Unnatural or Lascivious Act

Sex Crime Lawyer Assisting Defendants in Tampa

In Florida, it is a strict liability crime to intentionally touch a child who is under the age of 16 in a lewd or lascivious way. It is also a crime to solicit someone under the age of 16 to perpetrate a lewd or lascivious act. Lewd or lascivious acts are those that involve lust, sensual intent, or wicked, unchaste, or licentious behavior on the part of the person who is acting. It is not a defense to felony charges to say that you did not know that the child was of a particular age or that the child consented. However, in some cases, it is possible to negotiate away from a serious lewd and lascivious charge by pleading guilty to the crime of an unnatural or lascivious act. Tampa sex crime lawyer Will Hanlon can advise you on whether this may be an option in your case.

Unnatural or Lascivious Acts

Under Florida Statute section 800.02, a prosecutor can obtain a conviction for an unnatural or lascivious act by proving that the defendant committed an unnatural and lascivious act with another person. Each of these elements needs to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. This law is vague, and in the past, it was used to prosecute people for acts that would now be considered private matters, such as homosexual acts. What is unnatural? What is lascivious? "Unnatural" describes an act that is not in accord with normal feelings. "Lascivious" describes acts that are done with an intent that is wicked, lustful, not chaste, sensual, or licentious. Often, this law is used to charge someone for engaging in sexual activity in a public place, such as a park.

A mother breastfeeding a baby is not considered a violation that would qualify for criminal charges under section 800.02. An unnatural and lascivious act is charged as a misdemeanor of the second degree. This type of crime can be punished with a maximum of 60 days of jail time and a fine of up to $500.

Generally, the crime is considered a lesser-included offense for other crimes, and as a result, we can possibly use it to negotiate a plea deal if you are charged with some other, bigger crime. Some crimes are necessarily included offenses, and others are permissibly included offenses. The former are those crimes that are always committed if the person commits the larger crime. The latter are sometimes committed if somebody commits the larger crime.

An unnatural and lascivious act is a lesser included offense of the following types of larger crimes: lewd or lascivious battery, lewd or lascivious molestation, lewd or indecent assault on or in the presence of a child, exposure of sexual organs, lewd or lascivious conduct, lewd or lascivious exhibition in a child's presence, or lewd or lascivious offenses committed in the presence of a disabled or elderly person. While an unnatural and lascivious act is charged as a second-degree misdemeanor, these other larger crimes are felonies. Sometimes the evidence for a felony charge involving lewd or lascivious behavior is not quite as strong as it should be, or a prosecutor does not think that the case is worth the expense and effort of pursuing a conviction at trial. In that case, it may be possible to negotiate to plead guilty to an unnatural and lascivious act charge in order to get the other charge that carries the greater sentence dismissed.

Consult a Skillful Tampa Attorney During a Sex Crime Prosecution

If you are accused of a sexual act involving a minor or an unnatural or lascivious act in the Tampa area, you should retain an attorney right away. In some cases, it makes sense to plead to an unnatural or lascivious act, while in other cases, it makes sense to fight this particular charge because it is so vague. Unlike some other crimes, sex crimes may require you to register as a sex offender, and it is imperative that you have a strong defense and an experienced attorney fighting for you. Our founder, Will Hanlon, has provided a strong, aggressive defense to people accused of sex crimes since 1994. He strives to provide responsive and personalized representation. Call Hanlon Law at 813-228-7095 or use our online form to set up an appointment if you are facing charges related to lewd or lascivious molestation or a similar offense.