Lewd or Lascivious Crimes
Sex crimes are highly-charged offenses and must be handled with care by an experienced defense attorney.
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Lewd or Lascivious

Any allegation of "lewd and lascivious" conduct against a child is serious. Because the allegations are rarely witnessed first-hand by any independent witness, the prosecution of these cases often involve circumstantial evidence and the often unreliable accusations of a child. Those allegations can be false or exaggerated because of "coaching" by a parent or untrained law enforcement officer, even if the "coaching" is inadvertent. 

Melbourne Lewd and Lascivious Defense Lawyer

These allegations can also be made against children as young as 12 or 13 years of age if it is alleged that they touched a younger child in an inappropriate manner. Often the cases are prosecuted in juvenile court, but depending on the age of the juvenile that is accused, the State Attorney's Office could file the charges in adult court. Because of the life-changing consequences of the accusations, parents should never allow a juvenile to discuss the allegation once they realize that the juvenile is being investigated for inappropriately touching a younger child.

Contact an attorney at the Law Offices of Germain & McCarthy, LLC to discuss any serious accusation of "lewd and lascivious" battery in Brevard County, FL, or any of the surrounding counties. Never talk to a law enforcement officer until after you have obtained representation from an experienced criminal defense attorney. Contact our offices to schedule a confidential consultation to discuss the accusation and obtaining experienced representation.


Lewd and Lascivious Crimes Information Center


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Lewd or Lascivious Conduct

The criminal offense basically alleges an inappropriate touching committed with a licentious, wicked, unchaste, lustful or sensual intent on the part of an individual accused of committing the sexual act. Lewd and lascivious conduct is a first-degree felony which involves the following types of allegations:

  • A person is accused of engaging in sexual activity with a person 12 years of age or older but less than 16 years of age; or
  • A person is accused of enticing, encouraging, or forcing a child less than 16 years of age to engage in any act involving sexual activity.

Under this statute, the age of the child is an element of the offense. If the alleged victim in the case is under the age of 12 years old, then consent is never a defense because the law conclusive presumes that a child that age could never consent to such an act. The seriousness of the charge depends on both the age of the person accused and the age of the alleged victim as discussed below. 

Florida law expressly excludes an act done for a bona fide medical purpose from the definition of "sexual activity." Also, a mother's breastfeeding of her baby does not under any circumstance constitute sexual activity or an act of lewd or lascivious conduct. However, touching a child's buttocks over the clothing could constitute an act of lewd and lascivious molestation under certain circumstances.

First Degree Felony Punishable by Life

If the alleged offender is 18 years of age or older and the alleged victim of the lewd or lascivious molestation is less than 12 years old, then the crime can be charged as a felony punishable by life.

Second Degree Felony


If the alleged offender is 18 years old or older and the alleged victim of the lewd or lascivious molestation is 12, 13, 14, or 15 years old, then the crime can be charged as a second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in Florida State prison.

If the alleged offender is a juvenile who is less than 18 years old or older and the alleged victim of the lewd or lascivious molestation is 11 years old or younger then the crime can be charged as a second degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in Florida State prison (assuming the juvenile is charged in adult court).

Third Degree Felony

If the alleged offender is a juvenile who is less than 18 years of age and the alleged victim of the lewd or lascivious molestation is 12, 13, 14, or 15 years old, then the crime can be charged as a third degree felony punishable by up to 5 years in Florida State prison if the juvenile is charged as an adult.


Sex Offender Registration Required Under Florida Law

If an individual is convicted of lascivious or lewd conduct under Florida law, the individual would be acknowledged as a sexual offender and would be required to act in accordance with Florida’s sexual offender registration laws.


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Potential Defenses

Since ignorance of the child's age is a statutorily prohibited defense to the crime of lewd and lascivious conduct. The two most common defenses raised in lewd and lascivious battery cases are that the allegations are false or that the conduct lacked the necessary sexually motivated Intent.


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False Allegations of Lewd or Lascivious Conduct

In certain cases, false allegations are made against an innocent person because of the parent or guardian's jealousy, manipulation of children by an angry parent, mental illness of the accuser or mentally ill parents influencing a child.


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Lack of Lewd Intent

The foundation of any allegation of lewd and lascivious conduct involves a sexually motivated intent. As a result, it is a defense to the offense if it can be revealed that there was no lewd or lascivious intent involved.


