Lewd and Lascivious Molestation
Lewd and lascivious molestation charges are taken seriously by police and prosecutors. If you are being investigated for child molestation, you should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney right away. Penalties that may be imposed should a conviction be obtained include incarceration, fines, sex offender probation, and a requirement that you register as a sex offender for the rest of your life. At Hanlon Law, we work hard to protect the rights of the accused, and St. Petersburg sex crime lawyer Will Hanlon may be able to devise a strong defense strategy.Lewd and Lascivious Molestation
Lewd and lascivious molestation is one of four lewd and lascivious sex crimes that can be charged in Florida. Under Florida Statute section 800.4, the prosecution will need to prove that you intentionally touched in a lewd or lascivious manner the buttocks, genitals, genital area, or breasts of a minor who was under 16 years old at the time. This is a life felony when the defendant is 18 years old and the victim is under the age of 12.
Life felonies are punished differently, depending on which year they were committed. For a life felony for lewd and lascivious molestation involving an adult defendant and a victim under age 12, you face a life imprisonment term or a split sentence involving at least 25 years in prison, followed by probation or community control for the rest of your life. When it is a second offense, however, you face a life imprisonment term.
This is a second-degree felony when the offender is under 18 and the victim is under 12, or when the offender is at least 18 and the victim is between 12 and 16. Second-degree felonies are punished by at most 15-year prison terms, 15 years of sex offender probation, and $10,000 in fines.
But what if you also are a minor? When you are under age 18 and are convicted of lewd or lascivious molestation against someone who is between 12 and 16, you can be sentenced for a third-degree felony. You may face up to five years’ imprisonment, five years’ sex offender probation, and $5,000 in fines.
If the police come to your house investigating you for lewd and lascivious molestation, you should take the situation very seriously. You should not sign a waiver of your Miranda rights, and you should not answer questions without first securing the services of an experienced attorney. These waivers can be upheld later, even if you are not a native English speaker.
You can be charged with multiple counts of lewd and lascivious molestation, and the penalties are worse if you have prior convictions. If you were previously charged with luring or enticing a child, sexual battery, lewd or lascivious battery, lewd or lascivious molestation, lewd or lascivious offenses in the presence of the elderly or disabled, sexual performance by a child, or the selling or buying of minors, you face the possibility of being designated as a dangerous sexual predator upon your next conviction.
Although molestation is punished very harshly, there may be defenses or ways to receive reduced sentences. Ignorance of the victim's age is not a defense, and neither is consent. However, a skillful trial lawyer may be able to cast doubt on the victim or your accuser's credibility. There may be constitutional or procedural safeguards that the police violated in trying to pursue charges against you. In such cases, it may be possible to get critical evidence suppressed.Retain a Dedicated Sex Crime Attorney in St. Petersburg
The St. Petersburg Police Department has a Special Victims Unit that investigates crimes against children, including those involving sexual assault. People who are facing these types of charges should not hesitate to contact a lawyer. Our founder, Will Hanlon, has advocated for defendants in St. Petersburg since 1994. You can call us at 727.897.5413 or submit our online form to set up an appointment to discuss your case.