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Lewd and Lascivious Acts

Lewd and Lascivious Acts

When a minor under the age of 16 engages in sexual activity, the other person may be charged with a lewd and lascivious offense. Even with consent, a person who has intimate or sexual relations with a minor can face criminal charges. It is not uncommon for young adults or teenagers to be charged with a lewd and lascivious crime as the result of having a relationship with a young teenager. This is why it is important to understand Florida’s laws and penalties, along with seeking legal representation if you or a loved one have been arrested for a sexual offense.

Florida law includes multiple offenses for what it considers a “lewd or lascivious” crime. These charges vary depending on the age of the alleged offender, the age of the alleged victim, the nature of the alleged crime and whether there was any alleged contact.

Prosecutors in Florida take sex crimes against minors very seriously and will look to impose the maximum punishment allowable by law. A conviction for any lewd or lascivious act may not only result in huge fines and serious prison time but can also have devastating consequences on a person’s personal and professional life.

Lewd and Lascivious Acts Lawyer in Tallahassee, FL

If you have been accused of any sex crime involving lewd or lascivious acts, you will want to immediately contact a skilled criminal defense attorney at Pumphrey Law.

Our firm’s partners are both former prosecutors who understand how these cases are handled and what flaws or weaknesses in evidence can result in charges being reduced or dismisses.

In addition to serving Tallahassee and the greater Leon County area, Pumphrey Law also represents clients in Monticello in Jefferson County, Crawfordville in Wakulla County, Quincy in Gadsden County and Bristol in Liberty County.

Call (850) 681-7777 for a free consultation.


Information About Lewd and Lascivious Acts


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What are Lewd and Lascivious Crimes?

When an individual engages in sexual activity with a minor under the age of 16, they may be charged with the crime of lewd and lascivious acts. A broad definition of lewd and lascivious acts is when a person engages or entices a minor below the age of 16 for sexual purposes. This can include touching a minor in an inappropriate, lustful manner.

Another term for lewd and lascivious acts is statutory rape, which is when an adult engages in consensual sex with a minor. Even if the sexual activity was consensual, this is still against the law if the minor has not yet reached the state’s age of consent—18-years-old. The act of any sexual activity is considered illegal in Florida.

In Florida, there are several diverse types of lewd and lascivious acts that can result in criminal charges. Lewd and lascivious charges can range from the classification of battery, conduct, exhibition, and molestation.

Types of Lewd and Lascivious Acts

The following is a list of definitions and penalties associated with lewd and lascivious acts, under Florida Statute Section 800.04:

Lewd or lascivious battery

This offense is defined as intentionally touching or engaging with a minor between the ages of 12- and 16-years-old. It is also considered when the defendant has encouraged or forced anyone younger than 16 to engage in any sexual activity. The offense can be classified as:

    • A second-degree felony if the alleged victim is between the ages of 12- and 16-years old.
    • A first-degree felony if the alleged offender is 18-years-old or older, or if they have any previous criminal convictions.

Exposure of sexual organs, Florida Statute § 800.03

This offense is defined as intentionally touching or engaging with a minor between the ages of 12- and 16-years-old. It is also considered when the defendant has encouraged or forced anyone younger than 16 to engage in any sexual activity. The offense can be classified as:

      • A second-degree felony if the alleged victim is between the ages of 12- and 16-years old.
      • A first-degree felony if the alleged offender is 18-years-old or older, or if they have any previous criminal convictions.

Lewd or lascivious conduct

This offense is considered the intentional and sexual touching of any part of a minor’s body. It is also considered when the defendant has encouraged a minor under 16-years-old to commit a lewd or lascivious act. An example includes touching a minor’s leg in a sexual manner. The offense can be classified as:

    • A third-degree felony if the alleged offender is less than 18 years of age.
    • A second-degree felony if the alleged offender is 18 years of age or older.

Lewd or lascivious exhibition, Florida Statute § 800.04(7)

This offense does not require any physical touching. Lewd and lascivious exhibition is defined as intentional masturbation or the exposing of genitals in a lewd or lascivious manner. This includes, but is not limited to, sadomasochistic abuse, sexual bestiality or the simulation of any act involving sexual activity. The offense can be classified as:

    • A second-degree felony if the alleged offender is 18 years of age or older.
    • A third-degree felony if the alleged offender is less than 18 years of age.

Lewd or lascivious molestation, Florida Statute § 800.04(5)

This offense is defined as the intentional touching of a minor younger than 16 on their genitals, genital area, buttocks, or the clothing covering them. This also includes forcing or enticing a person under 16 years to touch the alleged offender. The offense can be classified as:

    • A life felony if the alleged offender is 18 years of age or older and the alleged victim is less than 12 years of age;
    • A second-degree felony if the alleged offender is less than 18 years of age and the alleged victim is less than 12 years of age, or the alleged offender is 18 years of age or older and the alleged victim is 12 years of age or older but less than 16 years of age;
    • A third-degree felony if the alleged offender is less than 18 years of age and the alleged victim is 12 years of age or older but less than 16 years of age; and
    • A first-degree felony if the alleged offender is 18 years of age or older, the alleged victim is 12 years of age or older but less than 16 years of age, and the alleged offender was previously convicted of an applicable felony and/or sex crime.

