivious Molestation are acts that include the touching of a minor under the age of 16, underneath their clothes. Individuals who touch a minor on their private parts, including their buttocks, genital area, or breasts, or make the minor touch themselves in a lewd or lascivious manner, can be charged under Florida child molestation laws.
Charges of molestation can have an immediate impact on a person’s reputation, career, personal life, and more. Unfortunately, there are many cases when individuals are wrongfully accused of these actions yet they are forced to deal with a plethora of negative consequences. It is imperative for individuals who are accused of lewd or lascivious molestation in Florida to contact an aggressive defense attorney in Florida as soon as possible.
Contact us anytime, 24/7 for more information about your case or for representation backed by over 150 years of combined legal experience.
What Is The Legal Definition Of Molestation In Florida?
The state of Florida defines the action of molestation as the lewd or lascivious acts of sexual contact, such as touching another person underneath their clothing or touching their private parts. Individuals can also be charged with this crime if they have a minor, under the age of 16, touch their private parts in any lewd or lascivious manner.
Punishment For Lewd Or Lascivious Molestation In Florida
Individuals who are convicted of this crime in Florida can face an array of negative legal consequences. These consequences can have a life-long impact on them by impacting their ability to maintain or gain employment, be around other children, or even be in certain areas.
Individuals who are under the age of 18 and charged with lewd or lascivious molestation against a minor between the ages of 12 and 16 years can face penalties, such as:
- A felony charge up to the third degree;
- They may face up to five years in prison; and
- They may have to pay up to $5,000 in fines.
If the offender is over the age of 18 and the minor is between 12 and 16 years, then they face penalties, such as:
- A felony charge up to the third degree;
- Up to 15-years in prison; and
- Up to $10,000 in fines.
If the offender is over the age of 18 and the minor is under the age of 12, the offender can face felony charges that remain on their permanent record, as well as a prison sentence of up to life in prison.
In addition to criminal charges, those convicted can face indirect consequences that can have a detrimental impact on their lives as well. Quite often, those convicted are forced to register as a sex offender annually, which can make it difficult for them to secure employment, find housing, maintain professional relationships, and can even impact their personal relationships.
If you are accused of committing lewd or lascivious molestation in Florida, it is imperative for you to contact a defense attorney as soon as possible to protect your legal rights.
Types Molestation Charges In Florida
Under Florida law, there are an array of molestation charges a person can face. Some of these include:
Lascivious Acts: Individuals can be charged with lascivious acts if they commit sexual acts in public or in the presence of a minor. These actions are considered a major sex crime under Florida law and are generally pursued aggressively. It is very common for federal agents and state prosecutors to press for the maximum sentence for individuals caught in these acts, even if there is less-than solid evidence against the accused.
Under Florida law, the following are considered lascivious acts:
- Touching of genitals;
- Soliciting a minor to touch genitals;
- Touching the breasts or buttocks;
- Soliciting a minor to touch the breasts or buttocks;
- Performing a sexual act in front of a minor;
- Rubbing of genitals through clothing;
- Masturbation; and
- Indecent exposure.
Individuals who are charged with this crime can face an array of consequences. If the offender is over the age of 18, they can face between 2 and 15 years in prison as well as felony charges up to the second degree. Individuals under the age of 18 who commit these acts can face between 2 and 5 years in prison and up to a third degree felony charge.
Lewd & Lascivious Behavior: Under Florida Law, individuals engage in lewd or lascivious behavior if they are not married yet live under the same roof and when others know about their living situation. Individuals who are convicted of this crime can face misdemeanor charges in the second degree and spend between 5 and 60 days in prison.
Although these charges are not as severe as other types of molestation, they can have a detrimental impact on a person’s reputation.
Lewd or Lascivious Battery: Individuals can be charged with lewd or lascivious battery under Florida Law if they forcefully engage in sexual acts with someone between the ages of 12 and 16 years. Even if the minor provides consent, individuals can be convicted of this crime as minors are not legally able to provide consent for such acts.
Individuals who are charged with lewd or lascivious battery can face felony charges in the third degree, including prison terms between 10 and 16 years, fines up to $5,000, and mandatory lifetime sex offender registration. These fines and sentences are increased when offenders face multiple counts.
Lewd or Lascivious Conduct: Under Florida law, this crime is defined as the inappropriate and intentional touching of a minor who is less than 16 years of age as well as the act of forcing a minor to touch another person in an inappropriate way.
Individuals who are over 18 years of age face penalties such as up to second degree felony charges and between 2 and 15 years in prison. Offenders under the age of 18 face charges in the third degree and between 2 and 5 years.
Lewd or Lascivious Exhibition: Individuals can face charges of lewd or lascivious exhibition if they perform sexual acts in front of minors who are under the age of 16. These activities do not involve any kind of sexual or physical contact with a child. Instead, the act of exposing a child’s mind to sexual activity is a punishable offense.
