Lewd & Lascivious Florida Laws

Florida law criminalizes sexual activity with minors under 16 years of age. Even if there was consent, engaging or enticing a minor to have intimate relations is considered a lewd and lascivious offense. Since this type of accusation can lead to a felony charge, you should contact a dedicated sex crimes attorney to help you with your case.

Many teenagers or young adults find themselves facing lewd and lascivious charges as a result of having a relationship with a younger teen. In these cases, having the other party’s consent does not shield you from facing criminal charges. According to the lewd and lascivious Florida laws, a conviction results in imprisonment, fines and other severe consequences.

What is Considered Lewd and Lascivious in Florida?

In a broad definition, in Florida, a lewd and lascivious act consists of engaging or enticing a minor under 16 years of age to engage in any type of sexual activity. According to the law, intentionally touching a child in a lustful manner is also considered a lewd and lascivious act. This offense is considered a felony.

Lewd and lascivious, also known as statutory rape, are actions of sexual nature that involve a person younger than 16 years. Given that people this age have not met the age of consent, having any type of intimate contact with them is considered illegal in Florida, even if the relationship was consensual.

Depending on the nature of the offense, lewd and lascivious acts can be classified as battery, molestation, conduct and exhibition. All of these offenses are charged as felonies and the penalties associated with these crimes depend on the nature of the crime as well as the presence of aggravating factors.

Types of lewd and lascivious acts

Florida Statute § 800.04 encompasses the definitions and penalties associated with lewd and lascivious acts.

According to this statutelewd and lascivious battery is defined as intentionally engaging with a minor between 12 and 16 years of age. Additionally, encouraging or forcing people under 16 to engage in any sexual activity is also considered lewd and lascivious battery.

Lewd and Lascivious Molestation

This consists of intentionally and lustfully touching certain parts of a minor’s body (or the clothing covering them) such as chest, buttocks, or genitals. Encouraging a minor to touch these areas in the defendant’s body is also considered a lewd and lascivious molestation offense.

Lewd and Lascivious Conduct

The same statute defines lewd and lascivious conduct as intentionally touching any part of a minor’s body in a sexual manner or encouraging a person under 16 years of age to commit a lewd or lascivious act. For example, if touching a minor’s leg is perceived as offensive or sexual, a crime has been committed.

Lewd or Lascivious Exhibition

In Florida, lewd or lascivious exhibition does not imply physical or sexual contact. This offense is defined as intentionally masturbating or exposing the genitals in the presence of a person less than 16 years of age.

An accusation for these offenses can lead to long-lasting consequences. As a result, you should have a lawyer on your side with trial experience dealing with these types of charges. Goldman Wetzel attorneys have successfully represented clients facing lewd and lascivious charges.

Schedule an appointment with our criminal lawyers to explore the best course of action for your case.

Sexual Battery vs. Lewd and Lascivious Offenses

Sexual battery and lewd and lascivious offenses are usually confused. Nevertheless, sexual battery is a forcible sexual offense against people from all ages. Lewd and lascivious encompasses any type of sexual contact with a minor between 12 and 16 years of age who provided her or his consent.

Even though lewd and lascivious is also known as statutory rapethese offenses do not necessarily imply a forcible rape like sexual battery does.  

Florida Sentencing for Lewd and Lascivious Offenses

As established before, Florida law considers lewd and lascivious crimes to be felonies. The penalties associated with these crimes depend on a number of factors including the following:

  • Defendant and alleged victim’s age at the time of the offense
  • Type of lewd and lascivious act
  • Defendant’s prior convictions

Below there are some of the Florida penalties associated with lewd and lascivious acts.

Lewd and Lascivious Battery Sentencing 

Offense Charge Maximum imprisonment Maximum fine
Victim between 12 – 16 years of age Second-degree felony 15 years $10,000
Defendant 18 years or older, or previous convictions First-degree felony 30 years $10,000

Lewd and Lascivious Molestation Penalties

Offense Charge Maximum imprisonment Maximum fine
Defendant less than 18 years and victim between 12-16 years Third-degree felony 5 years $5,000
Defendant less than 18 years and victim less than 12 years Second-degree felony 15 years $10,000
Defendant over 18 years and victim between 12 and 16 years Second-degree felony 15 years $10,000
Defendant over 18 years with prior convictions First-degree felony 30 years $10,000
Defendant over 18 years and victim less than 12 Life felony Life imprisonment

Lewd and lascivious conduct sentencing

Offense Charge Maximum imprisonment Maximum fine
Defendant less than 18 years old Third-degree felony 5 years $5,000
Defendant 18 years or older Second-degree felony 15 years $10,000

Lewd and lascivious exhibition penalties

Offense Charge Maximum imprisonment Maximum fine
Defendant less than 18 years old Third-degree felony 5 years $5,000
Defendant 18 years or older Second-degree felony 15 years $10,000

In addition to these penalties, a conviction for lewd and lascivious requires the culprit to register as a sexual offender. Given that these offenses are not eligible for a sentence reduction for good behavior, it is important to have a Florida lewd and lascivious lawyer next to you.

Sealing Lewd and Lascivious Charges in Florida

In Florida, even if the adjudication was withheld, lewd and lascivious offenses against minors, disabled or elderly people are not eligible for a sealing or expunging process.

Defenses for Lewd and Lascivious Charges

With any criminal charge, building a successful and strong defense depends on the facts of each case. As a result, if you are facing criminal charges for lewd and lascivious behavior in Florida it is important that you look for legal representation.

Some of the possible defenses that the criminal lawyers at Goldman Wetzel might be able to 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
  • Lack of lewd or lascivious intent

Given that ignorance of the minor’s age does not constitute a defense, your lawyer needs to build a strong defense based on evidence that can support your case. Goldman Wetzel does this by investigating the circumstances of the alleged incident. We will review factors such 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)

If you want to explore the possible defenses for your case, book an appointment with our defense lawyers.

Contact a Florida Lewd and Lascivious Lawyer

Florida does not take crimes against minors lightly. Therefore, if you or your loved one was recently arrested for this offense, you should have a skilled defense attorney on your side.

By taking a proactive approach, the Goldman Wetzel lawyers might be able to convince the prosecutor to reduce the charges or have them dropped altogether, depending on the circumstances of your case.

If you or a loved one is facing charges for lewd and lascivious crimes in Florida, you should speak to a sex crimes attorney. Get in touch with the Goldman Wetzel attorneys to schedule a free consultation today, discuss your legal options, and learn more about lewd and lascivious Florida laws.