Lewd & Lascivious Behavior
Under Florida law, lewd and lascivious behavior encompasses a variety of sexually motivated offenses, often involving minor children. Given the henious nature of these crimes, lewd and lascivious behavior is vigorously prosecuted and a conviction will result in fines, imprisonment and lasting damage to your reputation. This is why it is imperative to consult an experienced sex crimes attorney.
Valiente, Carollo and McElligott PLLC has extensive experience defending clients against charges of lewd and lascivious behavior throughout South Florida. While the terms lewd and lascivious are broadly defined, juries are instructed that they mean “a wicked, lustful, unchaste, licentious, or sensual intent on the part of the person doing an act.” Whether the conduct involves someone exposing his or her genitals in an indecent manner to the public or touching a minor in an indecent manner, charges for lewd and lascivious behavior are frequently based on circumstantial evidence.
Nonetheless, a conviction for lewd and lascivious behavior carries a stigma that will adversely impact your future. When you become our client, we presume your innocence and work tirelessly to either have the charges dismissed or to win an acquittal. Knowing that being charged with a sexually motivated offense is an overwhelming experience, our criminal defense attorneys will provide you with powerful legal representation when your future and your reputation are hanging in the balance.
Types of Lewd or Lascivious Offenses in Florida
A lewd or lascivious act may refer to number of offenses under Florida law, including:
- Battery — Engaging in sexual activity with a person 12 years of age or older, but less than 16; encourgaing, forcing, or enticing any person 12 years of age or older, but less than 16 to engage in sadomasochistic abuse, sexual bestiality, prostitution, or other sexual acts. Lewd and lascivious battery is charged as a second-degree felony. If the defendant is 18 years of age or older and has a prior sex offense conviction, the charged is elevated to a first-degree felony.
- Molestation — Touching the breasts, genitals, or buttocks, or the clothing covering them, of a victim less than 16 year of age in a lewd way. If the defendant is less than 18 years old and the victim is less than 12 years old, or the defendant is 18 or older and the victim is older than 12 years of age but less than 16, the crime is charged as a second-degree felony. If the defendant is 18 or older and the victim is less than 12 years of age, the crime is a life felony.
- Conduct — Intentionally touching a person under 16 years of age in a lewd or lascivious manner or soliciting a person under 16 years of age to commit a lewd or lascivious act. If the defendant is less than 18 years of age, the offense is a third-degree felony. If the defendant is 18 years of age or older, however, the crime is a second-degree felony.
- Exhibition — Exposing the genitals in public is a lewd or lascivious manner, masturbating in public, or committing any other sexual act not involving actual physical or sexual contact with the victim. If the defendant is less than 18 years of age, the crime is a third-degree felony. If the defendant is 18 years of age or older, lewd and lascivious exhibition is a second-degree felony.
Penalties for Lewd or Lascivious Behavior
While the penalties for a conviction hinge on the age of the defendant, the age of the victim, and the defendant’s criminal record, the maximum possible sentences are as follows:
- Second-Degree Misdemeanor — Up to 60 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $500
- Third-Degree Felony — Up to 5 years in prison and/or a fine up to $5,000
- Second-Degree Felony — Up to 15 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000
- First-Degree Felony — Up to 30 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000
- Life Felony — A minimum of 30 years, up to life in prison and a fine up to $15,000
In addition, individuals convicted of lewd and lascivious behavior may also be required to register as sex offenders, which can limit opportunties for employment or housing.
Why Choose Valiente, Carollo and McElligott PLLC?
At Valiente, Carollo and McElligott PLLC, we know that being charged with lewd and lascivious behavior is a serious matter. Not only do you face the loss of your freedom, the resulting reputational harm will make it difficult to find a place to live, particularly if the offense requires your mandatory registration as a sex offender. With so much at stake, the best decision you can make is to consult the experienced sex crimes attorneys at Valiente, Carollo and McElligott PLLC. We will take the time to explain the charges you are facing, choose the best line of defense, and fight tirelessly to protect your rights and your freedom. If you have been charged with lewd and lascivious behavior in Florida, don’t go it alone. The sooner you contact us, the sooner we can begin defending your good name.