I have said it many times before, the worst type of criminal charge that you can face is a sex crime. One of the most common types of sex crimes is a lewd or lascivious offense.
Lewd or lascivious offenses do not involve actual rape. That is the crime of sexual battery.
Lewd or lascivious offenses can be either lewd or lascivious battery, lewd or lascivious exhibition, lewd or lascivious molestation, and lewd or lascivious battery.
The law dictates harsher penalties depending on the age of the victim. All lewd or lascivious crimes are enumerated in Florida Statute section 800.04.
Lewd or lascivious battery requires the state to prove that the accused engaged in sexual activity with a person between the ages of 12 and 16 or encouraged any person under 16 to engage in any type of sexual behavior. This crime is a second-degree felony punishable by 15 years in prison.
Lewd or lascivious molestation requires the state to prove that the accused touched the “breasts, genitals, genital area, or buttocks, or clothing covering them,” in a lewd or lascivious manner.
If the offender is 18 or older and the victim is younger than 12, the crime is punishable by life in prison.
If the offender is under 18 and the victim is less than 12, the crime is a second-degree felony punishable by 15 years in prison.
If the offender is under 18 and the victim is 12 or older but under 16, the crime is a second-degree felony.
Lewd or lascivious conduct occurs when a person “intentionally touches a person under 16” in a lewd or lascivious manner, or entices a person under 16 to commit a sexual act.
This crime is a second-degree felony punishable by 15 years in prison if the accused is 18 or older. An accused person under 18 commits a third-degree felony, punishable by 5 years in prison.
Lewd or lascivious exhibition basically occurs when a person exposes themselves in a lewd or lascivious manner or touches themselves inappropriately in front of a person under 16. This crime can be a second-degree felony if the accused is 18 or older. If the accused is under 18, it’s a third-degree felony.
Lewd or lascivious offenses can result in felony convictions, prison time, and registration as a sexual offender or predator. If the offense is a life felony, the accused could be subject to a 25-year mandatory prison term and lifetime probation with GPS monitoring under the Jessica Lunsford Act.
Eric Matheny is a criminal defense attorney representing clients in Miami and Broward charged with sex crimes, including sexual battery and lewd or lascivious offenses.