Tampa Child Molestation Lawyers
Child Molestation Laws, Penalites, Defenses & Attorneys in Tampa, Florida, FL
Individuals charged with sex crimes against children will face felony charges that could land the defendant in jail for several years or even life in prison, depending on the facts of the case. According to Florida law, child molestation is called Lewd and Lascivious Molestation and is defined as inappropriate touching a child who is under the age of 16, underneath or over their clothes on their "intimate areas." Florida law defines "intimate areas" as the buttocks, genital area, or breasts. It is also deemed lewd or lascivious molestation for an adult to force or entice a child to touch their "intimate areas," and this behavior is also considered lewd or lascivious molestation under Florida Child Molestation Laws.
Charges of child molestation (lewd or lascivious molestation) will have an immediate and negative impact on a person's reputation, personal life, career, and much more. Unfortunately, there are many examples of individuals who were being wrongfully accused and prosecuted for this crime, and the defendant is forced to deal with an overabundance of negative consequences. It is urgent for those accused of lewd or lascivious molestation in Florida to contact an aggressive defense attorney in Tampa, Florida, as soon as possible.
What Is The Legal Definition Of Molestation In Florida?
Florida Criminal Code defines the behavior of child molestation as the lewd or lascivious acts of sexual contact, such as touching a child's private parts underneath or over their clothing. People may 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 manner.
Punishment For Lewd Or Lascivious Molestation In Tampa, Florida
People convicted of lewd or lascivious molestation in Florida will face an array of negative hardships for the rest of their lives. These negative consequences will impact their ability to gain employment, finding housing, and limit their freedom to visit certain places.
People who are under 18 years of age and are charged with lewd or lascivious molestation (child molestation) against a child between the ages of 12 and 16 years will face the following penalties:
- A criminal charge of a third-degree felony;
- Up to five years in prison; and
- Up to $5,000 in fines.
If the defendant is over the age of 18, and the child is between 12 and 16 years old, the defendant will face 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, if the offender is 18 years or old, and the child is under the age of 12, the defendant will face felony charges that remain on their permanent criminal record a prison sentence of up to life in prison.
In addition to criminal charges, if an individual is convicted of lewd or lascivious molestation, he or she could be forced to register as a sex offender in Florida and Nationally. A registered sex offender will find it extremely difficult to find employment, find housing, and the public sex offender registration can even negatively impact their personal relationships.
If you or a loved one has been accused of committing child molestation (lewd or lascivious molestation) in Tampa, Florida, you must communicate with one of our Tampa 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 (813) 362-5623 or visit our Tampa office located at 625 East Twiggs Street, Suite 1000, Unit 117, Tampa, FL 33602.
The Types of Molestation Criminal Offenses In Tampa, Florida
According to Florida's statutes, there are several types of child molestation criminal charges, including:
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:
- 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.
Those who are arrested and charged with lewd or lascivious molestation will face several severe penalties and punishments. If the "alleged" offender is 18 years old or older, he or she may face between 2 and 15 years in prison and may face criminal charges up to a second-degree felony. Defendants who are under the age of 18 and commit lewd or lascivious molestation can be charged with a third-degree felony charge and face a prison sentence between 2 and 5 years.
Lewd & Lascivious Behavior: Florida Law states that individuals engaging in lewd or lascivious behavior can face misdemeanor charges in the second-degree. The defendant, if convicted, could spend between 5 and 60 days in jail. Although these criminal charges are not as serious as other types of molestation, 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 such acts.
Defendants charged with lewd or lascivious battery will face a third-degree felony charge, which is punishable with prison terms between 10 and 16 years, legal fines of up to $5,000, and mandatory lifetime sex offender registration in Florida and Nationwide databases. Also, these fines and sentences will be increased if offender faces multiple counts or is a repeat offender.
Lewd or Lascivious Conduct: Under Florida law, lewd or lascivious conduct is defined as the 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 charges, which is punishable with 2 and 15 years in prison. Defendants 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 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 essential for the accused to talk with an experienced 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.
Tampa Lewd and Lascivious Defense Attorneys
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 Tampa Child Molestation Defense Attorneys will ensure you stand a chance at achieving a favorable outcome for your case. Contact our law firm today at (813) 362-5623 to schedule a free, no-obligation case evaluation to see how we can best support you. You may also stop by our local law office located at 625 East Twiggs Street, Suite 1000, Unit 117, Tampa, FL 33602.
625 East Twiggs Street, Suite 1000, Unit 117
Tampa, FL 33602