LEWD AND LASCIVIOUS BEHAVIOR
Tampa Criminal Defense Attorney for Lewd and Lascivious Charges
Any crime that involves a minor is severely prosecuted in the Florida criminal justice system. When those crimes involve a lascivious or lewd act, a person risks facing a felony conviction. As such, lewd and lascivious allegations can result in long prison sentences, expensive fines, and registering as a sex offender. These criminal charges should not be taken lightly, as they can affect those accused for the remainder of their life.
If you’ve been accused of lewd and lascivious acts, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney in Tampa to represent you. Attorney Andrew Buda understands the severity of these criminal charges and will do whatever it takes to get the most favorable outcome. As a former prosecuting attorney, Andrew Buda knows how harshly the prosecution pursues convictions in these cases and will aggressively defend you and protect your rights.
What is Considered Lewd and Lascivious Behavior in Florida?
The terms “lewd” and “lascivious” both refer to an offensive sexual desire, but there are some differences between the terms. Lewd refers to something that is regarded as lustful or sexually unchaste. Lascivious, on the other hand, means something is considered sexually arousing.
In Florida, lewd and lascivious behavior is considered any sexual activity that one engages in with a minor under 16. To be regarded as a lewd and lascivious act, the sexual conduct does not have to include penetration. A common example of a lewd and lascivious act would be the lustful touching of a child.
Also referred to as statutory rape, lewd and lascivious behavior includes any sexual acts that one performs with someone younger than 16. Regardless of whether the minor gave consent, the sexual activity is still illegal since the person has not met the age of consent and is considered too young to provide consent.
Florida Statute 800.04
Florida Statute 800.04 describes the different actions that can be considered lewd and lascivious and the penalties that one could face if convicted. According to Florida law, lewd or lascivious acts can be any behavior or action that pursues offensive sexual desires. Some offenses that fall under the lewd and lascivious statute include:
Types of Lewd or Lascivious Acts
According to Florida Statute 800.04, lewd and lascivious offenses can be considered molestation, conduct, exhibition, and battery, depending on the nature of the criminal offense. While all lewd and lascivious acts involve minors, the nature of the crimes varies based on the sexual conduct that occurs.
Lewd and Lascivious Battery
Under Florida Statute 800.04(4), lewd and lascivious battery occurs when a person engages in sexual activity with a minor between 12 and 16. Lewd and lascivious battery also includes a person forcing or encouraging minors under 16 to perform a sexual act.
Lewd and Lascivious Molestation
Lewd and lascivious molestation occurs when a person intentionally and lustfully touches certain areas of a minor’s body, like the buttocks, chest, or genitals. Encouraging a minor to touch these areas on the offender’s body is also illegal, according to Florida Statute 800.04(5).
Lewd and Lascivious Conduct
Florida Statute 800.04(6) defines lewd and lascivious conduct. This sex crime occurs when a person intentionally touches any area of a minor’s body in a sexual manner. Lewd and lascivious conduct can also include encouraging someone under 16 to commit a lewd or lascivious act.
Lewd or Lascivious Exhibition
Under Florida Statute 800.04(7), a person can be guilty of lewd or lascivious exhibition if they expose their genitals or masturbate in the presence of someone 16 or younger. The lewd or lascivious exhibition does not typically involve sexual contact or physical contact.
Penalties for Lewd and Lascivious Acts
In Florida, all lewd and lascivious offenses can result in felony charges. However, other circumstances surrounding the lewd and lascivious charges will determine the severity of an offender’s punishment.
Several factors that can impact an offender’s sentence are the alleged victim’s age at the time the offense occurred, the defendant’s age when the crime occurred, the type of lewd and lascivious act, and if the offender has prior convictions. If the sex crime involves aggravating factors, the penalties could also increase.
The penalties that one could face following the conviction of a lewd and lascivious offense include:
- Life imprisonment: Offenses that fall under this penalty involve an alleged victim under 12 and an offender over 18. This felony conviction results in life in prison.
