Lewd or Lascivious Crimes
In Florida, sexual activity involving children twelve and up but under 16 is against the law. Crimes of this nature are referred to as “lewd or lascivious” and include consensual sexual activity with or between children 12 or above but under 16. Under Statute 800.04, the victim’s consent, initiation of sexual conduct, or misinformation about the victim’s age are prohibited defenses. If you are facing charges for lewd or lascivious crimes in Palm Beach County, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney to evaluate your case.
Lewd or Lascivious Crimes Attorney in West Palm Beach
A conviction for a lewd or lascivious crime can not only lead to severe consequences like steep fines and a hefty jail or prison sentence, it can force you to register as a sex offender. Sex offender status follows you for the rest of your life and can lead to a series of obstacles that may affect many aspects of your life, extending beyond the time you serve behind bars. Lewd or lascivious offenses must be taken seriously, which is why attorney Brian Gabriel thoroughly evaluates all sides of a case when providing strong criminal defense in West Palm Beach.
Types of Lewd or Lascivious Crimes
When sexual activity does not rise to the level of rape or sexual battery, the behavior is referred to as “lewd or lascivious.” Today, almost all prosecutions for lewd and lascivious offenses are against people accused of sexual activity involving a minor under 16 years old.
- Lewd or lascivious battery describes the offense of engaging in sexual activity with a minor between 12 and 15 years old, or encouraging, forcing, or enticing any person between 12 and 15 years old to engage in sexual activity. This is typically a second degree felony for which an offender may face 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
- Lewd or lascivious molestation is the intentional touching in a sexual manner of the sexual areas of a person under 16 or forcing or enticing such a person to touch the perpetrator in the genital or buttocks area in a sexual manner.
- Penalties for lewd or lascivious molestation depend on the ages of those involved. If the accused is 18 or older but the victim is under 12, this is considered a life felony. If the accused is under 18 but the victim is under 12, or between 12 and 15, this is considered a second degree felony.
- Lewd or lascivious conduct is the intentional touching of a person under 16 but over 12 in a sexual manner or soliciting a minor between 12 and 15 to commit a sexual act. If the accused offender is 18 or older, this is prosecuted as a second degree felony offense. If the accused offender is under 18, it is a third degree felony punishable by five years in prison and/ or a fine of up to $5,000.
- Lewd or lascivious conduct occurs when sexual activity that does not involve people between 12 and 15 years old occurs in front of those who are in that age range. You can be convicted of lewd or lascivious exhibition if the prosecution proves you:
- Exposed the genitals in a sexual manner or
- Committed any other sexual act that did not involve physical or sexual contact with the alleged victim, including the simulation of a sexual act
Lewd or lascivious exhibition is a third degree felony if the accused is under 18. If the accused is a legal adult, this is a second degree felony offense.
Like many sex crimes, there is usually no hard evidence that a lewd or lascivious crime took place. Many such crimes boil down to a “he said, she said” scenario. Sometimes, false claims or reports are made. It is not uncommon for parents to push their children into lying about being the victim of such a crime when no crime took place. This is why it is especially important to work with an experienced defense attorney if you have been arrested and charged with a lewd or lascivious crime.
For over 30 years, attorney Brian Gabriel has dedicated his career to the defense of individuals accused of criminal offenses throughout Palm Beach County. When you work with Mr. Gabriel, you work with someone who is passionate about upholding your rights and protecting your interests, who will educate you at each turn. Call 561-622-5575 or contact The Law Office of Gabriel & Gabriel online to schedule your first consultation, absolutely free.