All crimes against children are prosecuted fervently in Florida, particularly sex crimes. There are several types of lewd and lascivious charges related to minors, two of which are battery and molestation. These types of crimes can mean harsh penalties, including fines and imprisonment. If you’re facing lewd and lascivious battery or molestation charges in St. Petersburg or Tampa, contact the defense team at Goldman Wetzel for counsel.
Florida’s Definition of and Penalties for Lewd and Lascivious Battery
Lewd and lascivious battery is commonly referred to as statutory rape. According to Florida Statutes 800.04(4)(a), both of the actions below fall under this charge.
- “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.”
Florida considers lewd and lascivious battery a second-degree felony, punishable by up to 15 years of imprisonment and a $10,000 fine. In addition to these penalties, those convicted must register as a sexual offender or, if convicted of a first-degree felony sex crime or two second-degree felony sex crimes within 10 years, as a sexual predator.
Florida’s Definition of and Penalties for Lewd and Lascivious Molestation
Florida Statutes 800.004(5)(a) explains “A person who intentionally touches in a lewd or lascivious manner the breasts, genitals, genital area, or buttocks, or the clothing covering them, of a person less than 16 years of age, or forces or entices a person under 16 years of age to so touch the perpetrator, commits lewd or lascivious molestation.”
The penalties for lewd and lascivious molestation depend on the age of the defendant and victim.
- Defendant 18 or older, victim under 12: First-degree felony punishable by life imprisonment (up to life in prison; fine up to $15,000)
- Defendant under 18, victim under 12: Second-degree felony (up to 15 years imprisonment; fine up to $10,000)
- Defendant 18 or older, victim 12 or older but under 16: Second-degree felony (up to 15 years imprisonment; fine up to $10,000)
- Defendant under 18, victim 12 or older but under 16: Third-degree felony (up to 5 years imprisonment; fine up to $5,000)
Those convicted also must register as a sexual offender or sexual predator, as described in the previous section.
Keys of Building a Good Defense for Lewd and Lascivious Battery or Molestation Charges in St. Petersburg
Our criminal defense lawyers are well-versed in all aspects of sex crimes. We have utilized a number of strategies and defenses for our clients. Our goal is always for a dismissal or an acquittal. If that’s not feasible, sometimes the charges can be mitigated, and sometimes the penalties can be reduced. Much depends on the details of the case.
Below are tactics that we use at Goldman Wetzel that have proven vitally important to defending against lewd and lascivious battery/molestation charges:
- Early legal intervention — It’s important to have an attorney start working on your behalf right away. We like to take a proactive, aggressive approach, which enables us to conduct our own investigation and get a head start on the prosecution.
- No holds barred — The defense must take a no-holds-barred approach to defending against serious crimes such as these cases. We use all of our available resources and devote our attention to defending our clients carefully.
- Attention to detail – We will comb through your case not only to present evidence in your favor, but also to point out any deficiencies in the state’s case (which we then pick apart).
Goldman Wetzel’s Defense Attorneys Fight for You
It’s a horrible shame when innocent people are accused of crimes they didn’t commit or when state attorneys get overzealous with their prosecution. People should not be convicted on the basis of false identities, unfounded accusations, sloppy detective work or false testimonies.
If you’ve been charged with lewd and lascivious battery/molestation in St. Petersburg or Tampa, we encourage you to call the office of Goldman Wetzel. The initial consultation is free. Should you decide to retain us, we will begin working on your case immediately, fighting for your best interests until the case is resolved.
Contact us today at 727-828-3900 to schedule a call with one of our lawyers.