Indecency With a Child Law
In Florida, under state statute 800.04, the crime of indecency with a child falls under the category of lewd or lascivious conduct with a minor. This offense, although considered more serious than an indecent exposure charge usually falls short of a charge of sexual assault of a child.
Lewd and Lascivious Exhibition
In Florida, it is unlawful to commit a lewd or lascivious act upon or in the presence of minors who are under the age of 16 years old. Lewd or lascivious exhibition specifically penalizes anyone who participates in the following activities:
Those convicted of this offense face second degree felony penalties under state 775.082, which includes up to 15 years in prison. However, if the defendant was under the age of 18 years old at the time of the contact, the charge will be downgraded to a third-degree felony, which is punishable by five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. A mother’s breastfeeding of her child does not ever constitute a violation of this law.
- Intentionally masturbates
- Intentionally exposes his or her genitals in a lewd manner
- Intentionally commits another sexual act that does not include actual physical contact with the victim
Lewd or Lascivious Conduct
It is considered lewd or lascivious conduct if a person:
If an offender is over the age of 18 years old at the time of the offense, he or she can be charged with a second-degree felony. However, those under the age of 18 years old will have their charge reduced to a third-degree felony.
- Intentionally touches someone under the age of 16 years old in a lewd manner
- Solicits someone under the age of 16 years old to commit a lewd act
Lewd or Lascivious Molestation
When a person intentionally touches the private parts of a person under the age of 16 years old in a lewd manner or forces that minor to touch the offender, he or she can be charged with lewd or lascivious molestation. In the event that a minor was under the age of 12 years old at the time of the contact, the defendant can be sentenced to life in prison unless he or she was also under the age of 18 years old. In these situations, the offender will be charged instead with a second-degree felony. If the offender was under 18 years old and the victim was older than 12 years of age but younger than 16 years old, the charge can be downgraded even further to a third-degree felony. However, if the defendant is over the age of 18 years old and the victim was between the ages of 12 and 16 years old, he or she will face a first-degree felony charge, which is punishable by up to 30 years in prison.
Lewd or Lascivious Battery
A lewd or lascivious battery charge is the most serious of this kind of offense and occurs when a person:
For the purposes of this law, sexual activity means:
- Engages in sexual activity with someone 12 years of age or older, but younger than 16 years old
- Encourages or forces a minor under the age of 16 years old to engage in prostitution, sexual bestiality, sadomasochistic abuse, or any other sexual activity
Acts done for a legitimate medical purpose are never considered sexual activity. This offense is charged as a second-degree felony, which is punishable by up to 15 years in prison. However, if the offender is over the age of 18 years old and has previously been convicted of indecency with a child, he or she will face first-degree felony charges. In addition to jail time and fines, defendants who are convicted of committing indecent acts with a child will be required to register as sex offenders with the state.
- The oral, vaginal, or anal penetration by the sexual organ of another
- The anal or vaginal penetration of someone else by any object
Defendants are not permitted to raise a defense based on the victim’s lack of chastity that he or she consented to the activity. Offenders are also barred from raising the following defenses:
Even if charges arise from a consensual encounter between two people in a relationship, the defendant could still face jail time if the victim was underage. However, these types of circumstances could be introduced to mitigate a defendant’s sentence to a certain degree.
- The victim misrepresented his or her age
- The defendant did not know how old the victim was
- The offender legitimately believed that the victim was not a minor
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