Criminal defense lawyers regularly encounter lewd or lascivious battery prosecutions when dealing with sex crimes in the Fort Lauderdale, Florida area. Given its geographic size and large population, thousands and thousands of these cases are prosecuted annually. When hiring a criminal defense lawyer for a lewd or lascivious battery charge, it is important to find out about that person’s experience level because these cases are very serious.
Even though lewd or lascivious battery is a sex offense, it is a completely different offense from sexual battery. While both offenses concern illegal sex acts, they are of different degrees and punishable by much different penalties. For this reason, a criminal attorney has to carefully analyze his/her case to see what charges can be filed, given the facts presented.
Penalty Differences Between Lewd or Lascivious Battery and Sexual Battery
Sexual battery is a first degree felony punishable by up to 30 years or life in prison, depending on the circumstances. On the contrary, lewd or lascivious battery is a second degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison or 25 years, in some circumstances.
While these differences are great, it is important to note that a person can be charged with multiple counts of lewd or lascivious battery, even though there is only one alleged victim. Multi-count indictments for lewd or lascivious battery will be filed by prosecutors when there are multiple encounters between the alleged victim and defendant. As a result, it can make no difference whether a person is charged with lewd or lascivious battery or sexual battery because the total exposure to prison time can be the same.
Legal Differences Between Lewd or Lascivious Battery and Sexual Battery
In essence, the main difference between sexual battery and lewd or lascivious battery is the issue of consent. In lay terms, sexual battery is rape, whereas lewd or lascivious battery is illegal sexual contact… whether it was consensual or not. In other words, sexual battery (as opposed to lewd or lascivious battery) occurs when one person forces another to engage in a sex act against his/her will.
Understanding this difference is essential for a criminal attorney who is defending someone accused of a lewd or lascivious charge.
Sex acts with minors under age 12 are only filed as sexual battery charges because the law considers such persons to be incapable of consent. However, that does not mean that consent is a defense to lewd or lascivious battery.
In other words, sexual battery is the charge prosecutors typically file in cases where one person is said to commit a forcible sex act on another person. On the contrary, lewd or lascivious battery is the charge filed when a person engages in an illegal sex act with someone 12 years or older, but younger than 16, when the sex act is not forced.
However, as was mentioned previously, the sex act is illegal because of the alleged victim’s age… not because the sex act was forced.