If you have been arrested or are facing charges for lewd and lascivious battery because of alleged sexual contact with a minor in Sarasota, you might face substantial time in a Florida prison and thousands of dollars in fines. If you find yourself in this situation, Goldman Wetzel can help by providing aggressive legal representation on your behalf.
Our lewd and lascivious battery lawyers in Sarasota take a proactive approach by immediately getting involved in your case, developing a defense strategy, and working with the State Attorney’s Office to get it to drop or at least reduce your charges or penalties. Call us today at 941-405-5193 to schedule a free consultation.
What Constitutes Lewd and Lascivious Battery in Florida?
Florida Statute § 800.04(4) defines lewd or lascivious battery as:
- “Engaging in sexual activity with someone 12 years old or older but less than 16 years old.
- Encouraging, forcing, or enticing any person less than 16 years old to engage in sadomasochistic abuse, sexual bestiality, prostitution, or any other act involving sexual activity.”
What Penalties Might I Face for Lewd and Lascivious Battery in Sarasota?
According to Florida Statute § 800.04(4)(b), lewd and lascivious battery is a second-degree felony punishable by up to:
- 15 years in prison
- 15 years’ probation
- $10,000 fine
Florida Statute §800.04(4c) elevates the charge to a first-degree felony if you have past convictions of certain sex crimes involving a minor. A first-degree felony is punishable by up to:
- 30 years in prison
- 30 years’ probation
- $10,000 fine
Anyone convicted of certain sex offenses in Florida must register as a sex offender. This can affect your ability to get a job, retain custody of your children, or even to rent an apartment.
What Defense Can I Present in a Lewd and Lascivious Battery Case?
We craft defenses based on the facts of your case. Possible defenses we might use include:
- Mistaken identity (this might include providing the prosecution with an alternate suspect or providing an alibi for the time in question)
- False accusations
To build a strong defense, we must collect evidence to support your case. We do this by investigating the circumstances of the alleged incident. We will review such factors as:
- The police report to determine the basis of your arrest
- How the authorities learned about your alleged sexual contact with a minor (We might be able to prove the authorities engaged in entrapment.)
- The minor’s involvement in the alleged incident to determine whether the minor was an initiator, willing participant, or aggressor
- The role the minor’s parents had in initiating a complaint against you (The parents may have had ulterior motives and filed a false report against you.)
We may be able to show that mitigating circumstances exist which could provide additional defenses for your case. If we are able to prove these factors exist, the judge might deviate from the minimum mandatory prison sentence and issue a lesser penalty (called a downward departure).
Note: Ignorance of the minor’s age does not constitute a defense.
Can I Still Be Convicted If the Minor Consented?
Yes. The age of consent in Florida is 18; however, the law does allow 16- and 17-year-olds to consent to sexual contact with adults under the age of 24.
Children under 16 cannot consent to having sex in any capacity.
Can You Stop the State Attorney from Filing a Formal Charge?
The Goldman Wetzel attorneys always attempt to intervene early in a case to keep the state from filing a charge or to convince the state to file a lesser charge. While we work hard to get the state to look at the case from a defendant’s perspective, we cannot guarantee that the state will agree with our arguments.
What If the State Does Not Want to Negotiate?
We move forward with a trial and present our evidence to a jury. The Goldman Wetzel attorneys have over 30 years of combined trial experience. Maribeth Wetzel has devoted her entire career to advocating on behalf of individuals accused of committing serious crimes.
Summer Goldman began her career in the State Attorney’s Office as a prosecutor, so she knows how the prosecution will approach your case.
Goldman Wetzel Can Help You Fight a Lewd and Lascivious Battery Charge
The attorneys at Goldman Wetzel understand how an arrest or charge of lewd and lascivious battery can place your reputation, your job, and your relationship with your family at stake.
We work together on every case, using our differing legal experiences to determine the best approach for your case. We can also help with related charges, such as:
- Lewd and lascivious molestation
- Sexual battery
- Traveling to meet a minor
- Internet crimes
- Unlawful activity with a minor
If you or your child have been arrested or charged with this felony offense, contact our office now at 941-405-5193 to arrange a free consultation with our team. When your freedom is at risk, the strong legal advocates at Goldman Wetzel will fight for the best outcome possible for your case.