Other Crimes for Lewd and Lascivious Acts under Florida Law

Exposure of sexual organs, Florida Statute § 800.03

It is a first-degree misdemeanor to expose or exhibit sexual organs in public or on another person’s private property close enough to be seen from private property in a vulgar or indecent manner. This statute also makes it a crime to be naked in public, except in places provided or set apart for those purposes.

Lewd or Lascivious Exhibition Over Computer Service, Florida Statute § 847.0135(5) 

This offense is defined as when a person intentionally exposes their genitals, masturbates, or commits any other sexual act over a computer online service. This can include sadomasochistic abuse, sexual bestiality, or the simulation of any act involving sexual activity. The offense can be classified as:

  • Third-degree felony if the alleged offender is less than 18 years of age; or
  • Second-degree felony if the alleged offender is 18 years of age or older.

Lewd or Lascivious Exhibition by a Detainee in the Presence of an Employee of a Facility, Florida Statute § 800.09

This offense is defined as when a person intentionally exposes their genitals, masturbates, or commits any other sexual act in the presence of a person he or she knows or should know is an employee. This can include sadomasochistic abuse, sexual bestiality, or the simulation of any act involving sexual activity. The offense is classified as:

  • Third-degree felony for any person who violates the above law and commits lewd or lascivious acts in the presence of an employee.

Lewd or Lascivious Offenses Committed Upon or in the Presence of an Elderly or Disabled Person, Florida Statute § 825.1025

  • This offense is defined as when a person encourages, forces, or entices an elderly person or disabled person to engage in any sexual activity, when the alleged offender knows or has reason to believe the elderly or disabled person fails to consent or lacks the capacity to consent. This offense can be classified as:
  • Third-degree felony for any person who commits lewd or lascivious molestation or exhibition upon an elderly or disabled person; or

Second-degree felony for any person who commits lewd or lascivious batter upon an elderly or disabled person.


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Penalties for Lewd and Lascivious Acts

In Florida, a lewd or lascivious crime conviction may result in the following penalties, depending on the severity of the offense:

  • Second-degree misdemeanor
    Up to 60 days in jail and/or fines of up to $500
  • First-degree misdemeanor
    Up to one year in jail and/or fines of up to $1,000
  • Third-degree felony
    Up to five years in prison and/or fines of up to $5,000
  • Second-degree felony
    Up to 15 years in prison and/or fines of up to $10,000
  • First-degree felony
    Up to 30 years in prison and/or fines of up to $10,000
  • Life felony
    Life in prison without parole
  • Florida Sex Offender Registry
    • In addition to incarceration and paying expensive fines, the state of Florida requires those who are convicted of a qualifying sex crime to register under the Florida Sex Offender Registry. Failure to register or to abide by the Registry’s regulations is considered a felony offense. However, one thing to note is Florida’s Romeo and Juliet Law, which allows certain offenders who meet specific criteria to petition against registering as a sexual offender. To find out more about the Romeo and Juliet law and if it’s applicable to your case, read our page here.

When a defendant is convicted of a lewd and lascivious offense, the sentencing will depend on the following factors:

  • The age of the victim;
  • The age of the alleged offender;
  • The type of lewd or lascivious act; and
  • The defendant’s prior convictions if any

Important: One important detail to note regarding lewd and lascivious offenses is that even with a withheld adjudication, a person convicted of any lewd or lascivious act against a minor, elderly person, or disabled person will not be eligible for the sealing or expunging process. To find out more about what charges can be sealed or expunged in Florida, read our page here.


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Possible Defenses to Lewd and Lascivious Charges

People accused of lewd or lascivious offenses often can feel as though they are presumed guilty until proven innocent. However, the following are defenses which may help you overcome these charges:

  • No lewd or lascivious intent
  • False accusations
  • Misidentification of the offender
  • Unintentional exposure
  • Lack of evidence
  • Tainted testimony

Defenses can vary on a case-to-case basis. To determine which possible defenses are applicable to your case, reach out to a skilled Tallahassee defense attorney.


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Finding a Sex Crime Lawyer for “Lewd and Lascivious” Crimes in Leon County, FL

In Florida, crimes against minors are taken very seriously. If you or a loved one was arrested for a lewd and lascivious offense, it is in your best interest to reach out to a defense attorney as soon as possible. The penalties for a conviction are harsh and life-altering, which is why finding the right legal representation is a top priority.

Pumphrey Law understands the tremendous social burden any sex crime accusation has on the alleged offender. Our criminal defense attorneys can provide a completely honest, thorough evaluation of your case during a free, confidential consultation by calling (850) 681-7777 or leaving an online message on our website.

Let our firm examine the facts of your case and see how we can help you move on with your life and fight the case for the best possible result. 


This article was last updated on April 17, 2023.

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