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Florida State Statute

According to Florida State Statute §800.04 for Lewd or lascivious offenses committed upon or in the presence of persons less than 16 years of age--

(1)(a) "Sexual activity" means the oral, anal, or vaginal penetration by, or union with, the sexual organ of another or the anal or vaginal penetration of another by any other object; however, sexual activity does not include an act done for a bona fide medical purpose.

(b) "Consent" means intelligent, knowing, and voluntary consent, and does not include submission by coercion.

(c) "Coercion" means the use of exploitation, bribes, threats of force, or intimidation to gain cooperation or compliance.

(d) "Victim" means a person upon whom an offense described in this section was committed or attempted or a person who has reported a violation of this section to a law enforcement officer.

(2) PROHIBITED DEFENSES.--Neither the victim's lack of chastity nor the victim's consent is a defense to the crimes proscribed by this section.

(3) IGNORANCE OR BELIEF OF VICTIM'S AGE.--The perpetrator's ignorance of the victim's age, the victim's misrepresentation of his or her age, or the perpetrator's bona fide belief of the victim's age cannot be raised as a defense in a prosecution under this section.

(4) LEWD OR LASCIVIOUS BATTERY.--A person who:

(a) Engages in sexual activity with a person 12 years of age or older but less than 16 years of age; or

(b) Encourages, forces, or entices any person less than 16 years of age to engage in sadomasochistic abuse, sexual bestiality, prostitution, or any other act involving sexual activity

commits lewd or lascivious battery, a felony of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

(5) LEWD OR LASCIVIOUS MOLESTATION.--

(a) A person who intentionally touches in a lewd or lascivious manner the breasts, genitals, genital area, or buttocks, or the clothing covering them, of a person less than 16 years of age, or forces or entices a person under 16 years of age to so touch the perpetrator, commits lewd or lascivious molestation.

(b) An offender 18 years of age or older who commits lewd or lascivious molestation against a victim less than 12 years of age commits a life felony, punishable as provided in s. 775.082(3)(a)4.

(c)1. An offender less than 18 years of age who commits lewd or lascivious molestation against a victim less than 12 years of age; or

2. An offender 18 years of age or older who commits lewd or lascivious molestation against a victim 12 years of age or older but less than 16 years of age

commits a felony of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

(d) An offender less than 18 years of age who commits lewd or lascivious molestation against a victim 12 years of age or older but less than 16 years of age commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

(6) LEWD OR LASCIVIOUS CONDUCT.--

(a) A person who:

1. Intentionally touches a person under 16 years of age in a lewd or lascivious manner; or

2. Solicits a person under 16 years of age to commit a lewd or lascivious act

commits lewd or lascivious conduct.

(b) An offender 18 years of age or older who commits lewd or lascivious conduct commits a felony of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

(c) An offender less than 18 years of age who commits lewd or lascivious conduct commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

(7) LEWD OR LASCIVIOUS EXHIBITION.--

(a) A person who:

1. Intentionally masturbates;

2. Intentionally exposes the genitals in a lewd or lascivious manner; or

3. Intentionally commits any other sexual act that does not involve actual physical or sexual contact with the victim, including, but not limited to, sadomasochistic abuse, sexual bestiality, or the simulation of any act involving sexual activity

in the presence of a victim who is less than 16 years of age, commits lewd or lascivious exhibition.

(b) An offender 18 years of age or older who commits a lewd or lascivious exhibition commits a felony of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

(c) An offender less than 18 years of age who commits a lewd or lascivious exhibition commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

(8) EXCEPTION.--A mother's breastfeeding of her baby does not under any circumstance constitute a violation of this section.


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The Law Offices of Germain & McCarthy, LLC | Lewd or Lascivious Defense Lawyer

Contact an attorney at the Law Offices of Germain & McCarthy, LLC for more information about these charges for lewd and lascivious conduct and possible defenses that can be asserted. Call (321) 253-3447 to schedule a confidential consultation to discuss the specific circumstances of your case.

The criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Germain & McCarthy, LLC handle lewd or lascivious cases in Brevard County, Volusia County, Seminole County, Orange County, Osceola County, and Indian River County, FL.

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