Lewd or Lascivious Molestation

Under Florida Statute Section 800.04(5), the crime of lewd or lascivious molestation requires proof that a person intentionally touched in a lewd or lascivious manner the breasts, genitals, genital area, or buttocks, or the clothing covering them, of a person less than 16 years of age, or forces or entices a person under 16 years of age to so touch the perpetrator.

Life imprisonment sentences are given to capital felonies which include lewd molestation when the victim is under 12 and the offender is an adult under Florida Statute Section 800.04(5)(b) and 775.082(3)(a)4.a.

In many of these cases, the accusations are extremely vague and cover a long period of time because even the investigating officers do not know when the incident allegedly occurred. Even when the evidence is weak, criminal defense attorneys face an uphill battle fighting these accusations because of the public perception that false allegations are rare.;

Attorneys for Lewd or Lascivious Molestation in Broward County, FL

If you were accused of a felony sexually motivated crime such as committing a lewd and lascivious act of molestation, then contact an attorney experienced fighting these types of charges. The attorneys at Meltzer & Bell, P.A. can help you understand the charges, uncover evidence showing the claims are false and find the best ways to fight the accusation.

Call (954) 716-8538 to discuss your case with an attorney at Meltzer & Bell, P.A.. With offices in Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, our attorneys fight crimes of lewd and lascivious molestation throughout Broward County, Palm Beach County, and Miami-Dade County. We also represent clients in a wide variety of accusations related to crimes of lewd and lascivious battery and molestation.


Penalties for Lewd and Lascivious Molestation in Florida

The penalties for lewd or lascivious molestation are as follows:

  • An offender 18 years of age or older who commits lewd or lascivious molestation against a victim less than 12 years of age commits a life felony (ranked in Level 9 of the Criminal Punishment Code);
  •  An offender less than 18 years of age who commits lewd or lascivious molestation against a victim less than 12 years of age commits a second-degree felony (ranked in Level 7 of the Criminal Punishment Code);
  •  An offender 18 years of age or older who commits lewd or lascivious molestation against a victim 12 years of age or older but less than 16 years of age commits a second-degree felony (ranked in Level 7 of the Criminal Punishment Code); and
  • An offender less than 18 years of age who commits lewd or lascivious molestation against a victim 12 years of age or older but less than 16 years of age commits a third-degree felony (ranked in Level 6 of the Criminal Punishment Code).

Statute of Limitations for Lewd or Lascivious Molestation

A civil claim for a violation of lewd or lascivious battery or molestation must commence within four years from the date when the cause of action accrues. Section 95.11(3)(n), F.S.

With one exception, the statute of limitation for the criminal prosecution of lewd or lascivious battery or molestation in Florida was 3 years. The limitations are extended or their onset delayed in specified circumstances. For example:

  • A prosecution for a lewd or lascivious offense under s. 800.04, F.S., committed between July 1, 2004 and June 30, 2006, may be commenced within 1 year after the date on which the identity of the accused is established, or should have been established by the exercise of due diligence, through the analysis of DNA evidence, if a sufficient portion of the evidence collected at the time of the original investigation and tested for DNA is preserved and available for testing by the accused. Section 775.15(15), F.S.
  • A prosecution for a lewd or lascivious offense under s. 800.04, F.S., committed on or after July 1, 2006, may be commenced at any time after the date on which the identity of the accused is established, or should have been established by the exercise of due diligence, through the analysis of DNA evidence, if a sufficient portion of the evidence collected at the time of the original investigation and tested for DNA is preserved and available for testing by the accused. Section 775.15(16), F.S.

It is important to keep in mind that for violations of s. 800.04, F.S., the applicable period of limitation does not begin to run until the victim has reached the age of 18 or the violation is reported to a law enforcement agency or other governmental agency, whichever occurs earlier (generally, the time for prosecution of a criminal case starts to run on the day after the offense is committed). Section 775.15(13)(a), F.S.

Lewd or lascivious molestation by an offender 18 years of age or older against a victim less than 12 years is a life felony, which has no statute of limitations.

The Florida Legislature recently extended the statute of limitations for crimes of rape and sexual battery from 4 to 8 years in Florida.


Lawyers for Child Molestation Crimes in Broward County, FL

If you were charged with any form of child molestation including sexual battery or lewd molestation, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Meltzer & Bell, P.A.. With offices in Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, our attorneys represent clients throughout Broward County, Palm Beach County, and Miami-Dade County, Florida.

Call us for a free consultation to discuss any investigation or pending charges. Let us put our experience to work for you. Call (954) 716-8538 today.


This article was last updated on Friday, November 10, 2017.

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