LEWD and lascivious crimes in Florida
Disclaimer: This page is not intended as legal advice. It is provided to give you basic information to use as a starting point in discussions with your attorney.
There are many laws that regulate conduct that regulate lewd or lascivious conduct. These laws are found in Chapter 800 of the Florida statutes. These statutes define crimes that don’t quite qualify as sexual battery, but are distasteful just the same.
Lewd and Lascivious crimes are often referred to as “L&L” for short.
There are two basic categories of L&L crimes, those that deal with the public in general and those relating to crimes performed in front of victims under the age of 16. L&L crimes that are not performed with or in front of persons under the age of 16 are less serious, but can result in extended jail stays just the same. L&L crimes that involve minors under the age of 16 can be just as serious as sexual battery crimes and should be dealt with accordingly.
In either case, an L&L crime on your criminal history, misdemeanor or felony, can result in a loss of job, affect interactions with children’s school activities or impact housing. It is important to discuss all options and ramifications with a qualified defense attorney. At Finebloom, Haenel & Higgins our attorneys are available to consult with you about your L&L charge when you call 1-877-424-7777.
L&L CRIMES THAT DEAL WITH THE PUBLIC
Most L&L crimes that deal with public offenses are pretty general. They are designed to keep people from performing sexual type acts where everyone can see.
UNNATURAL OR LASCIVIOUS ACTS
Florida statute 800.02 prohibits “unnatural and lascivious acts.” The statute itself is pretty ambiguous. It reads “A person who commits any unnatural and lascivious act with another person commits a misdemeanor of the second degree. . .” A person convicted of this crime can face up to 60 days in the county jail.
What is meant by unnatural or lascivious?
There is no actual definition given in the statute for unnatural or lascivious. This is probably done on purpose as unnatural or lascivious can be interpreted many different ways depending on the community. “Lascivious” by general definition, is behavior that reflects an offensive lustful or sexual desire. Unnatural is something that is contrary to nature. But as the statute I not specific it can mean many things.
This crime is often used to arrest people who are performing sexual acts in public. It is also sometimes used to enforce risqué performances held in public places, or sexual contact with animals.
EXPOSURE OF SEXUAL ORGANS
Florida statute 800.03 makes exposure of sexual organs illegal if it is done in public or on the private premises of another, or so near to the private premises that people can see you. The display of your organs must be done in a vulgar or indecent manner or in a way that is meant to bring you some sort of gratification. It is also illegal under this statute to be naked in public unless the area has been set aside for that purpose.
What if I am arrested for this crime because I urinated in public?
There is case law directly on point that says that urination in public is a crime, but it is not exposure of sexual organs.
What is the punishment?
This crime is a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable by up to one year in the county jail.
LEWD OR LASCIVIOUS EXHIBITION IN THE JAIL
Yes. There is a separate statute that addresses exposure in the jail. Florida statute 800.09 makes it a crime to:
1. Intentionally masturbate;
2. Intentionally expose the genitals in a lewd or lascivious manner; or
3. Intentionally commit 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 person known to be an employee of the jail or correctional facility. This includes correctional officers, members of law enforcement or private contract employees such as nurses or IT workers.
If you are convicted it is a felony of the third degree, punishable by five years in prison.
But if I am incarcerated I am always watched??
This is true. This statute is usually charged when an inmate uses this type of behavior to draw attention to themselves or to try to make the employee feel uncomfortable. But that is not the only time it can be charged.
Does the time I am sentenced to run with my other charges?
This crime is usually charged separately from your other charges. Therefore if you are convicted, the judge can run your time concurrently or consecutively. There is no guarantee the judge will let the time all run together.
What do I do if I am accused of this offense?
Don’t make any admissions. Contact your attorney immediately to discuss options and how this charge may impact your other pending charges or sentence.
The general L&L crimes that deal with the public can seem pretty trivial. But a conviction will be labeled under titles of “lewd,” “lascivious,” or “exposure” and that can be a red flag for many employers or housing units that perform background checks. It also sounds terrible if a prosecutor names it off as a prior conviction if they are considering bond or other sentencing options for unrelated charges. If you have been accused of any type of L&L crime, contact the experienced and knowledgeable attorneys of Finebloom, Haenel & Higgins to discuss your options. We are available 24/7 by calling 1-888-424-7777. Let our experienced staff help you navigate your L&L charge.
