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Florida’s Laws on Sexual Crimes Against Children

Under Florida Law, lewd and lascivious battery occurs when a person 18 years of age or older, engages in sexual activity with a person 12 years of age or older, but less than 16 years of age; or 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. Florida law defines sexual activity as 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. Lewd and lascivious battery is punishable as a felony of the second degree.

Florida law also prohibits sexual crimes against children, when a person 18 years of age or older commits a lewd and lascivious battery against a person 12 years of age or older but less than 16 years of age, when the offender engages in sexual activity with the person; or 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. This crime of lewd and lascivious battery in Florida is punishable as a second degree felony.

Florida Law prohibits lewd and lascivious molestation, which is a life felony and punishable by up to life in prison, when the offender is18 years of age or older and 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 offender.

If however, the offender is less than 18 years of age and commits a lewd or lascivious molestation against a victim less than 12 years of age; or the offender is 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; then the punishment is a third degree felony.

Florida also protects children who are solicited for sex and are under the age of 16 years old. Florida law punishes lewd and lascivious conduct by a felony of the second degree, when a person 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 commits lewd or lascivious conduct. If the child is under the age of 16 years old and the offender is less than 18 years old, than the lewd and lascivious conduct is punishable by a felony of the third degree.

Moreover, lewd and lascivious exhibition like intentional masturbation, intentionally exposing the genitals in a lewd and lascivious manner or 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. If the offender is 18 years or older, the penalty is punishable by a second degree felony. If the offender is less than 18 years old and commits a lewd and lascivious exhibition, the courts shall punish him or her by a felony of the third degree.

In Florida, ignorance of the child’s age is not a defense that the offender may argue or assert at trial or during sentencing. Specifically, Florida law holds that 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 Florida law.

From the plain reading of Florida Law, it is the intent of the legislatures and the courts to punish those offenders, who sexually batter, sexually assault, rape, and preform lewd and lascivious acts or expose themselves to children in this state.

The legislatures and the courts have also made it Florida’s policy to more harshly punish those offenders, who commit sex crimes against children who are under 12 years of age. As a matter of fact, when the child is under the age of 12 years old, and the offender is 18 years old or older, the offender faces his or her natural life in prison when he or she is convicted of lewd and lascivious molestation.

If you or a loved one is facing a criminal charge for a sexually motivated offense, lewd and lascivious molestation, sexual battery, lewd and lascivious exhibition, lewd and lascivious battery or any other sex crime in Florida then contact West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Lawyer Andrew D. Stine. Palm Beach Criminal Defense Attorney Andrew D. Stine has experience in trial, appellate and writs regarding sexual crimes. When experience and hard work is what you desire in your lawyer, Hire Stine or Do the Time.

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