Sarasota Child Molestation Lawyers

Child Molestation Laws, Penalites, Defenses & Attorneys in Sarasota, Florida, FL

A person charged with a sex crime against children will face felony criminal charges that may land the defendant in prison for several years or even life in prison, depending on the circumstances of the defendant's case. Florida law states that child molestation is also referred to as Lewd and Lascivious Molestation and is defined as inappropriate fondling a child who is under the age of 16, over or underneath their clothes on the child's "intimate areas." Florida law also defines "intimate areas" as the genital area, breasts, or buttocks.  It is also lewd or lascivious molestation when an adult forces or entices a child to touch the adult's "intimate areas," and this act is also considered lewd or lascivious molestation, according to Florida Child Molestation Laws.

Child molestation criminal charges (lewd or lascivious molestation) will have a negative and immediate impact on an individual's reputation, career, personal life, and much more.  Unfortunately, there are several examples of people who were wrongfully prosecuted and accused of this crime, and the defendant is forced to deal with a substancial number of negative consequences.  It is urgent for those accused or charged with lewd or lascivious molestation in Florida to contact an experienced Child Molestation Defense Attorney in Sarasota, Florida, as quickly as possible.

What Is The Legal Definition Of Molestation In Florida?

Florida Criminal Code defines child molestation as the lewd or lascivious acts of sexual contact, such as touching a child's private parts over or underneath their clothing. Individuals might also be charged the criminal offense if they have a child is under the age of 16 and touch their private parts in any lewd or lascivious way.

Punishment For Lewd Or Lascivious Molestation In Sarasota, Florida

Those convicted of lewd or lascivious molestation in the state of Florida will face a lot of negative hardships for the rest of their lives. These severe and negative consequences will impact their ability to find housing, gain employment, and limit their freedom to visit certain places.

Individuals who are under 18 years of age and have been charged with lewd or lascivious molestation (child molestation) against a minor child between the ages of 12 and 16 years will face the following potential penalties:

  • A criminal charge of a third-degree felony;
  • Up to five years in prison; and
  • Up to $5,000 in fines.

If the accused is over the age of 18, and the child is between 12 and 16 years old, the defendant will face criminal penalties, such as:

  • A second-degree felony charge;
  • Up to 15 years in state prison; and
  • Up to $10,000 in legal fines.

In lewd or lascivious molestation cases, when the accused is 18 years or older, and the minor child is under the age of 12, the defendant will face felony charges that will remain on their permanent criminal record and a prison sentence of up to life in prison.

In addition to the afforementioned penalites, if a defendant is convicted of lewd or lascivious molestation, he or she might be required to register as a sex offender in Florida and Nationally. A registered sex offender will find it extremely difficult to find housing, find employment, and the public sex offender registration can even negatively impact their personal relationships.

If you, a friend, or a loved one have been accused of committing child molestation (lewd or lascivious molestation) in Sarasota, Florida, you must communicate with one of our Sarasota Child Molestation Defense Attorney as quickly as possible to learn about your legal rights and to protect those legal rights. Call Musca Law 24/7 at (941) 909-3234 or visit our Sarasota office located at 2075 Main St Suite 22, Sarasota, FL 34237. 

The Kinds of Molestation Criminal Offenses In Sarasota, Florida

According to Florida's Criminal Law Statutes, there are several types of child molestation criminal offenses, such as:

Lascivious Acts: People are charged with lascivious acts when they are caught committing sexual acts in public or in the presence of a minor child. These behaviors are significant sex crimes under Florida law and are pursued aggressively by State's Attorneys. It is common for state prosecutors and federal agents to press for maximum prison sentences for individuals convicted of sexual acts involving children, even when there is no solid evidence against the accused.

According to Florida law, the following actions are considered lascivious acts punishable with lengthy prison sentences:

  • Molestation;
  • Touching of genitals;
  • Masturbation; and
  • Indecent exposure.
  • Soliciting a minor to touch genitals;
  • Touching the breasts or buttocks or genitals;
  • Soliciting a minor to touch the breasts or buttocks or genitals;
  • Performing a sexual act in front of a minor;
  • Rubbing of genitals through clothing.

Individuals charged with lewd or lascivious molestation will face many severe penalties and punishments. If the "alleged" offender is 18 years old or older, he or she could face between 2 and 15 years in state prison and may face additional criminal charges up to a second-degree felony.  Defendants who are under the age of 18 and commit lewd or lascivious molestation could be charged with a third-degree felony charge, and face a prison sentence between 2 years and 5 years.

Lewd & Lascivious Behavior: Florida Law states that people who are engaging in lewd or lascivious behavior will face second-degree misdemeanor criminal charges. The defendant, if convicted, would spend between 5 and 60 days in jail. Although these criminal offenses are not as severe as other types of molestation criminal charges, they still have a detrimental impact on a defendant's reputation.

Lewd or Lascivious Battery: Lewd or lascivious battery in Florida is the forceful engagement in sexual acts with a child between 12 and 16 years of age. Even if the child grants consent, offenders will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. In Florida, children under 16 cannot give consent for sexual acts.