If the offender is under 18 years old, they can face up to a third degree felony and between 2 and 5 years in prison. Offenders over the age of 18 can face up to a second degree felony charge and between 2 and 15 years in prison.
Lewd or Lascivious Molestation: Under Florida law, a person can be convicted of lewd or lascivious molestation if they touch under the clothing of a minor who is under 16 years of age. These acts include the touching of a minor on private parts or making the minor touch the offender in a lewd or lascivious manner.
Individual under the age of 18 who are convicted of this crime against a minor between 12 and 16 years of age, can face up to a felony in the third degree, five years in prison, and up to $5,000 in fines. If a person is over the age of 18 and the minor is between 12 and 16 years, they can face up to a third degree felony charge, up to 15 years in prison, and up to $10,000 in fines.
If an adult over 18 is convicted of this crime on a minor under 12 years of age, they can face up to life in prison and a felony charge on their record for life.
Individuals who are charged with any of these crimes can benefit immensely by hiring a well-versed criminal defense attorney in Florida to protect their legal rights.
The Difference Between Lewd or Lascivious Battery And Sexual Battery
Individuals can be charged with either of these crimes, but it is important to know the difference. In legal terms, individuals can be charged with sexual battery against an individual of any age. On the other hand, individuals can only be charged with lewd or lascivious battery if the victim is between the ages of 12 and 16.
Additionally, sexual battery prohibits forceful sex with victims of any age whereas lewd or lascivious battery addresses sexual contact a person may have had with a minor even if they gave consent.
Defenses Against Lewd And Lascivious Molestation In Florida
Individuals who are accused of these crimes can argue various legal defenses to have their charges dismissed or reduced. There are some cases where offenders are able to argue various circumstances in their case. Some of these include:
Romeo and Juliet Exception: The only exception to the mandatory registration as a sex offender falls under the Romeo and Juliet exception in Florida. This law allows certain individuals to petition the court in an effort to be excluded from the registry. These individuals are only able to petition for exclusion from registration requirements if their case meets qualifying requirements for eligibility.
Mitigating Circumstances: In some cases, particularly those in which an offender faces a second or third degree felony, the court can deviate from the minimum sentence requirements. These circumstances must present adequate evidence that any of the following exist:
- The child initiated the acts, willingly participated, was the aggressor, or the provoker of the incident;
- The defendant requires specialized treatment due to a mental disorder; or
- The defendant is to be sentenced as a youthful offender.
In addition to the pretrial and trial defenses, individuals can also claim that the allegations are false or that they lack lewd intent.
Quite often, individuals who claim false allegations must present evidence that the accuser was manipulating the child (typically an angry parent), that the accuser suffers from a mental illness, or that the mentally ill parents influenced the child.
The defense for lack of lewd intent must show that there is no lewd or lascivious intent when engaging in the contact.
Individuals who are accused of lewd or lascivious crimes in Florida should contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to help with their case.
In Florida, there are various defenses that cannot be argued in cases involving lewd or lascivious molestation. These arguments often include:
Consent: Individuals cannot argue against charges based on the consent of a child because under Florida law, children are not able to legally consent to sexual acts.
Ignorance of the child’s age: Individuals cannot argue that a child lied about their age or that the offender had no knowledge of the child’s age during the time of the act. These are invalid arguments in the eyes of the court. Even cases involving two minors between the ages of 12 and 16 years of age can result in criminal charges.
It is crucial for the accused to contact a criminal defense attorney in Florida to help with their case as soon as possible, in order to determine the most effective defense strategy based on the specific circumstances.
Florida Lewd and lascivious Crimes Attorney
Being convicted of lewd and lascivious crimes in Florida can result in extensive prison time for both state and federal violations. Individuals who are convicted of these crimes face legal repercussions and they often face an array of negative social consequences as well. Those charged with these crimes can benefit greatly by contacting a reputable lewd and lascivious crimes attorney in Florida, who can help them fight to protect their legal rights.
Unfortunately, there are many times when innocent individuals are wrongfully accused of lewd and lascivious crimes. If you or a loved one are facing such charges, it is imperative for you to contact a highly skilled and experienced Florida lewd and lascivious crimes attorney to support you in your case.
With over 150-years of combined legal experience, attorneys at Musca Law have helped countless individuals fight the accusations against them. Our knowledgeable attorneys will closely examine the specifics of your case to help you build a strong defense to help you get your charges reduced or dismissed.
Working with our knowledgeable criminal defense attorneys will ensure you stand a chance at achieving a favorable outcome for your case. Contact our law firm today at (888) 484-5057 to schedule a free, no-obligation case evaluation to see how we can best support you.