If you have been charged with lewd or lascivious conduct in Florida then you may have a defense. A lot of lewd and lascivious conduct cases are based on false accusations. Some are based on someone being touched unintentionally. Showing that you were falsely accused is a defense that is oftentimes successful when fighting a lewd and lascivious conduct case. You can also present evidence that any alleged touch was unintentional. Even if you don’t think you have a defense, you should always speak to an attorney to make sure you have a full understanding of how the law applies specifically to your case. If you want to know more about how to show you were falsely accused, or if you want to speak to a lawyer about how to beat your lewd and lascivious conduct case in Florida, contact Matthew Williams now for a free consultation.
Lewd and lascivious conduct in Florida is defined under Florida Statute 800.04(6). A person commits the crime of lewd and lascivious conduct when they intentionally touch a child under 16 years of age in a lewd or lascivious manner or solicits a child under 16 years of age to commit a lewd or lascivious act.
Lewd and lascivious conduct is a strict liability crime, meaning you can’t argue you do not know the person was under 16. It is also not a defense that the touching was consensual. Meaning, if two 15-year old teenagers fondle each other either one of them, or both of them, can be charged with lewd or lascivious conduct.
Lewd or lascivious conduct committed by a person 18 years or older is a second-degree felony, meaning you can be sentenced to up to 15 years in prison, or up to 15 years on sex offender probation and up to $10,000 in fines (you can also be sentenced to a jail or prison sentence followed by sex offender probation but the total length of the sentence cannot exceed 15 years).
Lewd and lascivious conduct by a person under 18 years of age is still a felony, but it is a third degree felony, meaning you can be sentenced to up to 5 years in prison, or up to 5 years on sex offender probation and up to $5,000 in fines (you can also be sentenced to a jail or prison sentence followed by sex offender probation but the total length of the sentence cannot exceed 5 years).
In addition, if you’re convicted of lewd and lascivious conduct then you will be designated a sexual offender, meaning you will have to comply with sexual offender registration laws for the rest of your life.
There is one exception to sexual offender registration requirement that exists. Under the Romeo and Juliet rule, Florida Statute 943.04354, if a Defendant is convicted for a lewd and lascivious offense and:
- The crime involved a consensual encounter with a 14, 15, 16, or 17-year old minor;
- The minor was no more than 4 years younger than the Defendant at the time of the sexual encounter;
- Registration as a sexual offender, or sexual predator, is solely because of the above conviction; and
- No other conviction for a lewd or lascivious offense, sexual battery or lewd or lascivious exhibition using a computer exists,
then the Defendant can petition the court for removal from the sexual offender registration requirement law.
Criminal convictions, especially convictions for sex offenses, carry severe consequences and can never be removed from your criminal record. If you are convicted of a felony you will lose your right to vote, your right to own firearms, and your ability to maintain certain business licenses. You can also lose your ability to receive financial aid, your ability to live in certain places and your ability to obtain a passport.
If you need an attorney who will advise you, fight for your rights, and do everything possible to protect your future, or if someone you know has been charged with lewd or lascivious conduct in Florida then contact Matthew Williams now for a free consultation.