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Lewd or Lascivious Exhibition over a Computer

Lewd or Lascivious Exhibition over a Computer

When a person exposes themselves in a sexual manner online and in the presence of viewers under the age of 16, they can be charged with the offense Lewd and Lascivious Exhibition over the Computer. This is a modern form of a lewd and lascivious act that takes place over the internet.

Many of these cases involve an undercover operative or law enforcement officer engaged in the detection and investigation of the sex crime. However, the fact that a decoy was used during a sting operation is not a defense to the crime charged.

Regardless of the offender’s age at the time of the offense, the crime is charged as a felony offense. That means a conviction will come with extensive fines and sentences. Additionally, being convicted of a sex crime where a minor is involved will result in the registration as a sexual offender or predator.

Attorney for Computer Lewd or Lascivious in Tallahassee, FL

If you were recently charged with a lewd or lascivious offense, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney in Tallahassee. Attorney Don Pumphrey represents clients charged with a variety of serious sex crimes in Tallahassee and throughout Leon County, FL. We understand the stress and anxiety that often comes with these cases. We hope to offer you quality legal defense and insight during this challenging time.

For a free and confidential consultation to discuss any criminal charges for lewd and lascivious exhibition in Leon County, call our sex crime lawyers at (850) 681-7777 today or fill out our form online.

Relative Definitions

The following provides definitions outlined under the Florida Statute:

Sexual conduct is defined under Florida Statute Section 800.04(19) as actual or simulated sexual intercourse, deviated sexual intercourse, sexual bestiality, masturbation, sadomasochistic abuse, actual or simulated lewd exhibition of the genitals, or actual physical contact with a person’s clothed or unclothed genitals, pubic area, buttocks, or female breasts for arousal or sexual desire.

Sexual activity is defined under Florida Statute Section 794.05(2)(b) as the oral, anal, or vaginal penetration by, or union with, the sexual organ of another or the anal or vaginal penetration of another by any other object; however, sexual activity does not include an act done for a bona fide medical purpose. The definition of “an object” includes a finger. 

Sexual bestiality is defined under Florida Statute Section 800.04(18) as any sexual act, actual or simulated, between a person and an animal involving the sex organ of the one and the mouth, anus, or vagina of the other.

Sadomasochistic abuse is defined under Florida Statute Section 800.04(16) as flagellation or torture by or upon a person or animal, or the condition of being fettered, bound, or otherwise physically restrained, for the purpose of deriving sexual satisfaction, or satisfaction brought about as a result of sadistic violence, from inflicting harm on another or receiving such harm oneself.

Under Florida law, the words “lewd and lascivious” mean the same thing: a wicked, lustful, unchaste, licentious, or sensual intent on the part of the person doing an act.

What is Lewd or Lascivious Exhibition Over a Computer?

Lewd or Lascivious Exhibition is already a criminal offense codified under Florida Statute Section 800.04(7). However, Lewd or Lascivious Exhibition Over a Computer is a form of the first offense. The main difference is that whereas the first offense takes place in the presence of a victim who is less than 16-years-old, the second offense takes place online or over the internet that is presented to or consumed by a person less than 16-years-old.

Under Florida Statute Section 847.0135(5), a person can be charged with Lewd and Lascivious Exhibition Over a Computer if they are accused of:

  1. Intentionally masturbating;
  2. Intentionally exposes their genitals in a lewd or lascivious manner; or
  3. Intentionally commits any other sexual act that does not involve actual physical or sexual contact with the victim.

The statute explains that this can include sadomasochistic abuse, sexual bestiality, or the simulation of any act involving sexual activity that takes place live over a computer service, internet service, or local bulletin board service and who knows or should know the transmission is being viewed on a computer or television by a victim younger than 16-years-old. An exception to the law is a mother breastfeeding her baby.

Important: An undercover operative or law enforcement officer who was involved in the detection and investigation of unlawful online content does not constitute as a defense to being prosecuted under this section.

A common scenario for a lewd and lascivious exhibition over a computer offense to occur is when young teens or children engage in online chatrooms looking to meet new friends and instead start communicating with an adult, or a predator pretending to be a minor. Once the adult intentionally commits a lewd act over their communication, they can be arrested and charged with exhibition over a computer offense. If the communication continues, there could be more severe charges such as Child Pornography, Luring or Enticing a Child, and Traveling to Meet a Minor.

Elements to Prove Lewd or Lascivious Exhibition Over a Computer

According to Chapter 11.10 of the Florida Criminal Jury Instructions, the following elements must be proven beyond all reasonable doubt during trial to convict a person of the crime of Lewd or Lascivious Exhibition over a Computer Online Service:

  1. The Defendant committed one of the following acts that did not involve actual physical or sexual contact with the victim:
    • Intentionally masturbated;
    • Intentionally exposed his or her genitals in a lewd or lascivious manner; or
    • Committed a sexual act, sadomasochistic abuse, sexual bestiality, or simulation of any act involving sexual activity;
  2. The act was committed live over a computer on-line service, an internet service, or a local bulletin board service; and
  3. At the time of the offense, the victim was either:
    • Under the age of 16 years; or
    • The defendant knew, should have known or had reason to believe that the transmission was viewed on a computer or television monitor by a victim in this state who was under the age of 16 years at the time of the offense.

The jury instructions point out that the defendant’s ignorance of the victim’s age or their misrepresentation of their age is not considered a valid defense. The penalties for the offense are determined by whether the defendant was 18 years or older or under the age of 18 at the time of the offense.

Penalties for Lewd or Lascivious Exhibition Over a Computer in Florida

Florida Statute Section 847.0135(5)(b)-(c) provides the different penalties for an exhibition over the computer offense:

A defendant younger than 18 years-old at the time of the alleged offense faces a third-degree felony. If convicted, a third-degree felony can carry:

  • Up to $5,000 in fines; and
  • Up to five (5) years in prison.

A defendant who was 18 years of age or older at the time of the alleged offense faces a second-degree felony. If convicted, a second-degree felony can carry:

  • Up to $10,000 in fines; and
  • Up to 15 years in prison.

The owner of a computer service, internet service, or bulletin board service who knowingly permits one of their subscribers to commit an exhibition violation can be charged with a first-degree degree, with a fine not exceeding $2,000 and up to one year in jail.

Defenses to Lewd or Lascivious Exhibition Over a Computer

Being accused of a crime that is indecent in nature and is alleged to have targeted children is a situation no one wishes to find themselves in. However, do not feel completely defeated yet. There may be defense strategies available to your case, including:

  • The defendant did not act intentionally, for instance they did not realize they were filming themselves at the time of the online exhibition;
  • The defendant’s actions did not constitute what is considered “lewd” or “lascivious” under Florida law; or
  • The alleged victim was over the age of 16 at the time of the alleged incident.

Keep in mind that there may be other defense strategies or ways to challenge the charges against you. Consider contacting a Tallahassee defense lawyer to discuss your options.

Contact a Defense Attorney with Pumphrey Law

Any accusation of a lewd or lascivious act will be taken seriously by Florida prosecutors. Given the nature of these offenses, they require an extremely knowledgeable and aggressive defense team. When you entrust the attorneys with Pumphrey Law Firm to represent your case, we will do everything we can to help your case.

To receive a free consultation regarding your case, call our office today at (850) 681-7777 or send us a message.

Page Updated on April 9, 2024

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