Criminal Defense

How Are Sex Crimes Defined Under Florida State Law?

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Generally, on a sex crime charge in Florida, you’re looking at two possibilities: a sexual battery or a lewd and lascivious charge. The main difference between the two is whether or not consent was given during the alleged sexual encounter. In a sexual battery, it is alleged that it was un-consensual. In a lewd lascivious charge, it could be consensual and the actual conduct does not rise to the level of sexual battery. Sexual battery is actual sexual conduct, commonly known as a rape; whereas lewd and lascivious is an inappropriate touching, commonly known as molestation or statutory rape.

Under the concept of sexual battery, the charge can be enhanced depending on what the age difference is between the accused and the accuser. It can be enhanced if the accuser is saying that they were rendered incapacitated and were not able to give consent. It can be enhanced by the use of force during the sexual conduct. There are many different enhancements and many ways that sexual battery can be charged. If the victim was under the age of 12, it is capital sexual battery, which means that if you’re found guilty, the only sentence the judge can give you is life in prison. You will die in prison. Capital sexual battery is the highest-level sexual battery charge in the state of Florida.

Lewd and lascivious is very serious but it is not considered the same as a sexual battery. Lewd and lascivious can be enhanced if there are age differences or if there was force used. Lewd and lascivious is typically what we would describe as molestation. It is described as a person who intentionally touches the breasts, genitals, or buttocks of a child younger than 16 in a lewd or lascivious manner; or encourages, forces, or entices a child younger than 16 to touch another person in a lewd or lascivious manner. The terms “Lewd” or “Lascivious” basically mean in a sexual or lustful manner. Think about the difference between intentionally touching someone in a sexual manner, versus accidentally or casually touching someone’s buttocks. We also have charges like possession of child pornography, production of child pornography, and enticement crimes, where you either enticed a minor to engage in a sexual offense or you used a two-way device to encourage a minor to do so.

How Is A Sex Crime Determined To Be Either A Misdemeanor Or a Felony In Florida?

The conduct determines the charge. If actual sexual conduct occurred, it won’t be charged as a misdemeanor. If it was an improper touch, there may be discussion of a possible misdemeanor. If it is questionable whether there was a sexual nature to the touching, then a misdemeanor would be the more appropriate charge. Misdemeanor battery is generally defined as the unwanted touching of another.

For more information on Sex Crimes In The State Of Florida, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (850) 432-7726 today.

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