Those charged with lewd or lascivious battery will face a third-degree felony charge, which is punished with a prison sentence between 10 and 16 years, fines of up to $5,000, and a mandatory lifetime sex offender registration on the Florida and Nationwide databases. Also, these fines and sentences will be increased if offender  is a repeat offender or faces multiple counts.

Lewd or Lascivious Conduct: Under Florida law, lewd or lascivious conduct is defined as the intentional and inappropriate and intentional touching of a child who is under 16 years of age or the intentional forcing of a child under 16 years of age to touch another person in a lewd or lascivious way. Defendants who are 18 years of age or older will a second-degree felony criminal charges, which are punishable with two and 15 years in prison. Defendants who are under the age of 18 will face a third-degree charge, which is punished with between 2 and 5 years in prison.

Lewd or Lascivious Exhibition: Defendants may face criminal charges of lewd or lascivious exhibition if the defendant performs sexual acts in front of minors who are under the age of 16. These behaviors 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 defendant is under 18 years old, they can face up to a third-degree felony and between 2 and 5 years in prison. Offenders who are over the age of 18 can face up to a second-degree felony criminal charge and between 2 and 15 years in prison.

Lewd or Lascivious Molestation: According to Florida law, an individual could 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.

Sex perpetrators under the age of 18 who are convicted of this crime against a minor between 12 and 16 years of age, might face up to a felony in the third degree, five years in prison, and up to $5,000 in fines. If a defendant is over the age of 18 and the minor is between 12 and 16 years, the defendant might 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.

Defendants who have been charged with any of those crimes could benefit immensely by hiring a skilled criminal defense attorney in Florida to protect their legal rights.

The Difference Between Lewd or Lascivious Battery And Sexual Battery

Individuals could be charged with either of these ciminal offenses, but it is essential to understand the difference. In legal terms, individuals might be charged with sexual battery against a person of any age. On the other hand, individuals can only be charged with lewd or lascivious battery if the alleged victim is between the ages of 12 and 16.

Sexual battery is 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 Sarasota

Defendants who have been accused of these sex crimes can argue various legal defenses to have their charges reduced or case dismissed. There are a few cases where defendants are able to argue different circumstances in their case.

Some of these circumstances could include: 

Mitigating Circumstances: In some lewd or lascivious molestation cases, particularly those in which an offender faces a second- or third-degree felony, the court could 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.

Romeo and Juliet Exception: In Florida, there is only one exception to the mandatory registration as a sex offender falls under the Romeo and Juliet exception in Florida.  The law allows some 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.

In addition to the pretrial defenses and trial defenses, defendants may also claim that the allegations are false or that they lack lewd intent.

Quite often, defendants who claim false allegations are required to present evidence that the accuser was manipulating the child (typically an angry parent), the accuser suffers from a mental illness, or that the mentally ill parents influenced the child.

The legal defense for lack of lewd intent must prove that there is no lewd or lascivious intent when the defendant was engaging in the contact.

Defendants who are accused of lewd or lascivious crimes in Florida must contact a criminal defense attorney as quickly as possible to help with their case.

Inarguable Defenses

In Florida, there are various legal defenses that may not be argued in cases involving lewd or lascivious molestation.

These arguments often include:

Consent: Defendants may not argue against their charges based on the consent of a child because Florida law children does not give children the power to legally consent to sexual acts.

Ignorance of the child's age: Individuals may not argue that a child lied about their age or that the offender had no understand of the child's age at 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 could result in criminal charges.

It is important for the accused to speak with a Sex Crime Defense Attorney from Musca Law to help with their criminal case as quickly as possible, to determine the most effective defense strategy based on the specific circumstances.

Sarasota Lewd or Lascivious Molestation Defense Attorneys

Those who are convicted of lewd and lascivious crimes in Sarasota, Florida, can result in extensive prison time for both state and federal violations.  Defendants who are convicted of these sex crimes face severe legal repercussions and they often face several negative social consequences as well. Those charged with these crimes often benefit greatly by contacting a reputable lewd and lascivious crimes attorney in Sarasota, Florida, who can help them fight to protect their legal rights.

Unfortunately, many times 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 or lascivious crimes attorney to support you in your case.

The criminal defense attorneys at Musca Law have over 150-years of combined legal experience and  have helped countless individuals fight the accusations against them. Our attorneys work closely examine the specifics of your case to help you build a solid legal defense to help you get your charges reduced or dismissed.

Our Sarasota Child Molestation Defense Attorneys will ensure you that you stand a chance at achieving a favorable outcome for your case. Contact our law firm today at (941) 909-3234 to receive your free, no-obligation case evaluation to see how we can best support you.  You may also stop by our local law office located at 2075 Main St Suite 22, Sarasota, FL 34237. 

Sarasota Office

Musca Law

2075 Main St Suite 22
Sarasota, FL 34237

(941) 909-3234

Hours: Open, Open 24/7


8FPC+PH Sarasota, Florida

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