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What Is Lewd And Lascivious Molestation Act In Florida?

Disclaimer: This article is in response to questions frequently asked of Mr. Cobb and is an unedited dictation transcript. Just like talk to text on your smartphone, there may be misspelled words or sentence fragments.

Florida has a completely different statute section that makes certain sexual activity unlawful. Some consider it to be similar to chapter 794, but it is very different. Specifically, 800.04 addresses four different types of lewd or lascivious behavior that is illegal under the law. The first is lewd or lascivious battery. The penalty range is 15 years to life in prison depending upon certain aggravating factors. The danger of this particular statute is that it’s not limited to just sexual activity; someone can be convicted of the sex offense for encouraging or enticing sexual activity with someone who is between the ages of 12 and 16. Due to the age of the complaining witness, there is no consent defense to an allegation of lewd or lascivious battery.

There is also an affirmative duty on a defendant to make sure that someone is of legal age. It’s very rare in criminal law where the defendant has an affirmative duty to prove innocence. However, when it comes to lewd or lascivious battery in Florida, each person (male or female) has an affirmative duty under the law to make sure that the individual in question is of legal age prior to engaging in sexual conduct. Now, in another section of this series of questions, I address the question of how old is too old for sexual purposes. For example, a 16-year old can legally have consensual sex with a 17-year old, an 18-year old, or a 19-year old, but they cannot have consensual sex with anyone who is 24 years of age or older. This is a political decision beyond the scope of this discussion.

There is also lewd or lascivious molestation. The problem with lewd or lascivious molestation is that an intentional touching in a lewd or lascivious manner can be of the breast, the genital area or even the clothing covering the breast and genital area if that person is under the age of 16. There is also the language of enticing a person who is under the age of 16 to touch someone else. Lewd or lascivious molestation has a penalty range from five years for juveniles to life in prison, depending upon the whole laundry list of aggravating factors. There is also a lesser included offense of molestation known as lewd or lascivious conduct. The penalties range from five to 15 years and the elements are substantially the same as the molestation statute. Finally, we have a five to 15-year penalty range for lewd or lascivious exhibition.

The major difference between lewd or lascivious exhibition and lewd or lascivious molestation conduct or battery is that somebody can be, for example, masturbating in front of a minor and the prosecutor would then have the choice to charge that person under the exhibition section of 800.04 or the basic lewd sunbathing statute 800.03, which is a misdemeanor. Now, 800.03 is technically a sexual offense that specifically involves indecent exposure. This is why it’s often referred to as an illegal sunbathing statute. Many people do not realize the level of severity of a situation in which they happen to be nude sunbathing when a family with children under the ages of 12 walk by. In cases like that, the prosecutor will be looking not only at indecent exposure under 800.03, but also at lewd or lascivious exhibition under 800.04.

Disclaimer: This article is in response to questions frequently asked of Mr. Cobb and is an unedited dictation transcript. Just like talk to text on your smartphone, there may be misspelled words or sentence fragments.

For more information on Lewd And Lascivious Molestation Act, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling 850-423-0035 today.


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FSS 800.04: Lewd and Lascivious Acts Involving Children Under The Age Of 16

Just this past November, an elementary school teacher in Bonifay was arrested and charged with lewd and lascivious acts with…

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“"This is actually one of the best law firms I've had the pleasure of dealing with. They stick with you throughout the entire process, walking you through every step and they know the law! They were able to help me get out of a situation that had occurred because of a technicality and was very knowledgeable in the process. I would recommend them to anyone."”

James S.

“"Such a great service to go through when dealing with any legal matter! Mr. Cobb is very knowledgable and will take the time to understand and communicate with you in a timely manner."”

Dreeana A.

“"Everything was great and smooth working with Mr. Cobb. He was fast and efficient and answered any questions I had."”

Joshua T.

“"I would recommend Attorney Cobb to others. I would describe him as an honest and straightforward lawyer. All my concerns were addressed."”

Crystal H.

“"He was excellent, he did everything without me having to do much especially not living close. I hired him and told him everything and he did it all and it was a great experience. The legal assistant that works there was also amazing."”

Joseph S.

“"It was as clean of a process as it could have been for me. He handled everything for me because I live out of state and made it so simple and easy. He was great and thorough and I hardly had to do anything."”

William S.

“"If you can hire Stephen as your attorney then definitely do that. He talked openly and gave me assurance and even his legal assistant that works there is amazing. I never had any problems or trouble with them."”

Lonnie M.

“"I have used other lawyers in the past. I was facing years but left court with probation and a suspended sentence. Thank you and god bless you."”

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