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The Florida laws that prohibit lewd or lascivious conduct serve as a catch all for all acts that are not listed in the sexual battery statute, and the statute concerning unlawful sexual activity with certain minors. Lewd or lascivious conduct is broken up into two main categories, with the first being battery and the second being molestation. Lewd or lascivious battery is sexual activity with a minor under the age of 16 but at least 12. Either penetration or union of the genitals must have been alleged order for a person to be charged with lewd and lascivious battery, and any violation of this section is a second-degree felony. Consent is not an element of this offense, so the victim must have been coherent and a willing participant. The state is rarely willing to concede that a victim under the age of 16 knowingly and voluntarily consented to the sexual activity, so the defendant is usually charged with sexual battery as well. Either way, the crime of lewd or lascivious battery is serious enough to result in a lengthy prison sentence and the lifetime stigma of being labeled as a convicted felon and a sex offender. Anyone who has been charged or believes they may be a suspect should contact a lawyer immediately. Benjamin Herbst is a South Florida criminal lawyer who specializes in lewd or lascivious battery in all jurisdictions from Miami-Dade County to St. Lucie County. He has extensive experience representing defendants charged with sexual offenses in South Florida and can meet in his Broward County office in Fort Lauderdale or his Palm Beach County Office seven days a week. Benjamin is also willing to meet at any convenient location and is always available by phone at (954) 543-0305.
Under Florida law sexual contact that does not involve penetration is classified as lewd or lascivious molestation. In contrast to battery, molestation does not require penetration or union of the genitals. All that is required is for the state to prove the defendant touched the breasts, genitals or buttocks of the victim in a lewd manner or that the defendant enticed the victim to touch him or her. Over the clothing touches count as molestation, which is one reason defendants are wrongfully charged frequently. The laws regarding lewd or lascivious molestation are highly dependent on the age of the victim, and do not apply to 16 and 17-year old minors. Lewd or lascivious molestation by an adult on a minor that is under the age of 12 is classified as a life felony under Florida law. An adult who molests a minor under 16 but at least 12 commits a second-degree felony. Minors may also be charged with lewd or lascivious molestation if the victim was under the age of 16, so juvenile molestation cases are common. A juvenile can face a second-degree felony for molesting a child under the age of 12, and a third-degree felony for inappropriately touching a minor between 12 and 15.
Just like all other sex offenses in Florida, ignorance of the victim’s age is not a defense. Additionally, it does not matter whether the victim lied about his or her age or that the defendant actually believed the victim was older. As we stated before, consent is not a defense to lewd or lascivious battery or molestation. It is a strict liability crime that only focuses on the age difference between the defendant and the victim. If you have been charged with any offense under the Florida lewd or lascivious conduct laws call Benjamin immediately for a free consultation. Suspects in sex offense cases who are unrepresented are extremely vulnerable to police coercion and investigatory tactics designed to gain evidence later used in prosecution. Benjamin is a South Florida sex offense lawyer that will step in immediately and stop the police from attempting to gain evidence from a suspect. He is available 7 days a week to offer a free consultation to anyone who thinks they may be accused of violating laws related to molestation and sexual activity with minors. Call Benjamin today at (954) 543-0305 to learn the defenses that may be available in your case.