L&L CRIMES THAT OCCUR IN THE PRESENCE OF A MINOR
Chapter 794 deals with sexual battery charges. But there are other crimes that don’t involve intercourse with children that can still be considered illegal. These types of crimes are governed under the L&L statutes.
Florida statute 800.04 is the chapter of the statute that regulates the conduct considered lewd or lascivious, that are also committed upon or in the presence of persons less than 16 years of age. There are four categories of offenses under this statute:
- Lewd or Lascivious Battery
- Lewd or Lascivious Molestation
- Lewd or Lascivious Conduct and
- Lewd or Lascivious Exhibition
Some of these offenses are also illegal under other sections of the statute. But they are considered more serious if a child under the age of 16 is involved. These types of charges are aggressively pursued and prosecuted by the State on a regular basis. If convicted, you can face between 15 and 30 years in a Florida state prison! It is imperative that you hire an attorney with the proper time, experience and resources necessary to provide a proper defense. At Finebloom, Haenel & Higgins we not only have the necessary experience, but our firm has the staff and resources required to make sure you receive the best representation possible. If you have been accused of a lewd and lascivious crime, do not speak with law enforcement!! Call us now at 1-888-424-7777 and discuss your options. We are available 24/7 to take your call. Let our team fight for you!!
FLORIDA STATUTE 800.04(4) LEWD OR LASCIVIOUS BATTERY
Florida statute 800.04(4) is similar to the sexual battery statute. Under this section it is illegal for a person to:
- Engage in sexual activity with a person 12 years of age or older but less than 16 years of age; or
- Encourage, force, or entice any person less than 16 years of age to engage in sadomasochistic abuse, sexual bestiality, prostitution, or any other act involving sexual activity
- For purposes of this law, “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.
The only real difference between this law and the sexual battery statute is that the sexual battery statutes usually specify that the minor must be under 12, and usually specify in the elements that the act must be done without consent. But the two statutes are very similar.
Does this mean consent is a defense for this offense?
No. The statute specifically says that consent is not a defense.
Is it a defense if the minor has slept with other people?
No. The statute says that the victims “lack of chastity” is not a defense.
What happens if I am convicted?
If a person is found to have committed a lewd or lascivious battery, it is a second degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison. This sentence applies to each offense charged.
This type of L&L charge is as serious as a sexual battery accusation! Many times law enforcement will try to question you alone. Do not answer questions or make confessions. Do not make any statements or give any information without having an attorney present to assist you. If you have been accused of lewd and lascivious battery ask for an attorney immediately! At Finebloom, Haenel & Higgins our attorneys are available 24/7 by calling 1-888-424-7777. Our firm employs quality attorneys who are qualified to represent you in challenging these accusations. Call us now and see how we can assist you in your defense.
FLORIDA STATUTE 800.04(5) LEWD OR LASCIVIOUS MOLESTATION
Florida statute 800.04(5) is titled “lewd and lascivious molestation.” This is the law that most people associate with molestation charges. This statute makes sexual contact illegal when performed on a minor. This contact is less than sexual activity, but is still sexual in nature.
Under the statute it is illegal for a person to:
- intentionally touch 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
- to force or entice a person under 16 years of age to so touch the perpetrator.
This means it is illegal to touch the minor’s private areas in a sexual way, or to have the minor touch you in a sexual way or for sexual gratification.
Does it matter if we are both minors?
No. It does not matter if both the offender and the victim are underage. Charges can still be brought.
If convicted, what type of sentence can be imposed?
It depends on your age.
- If the offender is 18 years of age or older and the victim is under 12, a conviction for lewd or lascivious molestation is considered a life felony, punishable by a minimum sentence of 30 years in prison up to life.
- If the offender less than 18 years of age and the victim is under the age of 12, a conviction for lewd and lascivious molestation is a second degree felony punishable by 15 years in prison.
- If the offender is18 years of age or older and they commit a lewd or lascivious molestation on a victim 12 years of age or older but less than 16 years of age it is considered a second degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
- If the offender less than 18 years and the lewd or lascivious molestation is committed on a victim older that 12 years of age, but less than 16 years of age, it is a third degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison.
This offense is very serious! It is especially terrible if both parties involved are underage. .If you have been accused of this crime, it is necessary to have aggressive representation. Call us today! The attorneys that make the defense team of Finebloom, Haenel & Higgins are prepared to defend you 24/7. Call 1-877-424-7777 to arrange for your consultation!