- First-degree felony: For this criminal charge, the defendant is typically over 18 years of age and has prior convictions on their record. This conviction can result in up to 30 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.
- Second-degree felony: Lewd and lascivious acts that are punishable under this prison sentence involve victims between 12 and 16 and defendants 18 years or older. A second-degree felony can result in up to 15 years in prison and $10,000 in fines.
- Third-degree felony: Offenders who receive this sentence are 18 or younger and engage in lewd and lascivious acts with someone between 12 and 16. This felony conviction can result in up to five years in prison and $5,000 in fines.
Is a Lewd or Lascivious Act Eligible for Expungement?
No lewd and lascivious acts are eligible for expungement in Florida. Even if the judgment was withheld, the lewd and lascivious offense cannot be sealed or expunged. If convicted, an offender will have a lewd and lascivious charge on their criminal record forever. Hiring an experienced Tampa sex crimes attorney to represent you against such heinous charges is critical. If you’ve been accused of lewd and lascivious conduct, contact Tampa criminal defense attorney Andrew Buda today.
Additional Consequences for Lewd and Lascivious Acts
Anyone convicted of lewd and lascivious acts also deals with other consequences in addition to lengthy prison sentences and expensive fines. Not only will a person have a permanent mark on their criminal record, but they will be added to the sex offender registration.
Since lewd and lascivious offenses are not eligible for expungement, the conviction will remain on their criminal record forever. Any time someone runs a background check on someone with a lewd and lascivious charge, they’ll see their criminal conviction. A criminal record, especially one of this sort, can make it difficult for someone to find a job, buy a home, attend college, and qualify for a loan, among other things.
Defenses Against Lewd and Lascivious Behavior
Charges as serious as lewd and lascivious conduct require a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney with experience handling cases involving sex crimes. As a former prosecuting attorney, Andrew Buda understands how aggressively the prosecution goes after those accused of lewd and lascivious acts.
When defending clients against lewd and lascivious charges, there are several possible defense strategies attorney Andrew Buda might use. These may include:
- Mistaken identity
- Lack of intent
- No sexual desire
- Misconduct by law enforcement
- False accusations
It should be noted that certain defenses are prohibited since lewd and lascivious behavior is considered a strict liability crime. Those defenses include:
- Ignorance of the minor’s age
- Closeness in age
Why Do I Need a Tampa Criminal Defense Attorney?
Felony charges as serious as those associated with lewd and lascivious conduct should not be handled alone. Only an experienced criminal defense attorney will understand how to defend against the charges. Tampa sex crimes attorney Andrew Buda will use his experience as a former prosecuting attorney to build a strong defense to fight the lewd and lascivious charges brought against his client.
At Buda Law, your legal team will investigate the lewd and lascivious charges. They will evaluate the police report, look for discrepancies, and ensure that law enforcement followed procedure during your arrest. If not, your attorney can work to dismiss the evidence.
Your legal team from Buda Law will also investigate the minor’s role in the alleged sexual acts and determine if they were a willing participant or instigator. Attorney Andrew Buda will also examine the minor’s parents’ role in the criminal charges and decide whether they had ulterior motives in filing the report.
Lewd and lascivious allegations are not criminal charges that should be taken lightly. Those convicted can face years in prison and be forced to register as a sex offender. These allegations will remain with a person and affect their opportunities for the rest of their life. Don’t face these charges on your own.
Contact Tampa Criminal Defense Attorney Andrew Buda Today
Since lewd and lascivious acts involve minors, Florida harshly prosecutes those accused to the full extent. If you’ve been falsely accused, you need a Tampa sex crimes attorney to defend your rights against the serious allegations.
Attorney Andrew Buda knows the strategies the prosecution will use in order to get their conviction and will use this information to his advantage. Your attorney from Buda Law will create a solid defense against the charges and work to have them lowered, dropped, or dismissed.
If you’ve been charged with lewd and lascivious acts, contact Tampa sex crimes attorney Andrew Buda immediately. To schedule a free consultation, call Buda Law at 813-322-2832 or reach out online today.