Lewd and Lascivious Battery

Tampa Lawyer Helping You Fight Charges Related to Sexual Misconduct

Lewd and lascivious battery is sometimes known as statutory rape in Florida. When you are accused or charged with lewd and lascivious battery, it is crucial to call a knowledgeable Tampa sex crime attorney immediately. There are certain defenses that you cannot raise, and they may surprise you. For example, you cannot claim that you had a bona fide belief that the victim was 18 or over. You also cannot focus on the victim's promiscuity. It can be challenging to present a strong defense against a sex charge, but this is what must be done to avoid a harsh sentence. At Hanlon Law, we have experience with lewd and lascivious battery charges.

Lewd and Lascivious Battery

You can be charged with lewd or lascivious battery if you engage in sexual activity with someone who is 12-16 years old or encourage or force someone who is under 16 to be involved with sadomasochistic abuse, prostitution, sexual bestiality, or any other actions that include sexual activity. Sexual activity is defined under the statute as vaginal, oral, or anal penetration of one person's sexual organ by another person's organ or by any other object. The prosecutor must prove every element of their case beyond a reasonable doubt, which is a high standard. In other words, they must prove the victim's age beyond a reasonable doubt, as well as that you engaged in sexual activity with that person as the statute defines sexual activity.

Consent is not a defense to lewd and lascivious battery. You can be sentenced for a felony of the second degree if the prosecutor successfully proves lewd or lascivious battery. A felony of the first degree may be charged if you are 18 or up and perpetrate statutory rape if you were previously convicted of kidnapping a minor and in the course of kidnapping them committed sexual battery or other lewd acts. A first-degree felony can also be charged if you previously were convicted of false imprisonment of a minor, and you committed sexual battery or a lewd act in connection with that. Certain other prior convictions can also result in a first-degree felony charge for lewd and lascivious battery.

Lewd and lascivious battery is a different charge from one for sexual battery. Sexual battery involves rape — nonconsensual sex. Lewd and lascivious battery is illegal contact, regardless of whether the victim appeared to agree. Even if you did not force the victim to have sex or engage in a sexual behavior, you can be charged and convicted for lewd and lascivious battery.

It is challenging to develop a defense for lewd and lascivious battery charges, but there are many different strategies that may be appropriate for your case, and we can review all of the evidence to determine your options. Often, these charges are brought when parents realize that their child is involved with someone older. In some cases, there are false allegations made. For example, if the victim and you dated, lewd and lascivious battery could not be charged if there was no "sexual activity" under the statute. In other cases, there are constitutional violations, such as violations of the Fourth or Fifth Amendments. For example, the police procedures used to obtain evidence, such as texts or chat logs, may not be constitutional. In such cases, it may be possible to get the evidence suppressed. In other cases, the prosecutor may be amenable to reducing the charges to a lesser-included offense of unnatural or lascivious acts.

Seek Advocacy from a Tampa Attorney When Facing a Statutory Rape Charge

If you are accused of lewd and lascivious battery, you should take the accusation seriously. You should not wait until you are formally charged to seek out a Tampa attorney who understands sex crimes — how to defend them and how much is at stake. Failing to obtain a statutory rape lawyer can result in harsh consequences. Our founder, Will Hanlon, is committed to the rights of the accused and has provided a tough, aggressive defense to people accused of crimes since 1994. He strives to give each client responsive and personalized representation. Call Hanlon Law at 813-228-7095 or use our online form to set up an appointment.