FLORIDA STATUTE 800.04(6) LEWD OR LASCIVIOUS CONDUCT
Florida statute 800.04(6) governs lewd or lascivious conduct. Under this statute it is unlawful for a person to:
- Intentionally touches a person under 16 years of age in a lewd or lascivious manner; or
- Solicits a person under 16 years of age to commit a lewd or lascivious act
- “solicit” means to ask for or try to obtain (something) from someone.
- “lascivious” means arousing sexual desire
- “lewd” means vulgar or inviting lust
If you are found to have committed either of these acts you can be found guilty of lewd or lascivious conduct.
Does it matter if the act was consensual and we were both under 18?
Not necessarily. Charges can still be brought.
What types of penalties can be imposed if convicted?
The punishment for this crime is also dependent on the offender’s age.
- If the offender is 18 years of age or older, a conviction for lewd or lascivious conduct is considered a felony of the second degree punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
- If the offender less than 18 years of age, a conviction for lewd or lascivious conduct is considered a felony of the third degree, punishable by up to five years in prison.
The lewd and lascivious conduct statute is made to cover several offenses. Just asking can be construed as a crime, even if you are mistaken of the person’s age! This can lead to a conviction that can leave you labeled for life. Don’t let it happen to you! Call the assertive, hard-hitting defense team of Finebloom, Haenel & Higgins at 1-888-424-7777. Our defense team is uncompromising in its dedication to assist you! Call and schedule your free consultation now!
FLORIDA STATUTE 800.04(7) LEWD OR LASCIVIOUS EXHIBITION
Unnatural or lascivious acts and exposure of sexual organs are both misdemeanor crimes. However, if they are done in the presence of a minor under the age of 16 they can be considered felonies.
Under Florida statute 800.04(7) it is illegal to:
1. Intentionally masturbate;
2. Intentionally expose the genitals in a lewd or lascivious manner; or
3. Intentionally commit 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 minor under the age of 16. If it is found that you committed this act, you can be convicted of lewd or lascivious exhibition.
What if this is done in front of my own children as a form of sex education?
This is a very touchy subject, but the parent can still be prosecuted under the statute.
What are the possible punishments?
Once again, it is dependent on the age of the offender.
- If the offender is 18 years of age or older and they are convicted of lewd or lascivious exhibition, it is a second degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
- If the offender is under the age of 18 and they are convicted of lewd or lascivious exhibition, it is a third degree felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison.
Any of these types of charges are considered very serious. A conviction can keep you from participating in your child’s school activities or possibly affect your job or housing. If you or someone you know is accused of committing a lewd and lascivious offense, seek counsel immediately!! When you hire Finebloom, Haenel & Higgins you gain an insistent defense team that will advocate for you and your rights! Call 1-888-424-7777 to speak with an attorney now!
COMMONLY ASKED DEFENSE QUESTIONS
Is consent a defense? What if the victim has a history of sexual activity?
Neither of these can be used as a defense. Florida statute 800.04(2) lists “PROHIBITED DEFENSES.” This statute makes clear that:
“Neither the victim’s lack of chastity nor the victim’s consent is a defense to the crimes proscribed by this section.”
What if the victim lies about their age?
Florida statute 800.04(3) states that “. . . 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.’
This means that even if you were mistaken about the age of the victim, or if the victim lies about their age, you can still be found guilty. You can’t raise this fact as a defense.
What if law enforcement asks to speak with me?
Do not make any statements to law enforcement without consulting an attorney!! Anything you say can and will be used against you in a prosecution under this statute. Even if you feel the statement will make it better, it will not!!
Law enforcement will try to make promises that if you cooperate they will put in a good word or refuse to file charges. Law enforcement agents don’t file charges. Prosecutors file charges. They can’t guarantee you any type of leniency or immunity.
Do not speak with law enforcement without having an attorney present!!
What if the activity occurred between two minors who are in a dating relationship?
Even if the charges arise from a consensual relationship between two individuals, charges can still be brought. It may be a mitigating factor in sentencing. But it is not a defense.
Any of these charges can result in a conviction for a sexual crime. Do not take it lightly. Any of these charges are seen as sexual in nature. Convictions can cause a loss of volunteer opportunities, loss of home, loss of job and loss of some civil rights! Do not let this happen to you! Call and consult an aggressive and competent defense attorney immediately! The longer you wait, the longer the State has to build a case against you. Call us now and let our capable defense team mount a competent and comprehensive defense. Call us now. When you call 1-888-424-7777, you have access to our staff 24/7.