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Unnatural and Lascivious Act

Although crimes for committing any “lewd or lascivious act” are some of the most serious crimes that can be charged under Florida law, some sexually motivated offenses are classified as a misdemeanor. For instance, committing an “unnatural or lascivious act” under Section 800.02 is a second degree misdemeanor punishable by up to 60 days in jail or a $500 fine.

The crime of “exposing or exhibiting a sexual organ in public” is charged as a first degree misdemeanor punishable by up to 12 months in jail and a $1,000 fine. The offense is often listed as a lesser included offense of felony charges for lewd or lascivious conduct, exhibition, or molestation.

Attorneys for “Unnatural and Lascivious Acts” in Tampa, FL

If you were accused of a misdemeanor for committing an “unnatural or lascivious act” under Section 800.02, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at the Sammis Law Firm. We also represent clients on related charges for “exposing or exhibiting a sexual organ in public.”

Our main office is located in downtown Tampa in Hillsborough County, FL. We also have a second office conveniently located in New Port Richey in Pasco County, FL.

Call 813-250-0500.


Penalties for an Unnatural and Lascivious Act

Section 800.02, F.S. provides that a person who commits any unnatural and lascivious act with another person commits a second-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to sixty days in county jail and a fine of up to $500.

Section 800.03, F.S. makes it a first degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in county jail and a fine of up to $1,000 for a person to “expose or exhibit one’s sexual organs in public or on the private premises of another, or so near thereto as to be seen from such private premises, in a vulgar or indecent manner, or to be naked in public except in any place provided or set apart for that purpose.”


Jury Instructions for Unnatural and Lascivious Acts

The standard jury instruction for the offense states the following:

To prove the crime of [Indecent Exposure] [or] [Nakedness], the State must prove the following four elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. (Defendant)[exposed or exhibited [his] [her] sexual organs] or [was naked].
  2. [He] [She] [did so] [was naked][in a public place] or [on the private premises of another] or [so near the private premises of another as to be seen from those private premises].
  3. (Defendant) intended the [exposure or exhibition of [his] [her] sexual organs] [or][nakedness] to be in a vulgar, indecent, lewd, or lascivious manner.
  4. The [exposure or exhibition of the sexual organs] [or] [nakedness] was in a vulgar, indecent, lewd, or lascivious manner.

Proof of mere nudity or exposure is not sufficient to sustain a conviction.


Definitions for Crimes Involving an Unnatural or Lascivious Acts

In the standard jury instructions, the term “unnatural” is defined as meaning “not in accordance with nature of with normal feelings or behavior.” The term “lascivious” is defined as “lustful, normally tending to excite a desire for sexual satisfaction”.

As used in regard to this offense the words “vulgar,” “indecent,” “lewd,” and “lascivious” mean the same thing. They mean an unlawful indulgence in lust or a wicked, lustful, unchaste, licentious, or sensual intent on the part of the person doing the act.

Acts are not vulgar, indecent, lewd, or lascivious unless such acts cause offense to one or more persons viewing those acts or unless the acts substantially intrude upon the rights of others.

A “public place” is any place intended or designed to be frequented or resorted to by the public.


Case Law on Crimes for an “Unnatural or Lascivious Act”

In Payne v. State, 463 So.2d 271 (Fla. 2nd DCA 1984), the defendant was charged with violating section 800.03, F.S. following his arrest for urinating in a public parking lot. The defendant claimed that the undisputed facts failed to establish that he exposed his sexual organ in a vulgar or indecent manner as required by the statute.

The appellate court recognized that in order for there to be a violation of section 800.03, F.S., there must be a lascivious exposure of a sexual organ. The appellate court reversed the conviction and noted that the defendant could have been charged with disorderly conduct pursuant to section 877.03, F.S.

According to the First District Court of Appeal, “in order for nudity to be prosecutable under section 800.03, Florida Statutes, there must be a lewd or lascivious exhibition or exposure of the sexual organs.” A determination of whether an act was lewd or lascivious “is a question of fact and is based upon the circumstances of each individual case”.

In Goodmakers v. State, 450 So.2d 888 (Fla. 2nd DCA 1984), the court reversed the conviction of the defendant who was naked while “asleep or unconscious, motionless on his back, and not in a state of sexual arousal” and holding that “in order for there to be a violation of section 800.03, there must be, coupled with mere nudity, ‘lascivious’ exposition or exhibition of the defendants sexual organs.

In Duvallon v. State, 404 So.2d 196 (Fla. 1st DCA 1981), the court held that the defendant who picketed in front of the Supreme Court wearing only a placard did not violate the statute because the conduct was not lewd or lascivious.)

In WRH v. State, 763 So.2d 1111 (Fla. 4th DCA 1999), the court affirmed a conviction of a defendant who exposed his sexual organs to witnesses on a public street while yelling profanities at them.

In Ross v. State, 876 So.2d 684 (Fla. 4th DCA 2004), the court affirmed a conviction of the defendant who wore short shorts in a Wal-Mart that were “substantially sure to lead to the exposure of his penis.”


Lesser-Included Offense of a Felony Lewd and Lascivious

The offense of Unnatural and Lascivious Act is classified as a Category Two lesser-included offense to instructions 11.7, 11.10(f), 11.18, and 29.13. In State v. Knighton, 235 So.3d 312 (Fla. 2018), the court concluded:

The courts do not require the State to allege the defendant’s act was “unnatural” or “against the laws of nature” in order for § 800.02, Fla. Stat., to be given as a lesser-included offense. If the sexual activity involved penile-vaginal sexual intercourse (or contact), § 800.02, Fla. Stat. should not be given as a lesser-included offense. However, if the sexual activity involved something other than penile-vaginal sexual intercourse (or contact), § 800.02, Fla. Stat. should be given as a lesser-included offense.

See State v. Knighton, 235 So.3d 312 (Fla. 2018).


This article was last updated on Friday, December 7, 2018.

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