Unnatural or Lascivious Acts
There are many serious sex crime charges for which the penalties include sex offender probation and registering as a sex offender. Although these penalties are better than lifelong imprisonment, they can have significant consequences, affecting a person's ability to get a job, find a place to live, obtain a professional license, and get involved romantically. You can be prosecuted for a vague crime known as "unnatural or lascivious acts." However, you can also use this charge as a negotiating tool if you are being prosecuted for a more serious sex charge, such as lewd and lascivious acts involving a minor. At Hanlon Law, St. Petersburg sex crime lawyer Will Hanlon strongly believes in protecting the rights of the accused and fights hard for his clients.Unnatural and Lascivious Acts
Unnatural and lascivious acts are prohibited or criminalized under Florida Statute section 800.02. There is an exception for a mother breastfeeding her baby. However, the statute is very vague about which specific acts might be considered an unnatural or lascivious act. In the past, it could be used as a catch-all for claims that somebody was involved in a homosexual act, or for sodomy or oral sex. Currently, it is not used for that purpose.
You can be charged with an unnatural and lascivious act even if your act involved a consenting adult in situations involving sex in parks or other public places. A conviction for this misdemeanor can be obtained by proving beyond a reasonable doubt that you performed an act with another person that was "unnatural" or lascivious. An unnatural act is one that is not considered normal, but what is normal turns on a particular community's standards. "Lascivious" means that the act was performed with sensual intent or was considered wicked or licentious. When somebody is convicted of this crime, they can face a maximum of 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.
More often, a criminal defendant is accused of something much more serious than an unnatural or lascivious act, and the charge of an unnatural or lascivious act is something to which they plead guilty in order to get a lesser sentence. A criminal defense attorney can sometimes arrange a plea deal for a lesser-included offense, such that the lesser sentence is received. Unnatural and lascivious acts are a lesser-included offense of a number of serious sex crimes that require registration as a sex offender. These more serious sex crimes include lewd or lascivious battery, lewd or lascivious molestation, lewd or lascivious conduct, and lewd or lascivious exhibition. If you are convicted of one of the more serious lewd and lascivious crimes, you face felony charges, the possibility of time in prison, sex offender probation, and the requirement that you register as a sex offender.
Generally, courts have held that an adult touching a child sexually or having sex with a child victim is an unnatural and lascivious act because the actions are not in accordance with nature or a normal behavior or feelings. These are considered lustful acts performed with sensual intent.
Unnatural and lascivious act charges are second-degree misdemeanors, and it is possible that you will face jail time, but it is only 60 days as compared to years of imprisonment for felony offenses plus the requirement that you register as a sex offender. A prosecutor may be receptive to providing a plea deal for a lesser-included offense when their case is not airtight, or there is no record of other past sex crimes.Hire a Vigorous Sex Crime Lawyer in St. Petersburg or Surrounding Cities
If you are charged with an unnatural or lascivious act or a more serious sex crime in St. Petersburg, you should consult an experienced St. Petersburg criminal attorney. Our founder, Will Hanlon, has been providing criminal defense representation since 1994 and may be able to help. You can call Hanlon Law at 727.897.5413 or complete our online form.