1005 N. Marion St.
Tampa, FL 33602
813.250.0500

Lewd and Lascivious Child Molestation

Many parents are surprised to learn that offenses for "lewd and lascivious molestation" can involve one child touching a younger child. Even middle school and high school students can be charged with this crime in juvenile court.  

When an adult is charged with a sexually motivated crime against a child, Florida law provides for many different types of lewd and lascivious charges including engaging in sexual activity, encouraging, conduct, act upon or in the presence of a child, exhibition presence, and exhibition over computer service or upon or in the presence of an elderly or disabled person. 

Many people are shocked to learn that one charge for lewd or lascivious molestation, for example, can be alleged in several different alternative ways often because even the prosecutor doesn't know exactly what the allegation might be. For example, lewd or lascivious molestation could be alleged as:

  • having occurred over a period of several months or years;
  • on one or more occasions;
  • by intentionally touching in a lewd or lascivious manner the breasts, genitals, genital area, buttocks, or the clothing covering them; or
  • that the defendant did entice the child to so touch the defendant. 

Defending yourself against such vague charges is extremely difficult and requires experienced representation at every stage of the case beginning with the moment you learn such an allegation is being made.

Child molestation is one of the most serious criminal charges under Florida law. Florida Statute Section Section 800.04(5), lewd or lascivious molestation, occurs when a person “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 perpetrator....” § 800.04(5)(a), Fla. Stat.

Section 800.04(5)(b) states, “[a]n offender 18 years of age or older who commits lewd or lascivious molestation against a victim less than 12 years of age commits a life felony, punishable as provided in s. 775.082(3)(a)4.”


Attorney for Child Molestation Defense in Tampa, FL

If you were accused of the very serious criminal offense of lewd and lascivious child molestation or sexual battery, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at the Sammis Law Firm. 

Our attorneys know how to fight allegations involving the child abuse accommodation syndrome and questionable techniques used during interviews with children involving dolls and art therapy. We are also experienced in representing children in juvenile court charged with committing this type of crime against a younger child.

We represent clients charged with serious crimes that are sexually motivated. Find out more about defenses that apply in these cases and ways to fight false allegations. Call 813-250-0500. 


Penalties for Lewd and Lascivious Molestation in Florida

Through its enactment of the Jessica Lunsford Act in 2005, the legislature made the following changes to the 2004 versions of sections 800.04(5)(b) and 775.082(3): (1) a violation of section 800.04(5)(b) became a life felony; and (2) section 775.082(3) carried a twenty-five year mandatory minimum sentence. Ch. 2005–28, §§ 4–5, at 7–8, Laws of Fla.

For a person convicted of this offense, the sentencing court is authorized to impose either a life sentence or a split sentence incorporating a term of 25 years' imprisonment. See § 775.082(3)(a)4.a., Fla. Stat. Florida Statute Section 775.082(3)(a) 4. provides: 

(3) A person who has been convicted of any other designated felony may be punished as follows: (a)4. For a life felony committed on or after September 1, 2005, which is a violation of s. 800.04(5)(b), by: 

a. A term of imprisonment for life; or 

b. A split sentence that is a term of not less than 25 years' imprisonment and not exceeding life imprisonment, followed by probation or community control for the remainder of the person's natural life, as provided in s. 948.012(4). § 775.082(3)(a) 4., Fla. Stat. (emphasis added).

The offense comes with a twenty-five year mandatory minimum sentence.


The Difference Between Molestation and Sexual Battery

The conduct constituting capital sexual battery will as a practical matter ordinarily—if not always—also constitute lewd or lascivious molestation. Nevertheless, the formal elements of these two crimes are quite distinct.

Sexual battery is defined as “oral, anal, or vaginal penetration by, or union [3] with, the sexual organ of another or the anal or vaginal penetration of another by any other object; however, sexual battery does not include an act done for a bona fide medical purpose.” § 794.011(h), Fla. Stat. (2008).

Establishing capital sexual battery—like any other sexual battery—requires proof of either penetration or oral, anal, or vaginal union with the sexual organ of another, while establishing lewd or lascivious molestation requires proof of intentional touching of the breasts, genitals, genital area, or buttocks, or the clothing covering those areas.

Lewd or lascivious molestation requires proof that the touching was done with a lewd or lascivious intent, while sexual battery may be committed without any proof of a specific sensual intent.


Additional Resources

Child Molestation Statute in Florida 800.04- Visit the website of the Florida Senate to find more about Florida Statute Section 800.04(5) to learn more about lewd and lascivious molestation. The statute prohibits any defense based on the victim’s the victim’s consent nor lack of chastity is a defense to the crimes proscribed by this section. Likewise, the perpetrator’s bona fide belief of the victim’s age, the victim’s misrepresentation of his or her age, or the perpetrator’s ignorance of the victim’s age cannot be raised as a defense in a prosecution for lewd and lascivious child molestation.


Attorney for Molestation Lewd and Lascivious in Tampa, FL

If you were accused of "Lewd and Lascivious Molestation" in Tampa, FL, or the surrounding areas of Hillsborough County, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at the Sammis Law Firm. We represent clients charged with sexually motivated crimes including sexual battery and lewd and lascivious conduct. 

When you call, you can schedule a free consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney to discuss the facts of your case.

Call (813) 250-0500 today.


This article was last updated on Monday, December 23, 2017.

Free Case Evaluation

* All fields are required.
Schedule a Consultation
Schedule a Free Consultation at Our Office

Call us to schedule a time to talk with the attorneys in the office or over the phone.

Office: 813.250.0500 Fax: 813.276.1600

Contact Our Office
Our Tampa Office

Sammis Law Firm 1005 N. Marion St. Tampa, FL 33602 » Get Directions