Lewd and Lascivious Molestation
Criminal offenses can be divided into a set of tiers to determine the severity of the offenses and the potential penalties involved. There are criminalized actions that many people do not even believe should be crimes. Possession of cannabis is an example. Many states have legalized the recreational cultivation and use of cannabis, but Florida lags behind. As a conservative state, lawmakers have a desire to keep marijuana illegal because it allows them to victimize minorities and to justify otherwise unlawful searches of homes, vehicles, and people.
At the next tier belong nonviolent property crimes. Crimes like theft and even fraud where no one is injured and only property is stolen are a bit more serious insofar as they involve victims who are harmed monetarily, but not physically or emotionally. Usually criminal offenses like these can be resolved by the defendant paying restitution to the victims, and unless extreme amounts of money are involved, jail time is usually not on the table.
At a higher tier are violent offenses like burglary, robbery, assault, battery, and even murder. These offenses are not usually penalized simply because of special interests or a desire for the state to collect money off of fines and court costs. Instead, these are the types of offenses that are punished because societal morality says that they are morally wrong and people must be deterred from committing such crimes. Anyone charged with a violent felony offense or one with a victim should not hesitate to contact a skilled Sarasota criminal defense lawyer to begin to build his or her defense.Lewd and Lascivious Molestation
Even after the “violent crime” tier, there is another level of criminal offenses that are treated even more seriously by the criminal justice system. Sexual offenses are considered especially heinous and are treated with a level of contempt by prosecutors, judges and law enforcement. Sexual offenses carry inflated penalties, often including lengthy mandatory jail or prison sentences. Treated even worse are those who are accused of the commission of a sexual offense against a child. The powers that be in the criminal justice system have created many crimes outlawing and punishing sexual offenses against children. If you have been accused of such an offense, it is critical that you reach out to an experienced Sarasota criminal defense lawyer immediately for help.
One commonly charged sexual offense is lewd and lascivious molestation under Florida Statute section 800.04(5). Under the law, any person who intentionally touches in a lewd or lascivious manner, the genitals, buttocks, breasts, or the clothing covering them belonging to another person under the age of 16 commits the offense of lewd or lascivious molestation. It is also a violation of the law for a person to entice or encourage a person under the age of 16 to touch the perpetrator of the crime in a lewd and lascivious manner. Lewd and lascivious is simply a complicated and antiquated way of saying “in a sexual manner.” For example, a person who accidentally touches the breast of a child in the process of pulling them out of a burning car would not be guilty of molestation.
The penalties for lewd and lascivious molestation can be very serious. A person under the age of 18, who commits the offense with a victim over the age of 12 commits a felony of the third degree. An offender who is under 18 who commits the offense with a victim under 12 or a person over 18 who commits the offense with a victim between 12 and 16 commits a second degree felony punishable by 15 years in prison. And most seriously, an offender over 18 who commits the offense with a victim under 12 commits a felony punishable by life in prison.Speak to Our Lawyers Today
The attorneys at Hanlon Law have years of experience defending our clients in all manner of criminal cases. Call us today at 941.462.1789 to find out how we can help you.