Lewd and lascivious battery, the term Florida law uses for statutory rape, is a felony offense, punishable by imprisonment, fines, and mandatory inclusion on the national sex offender registry.
Oftentimes, these cases come about when the younger party’s parents make a complaint against her older boyfriend. He may think her consent shields him from charges, but this is not the case. It does not matter if the young couple are in a relationship or whether she was upfront about her age. The prosecutor can still file charges for lewd and lascivious battery and seek maximum penalties.
If you have been accused of statutory rape, call our lewd and lascivious battery defense lawyers in Bradenton to discuss your case. We can provide the aggressive representation and legal advice you need when facing these serious charges. Call 941-405-5193 for a free consultation today.
What Does Florida Consider Statutory Rape?
Statutory rape, the commonly used term for lewd and lascivious battery, is misleading. The offense does not necessarily involve forcible rape or non-consensual sexual relations.
Florida Statute § 800.04(4), defines lewd and lascivious battery as “engaging in sexual activity with a person 12 years of age or older but less than 16 years of age; or encouraging, forcing, or enticing any person less than 16 years of age to engage in sadomasochistic abuse, sexual bestiality, prostitution, or any other act involving sexual activity.”
Consent, or the age at which the law recognizes can responsibly consent to sex, is not a factor in statutory rape cases. Because Florida deems the age of consent as 18 (or 16 or 17 if the defendant is under age 24), the younger party in a statutory rape case cannot legally consent to sex.
Can Goldman Wetzel Help with My Lewd and Lascivious Battery Case in Bradenton?
Yes. Our firm is dedicated to providing tough, thorough legal defense for those charged with various types of crimes, including both misdemeanor and felony offenses. We represent clients from all walks of life in Bradenton and throughout Florida who have been charged with sex crimes such as lewd and lascivious battery.
Below are just some of the other sex-crime related cases we accept:
- Sexual battery
- Lewd and lascivious conduct
- Lewd and lascivious molestation
- Unnatural and lascivious act
- Exposure of sexual organs
- Lewd or lascivious exhibition in the presence of an employee
What Are the Penalties for Lewd and Lascivious Battery?
Statutory rape is a second-degree felony in Florida. The penalties are harsh and include up to:
- 15 years in prison;
- 15 years of probation; and
- A $10,000 fine.
There are a few additional things to note about the repercussions for lewd and lascivious battery:
1) Aggravating factors: If the victim was under 12 years old, the state will escalate the offense and the penalties starkly increase. If the defendant was a minor at the time of the incident, he will face up to 30 years in prison. If the defendant was an adult, he could face life in prison.
2) Priors: Like many other types of crimes, if the defendant has a prior conviction on his record for a similar offense, the state will likely upgrade the offense to a first-degree felony, which carries penalties of up to 30 years in prison.
3) Early release: Per Florida Statute § 944.275, defendants convicted of lewd and lascivious battery are ineligible for time off for good behavior. They must serve the entirety of their sentence.
4) Strict liability: Lewd and lascivious battery is a strict liability offense in Florida, which means it can hold you “strictly liable” for the crime, irrespective of whether you knew how old the victim was or whether she was the initiator of the incident. This nullifies ignorance and promiscuity as defenses to the charges.
5) Social stigma: If convicted, the defendant will be listed on the national sex offender registry and must abide by all the accompanying rules. This could impair future job opportunities, limit housing options, and create a lasting stain on your personal and public reputation.
How Do I Fight Statutory Rape Charges?
First, do not provide law enforcement officers with anything but your identifying information without your attorney present. Investigators can record your remarks and the state can later use them against you.
Next, call our lewd and lascivious battery lawyers in Bradenton at 941-405-5193 at your first opportunity if you have yet to hire counsel. A good defense attorney can be your best weapon when facing serious charges. We can investigate the facts of the case, identify any weaknesses or gaps in the state’s case, and develop a personalized defense strategy to fight your charges.
How we approach your case depends on numerous factors. We may be able to present facts at the initial hearing that deter the prosecutor from filing any charges or that sways the court to dismiss the charges against you. When that is not possible, we may try to secure a plea bargain or push for reduced charges with lesser penalties.
When you work with our team, you can expect professionalism, dedicated legal representation, and legal advocates who will fight for your best interests during the entire legal process. Contact our office today and speak to one of our attorneys about your case.
Charged with Statutory Rape in Bradenton? Goldman Wetzel Can Help.
Protect your future. Enlist the help of our defense attorneys in Bradenton to challenge the accusations made against you and help you navigate through the confusing criminal justice system.
When you call our office, we will ask a few basic questions about your case, give you our initial impression, and explain how we may be able to help. We will also tell you what the next steps are if you choose to retain us, so we can spring into action and get to work on your case. Contact Goldman Wetzel today to get started.