Lewd and Lascivious Conduct

Knowledgeable Sex Crime Attorney Serving the Clearwater Area

Lewd or lascivious conduct is a potentially vague criminal charge. It is sometimes used when a prosecutor does not have strong enough evidence to push forward with proving the very specific elements of a lewd and lascivious battery or lewd and lascivious molestation charge. If you are charged with lewd or lascivious conduct, you should take it seriously. You face the possibility of incarceration, fines, sex offender registration, and sex offender probation. At Hanlon Law, Clearwater sex crime attorney Will Hanlon is committed to protecting the rights of people accused of lewd and lascivious conduct.

Lewd and Lascivious Conduct

A prosecutor can charge lewd or lascivious conduct if they can prove that you intentionally touched a child who was under 16 years old, and the touching was lewd or lascivious. Alternatively, the prosecutor can get a conviction by proving that you solicited somebody under 16 to commit a lewd or lascivious act. For example, if you hired a minor to perform in child pornography with another adult, you could be charged with lewd and lascivious conduct, even though you were not the adult who actually touched the minor.

Adults who are convicted of lewd and lascivious conduct are sentenced for a second-degree felony. They face a potential term of 15 years in prison or on sex offender probation, as well as a maximum of $10,000 in fines. Sometimes minors are charged with lewd and lascivious conduct. A minor is charged with a third-degree felony. Thus, for example, if you are a 17-year-old minor who convinced a friend to perform in your parent's child pornography, you could be charged with lewd or lascivious conduct.

You cannot be convicted for lewd and lascivious conduct as well as lewd and lascivious molestation and lewd and lascivious sexual battery when all of the charges arise out of the same set of facts and the same incident. This would be a violation of the Fifth Amendment prohibition against double jeopardy. The prohibition against double jeopardy guards against multiple punishments for the same offense, as well as second prosecutions for the same crime after acquittal or after conviction. However, how much time needs to pass between incidents before multiple punishments are illegitimate can be a difficult question.

Under case law, courts cannot impose multiple convictions for an act or acts that happen in one criminal episode if each offense does not have at least one element that is distinct from the other offenses. Lewd and lascivious molestation and lewd and lascivious conduct contain basically the same elements. One does not have an element that the other does not. Dual convictions and punishments are not allowed for these two offenses. Similarly, lewd and lascivious battery has the same elements as lewd and lascivious conduct and is not considered a separate offense.

If there are multiple episodes, the court will look at whether there was a temporal break between the offenses and whether there were multiple victims. Enough time needs to pass between the facts that make up the first criminal episode and the second criminal episode that would allow the offender to reflect and generate a new criminal intent for the later offense.

In one case, the defendant was charged with lewd and lascivious molestation, lewd and lascivious battery, lewd and lascivious conduct, and lewd and lascivious exhibition for events that took place in an overnight visit that went from Friday to Saturday night. The defendant's acts of going into the bathroom and taking off his clothes were considered enough of a temporal break.

Hire a Clearwater Criminal Lawyer When Facing a Sex Crime Charge

It is challenging to defend against lewd and lascivious conduct charges, but it is possible. There may be many different ways to attack these charges. One way might be for your attorney to challenge the credibility or motives of the victim or their family. Another might be to challenge the way that the evidence was obtained. A conviction is not inevitable. If you are charged with lewd or lascivious conduct, your best chance of securing an acquittal, dismissal, or plea deal is to contact an experienced sex crime lawyer. Our founder, Will Hanlon, has been providing criminal defense representation in Clearwater since 1994 and may be able to help. You can call Hanlon Law at 727-897-5413 or complete our online form.