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The Difference Between Sexual Battery and Lewd and Lascivious Molestation

April 22, 2024
By The Wiseman Law Firm

Sexual battery and lewd and lascivious molestation are serious charges that carry severe consequences under Florida law. While both involve sexual misconduct, there are distinct differences between the two. Sexual battery involves rape, where nonconsensual sex is forced upon the victim. On the other hand, lewd and lascivious molestation refers to any illegal sexual contact, regardless of whether the victim appears to agree.

If you or a loved one has been charged with either of these crimes, consider seeking the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney, such as The Wiseman Law Firm. Our team has a thorough understanding of Florida’s laws and will fight tirelessly to protect your rights and defend you against these serious allegations.

What Is Sexual Battery Under Florida Law?

In the state of Florida, “sexual battery” is a term that covers what is commonly referred to as rape. According to Florida Statute 794.011, sexual battery is specifically defined as the non-consensual oral, anal, or vaginal penetration by or union with the sexual organ of another person, or the anal or vaginal penetration of another person by any other object.

This definition is broad and aims to encompass a range of non-consensual sexual acts, emphasizing the lack of consent from the victim as a critical component. The law does not differentiate based on the gender of either the victim or the perpetrator, and focuses instead on the act itself and the absence of agreement to such acts. 

How Is Lewd and Lascivious Molestation Defined?

In Florida, a lewd and lascivious act is when someone engages or entices a minor under 16 years of age into any sexual activity, or intentionally touches a child in a lustful manner. This offense, considered a felony, is also referred to as statutory rape when it involves a person younger than 16 years. 

Importantly, any form of intimate contact with individuals under 16 years old is illegal in Florida, even if the minor seems to consent. Lewd and lascivious acts are categorized into battery, molestation, conduct, and exhibition, with all being charged as felonies.

What Are the Legal Consequences for Each?

For sexual battery in Florida, the legal consequences can be severe, including lengthy prison sentences, hefty fines, and mandatory registration as a sex offender. The exact penalty varies based on factors like the victim’s age and the use of force. 

Lewd and lascivious molestation charges, focusing on offenses involving minors, also lead to significant penalties. These can range from years in prison to lifetime sex offender registration, depending on the offense’s specifics, such as the age difference between the offender and the minor. Both charges underscore Florida’s strict stance against sexual crimes, aiming to safeguard its residents’ well-being.

What Are Potential Defenses Against These Crimes?

Facing charges of sexual battery or lewd and lascivious molestation can be overwhelming, but several defense strategies may be applicable, depending on the circumstances of the case:

  • False accusations: Providing evidence or testimony that the accusations were false. 
  • Mistaken Identity: Arguing that the defendant was not the perpetrator. 
  • Alibi: Providing evidence that the defendant was not present at the time and place the alleged crime occurred. 
  • Age Misrepresentation: In cases involving minors, showing that the defendant was misled about the victim’s age.

A criminal defense lawyer can explore and explain which defenses might be most applicable to your specific situation, guiding you through the legal process.

Speak With an Orlando Criminal Defense Attorney From The Wiseman Law Firm Today

Navigating the complexities of charges like sexual battery and lewd and lascivious molestation requires knowledgeable guidance. At The Wiseman Law Firm, our seasoned Orlando criminal defense attorneys are ready to offer the support and defense strategy you need. 

Don’t face these serious accusations alone. Reach out to us by calling (407) 420-4647 or filling out a contact form. We’ll help you understand your rights and work towards the best possible outcome in your case.

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