Dade City & Zephyrhills Lewd & Lascivious Molestation Attorney
The crime of Lewd or Lascivious Molestation in Florida is a 3rd degree, 2nd degree, or life felony. A 3rd degree felony is punishable up to 5 years in prison and a 2nd degree felony is punishable up to 15 years in prison. The degree of the offense depends on the ages of the alleged perpetrator and the alleged victim. Florida Statute 800.04(5) states that a person commits a Lewd or Lascivious Molestation when the person does one of the following:
- Intentionally touches in a lewd or lascivious manner the breasts, genitals, genital area, or buttock, or the clothing covering them, of a person less than 16 years of age, or
- Forces or entices a person less than 16 years of age to touch the perpetrator.
3rd degree felony: Victim between ages 12-16 & offender is less than 18.
2nd degree felony: Victim less than 12 years old & offender is less than 18.
2nd degree felony: Victim between ages 12-16 & offender is more than 18.
Life felony: Victim less than 12 years old & offender is more than 18.
Hire an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney Before Speaking with the Police
If you are the subject of a Lewd and Lascivious molestation investigation, the police probably will attempt to obtain a verbal or written statement from you. Sometimes the officer will read the suspect his Constitutional Rights or Miranda warnings. In many instances the officer does not read the suspect his Miranda warnings because the officer believes the law doesn’t require it. Frequently, the police officer or detective will attempt to obtain the statement from an L&L molestation suspect in a casual and relaxed setting without Miranda warnings. This law enforcement interview technique is done this way for two reasons. The first reason is to make the suspect comfortable and to get the suspect to talk openly. The second reason is to avoid having to read the suspect his Miranda warnings out of concern the suspect will invoke his rights and demand an attorney before questioning. Keep in mind that an officer is not required to read a suspect his or her Miranda warnings during a consensual encounter.
A consensual encounter occurs when a suspect is free to leave but doesn’t leave and agrees to answer the questions. Also, be aware that officers are allowed to lie to you when they interview you. This also is a technique that law enforcement officers use to get a suspect to admit details of an incident. Additionally, interviews may be recorded without your knowledge and others times they are not. If you are confronted with this situation, you have the right to remain silent and talk with an experienced Dade City & Zephyrhills Lewd & Lascivious Molestation attorney before making any statements.
A SUSPECT SHOULD NOT TALK TO THE POLICE UNTIL AN EXPERIENCED CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY IS RETAINED.
The experienced Dade City & Zephyrhills Lewd & Lascivious Molestation attorneys at the Madonna Law Group are available to offer guidance during this crucial stage of the investigation. If you are a suspect in a child molestation investigation, you need to assemble your legal team as early as possible. Our criminal defense attorneys have extensive experience in dealing with law enforcement officers and prosecutors during these types of investigations. Call 352.567.0411 to schedule a free initial consultation.
Sexual Offender/Predator Lifetime Registration Requirements if Convicted
Any person convicted of a Lewd or Lascivious molestation will be declared either a sexual offender or sexual predator and be forced to comply with sexual offender/predator registration laws in Florida and throughout the United States
Defenses that cannot be used in Florida Lewd or Lascivious Cases
- The alleged victim’s past sexual experience or lack of chastity cannot be used as defense. Even if the alleged victim is a prostitute, that fact in most cases will be ruled inadmissible.
- The alleged victim’s consent cannot be used as a defense in L&L cases.
Florida Criminal Punishment Code (Score Sheet)
If charged with Lewd or Lascivious Molestation, a prosecutor employed by the State Attorney’s Office will prepare a Criminal Punishment Code Score Sheet and forward a copy to your criminal defense lawyer. This document is commonly referred to as the Score Sheet.
The score is determined by evaluating the defendant’s current pending charges and past criminal history. Once completed, the score sheet will compute the lowest possible prison sentence in months. This lowest possible prison sentence is commonly referred to as the Bottom of the Guidelines. The Bottom of the Guidelines is the minimum amount of months in prison the circuit court judge can lawfully sentence you to unless the judge finds a lawful reason for a downward departure and is willing to go below guidelines or depart. Downward departures are discussed below.
Depending on the ages of the alleged perpetrator and victim, the crime of Lewd & Lascivious Molestation will be scored as either Level 6, 7, or 9. A level 6 offense scores 36 points, a level 7 offense scores 56 points, and a level 9 offense scores 92 points. An additional 40 points can be added to a defendant’s score if there is sexual contact with the victim, and 80 points if the case involves penetration.
- 800.04(5)(d): Victim is between ages 12-16 & offender is less than 18
- 800.04(5)(c)1: Victim less than 12 years old & offender is less than 18
- 800.04(5)(c)2: Victim between ages 12-16 & offender is more than 18
- 800.04(5)(b): Victim less than 12 years old & offender is more than 18
A defendant with no prior criminal record, if convicted of L or L Molestation will score at the bottom of the guidelines a prison sentence of 36 months, 51 months or 96.
Downward Departures Due to Mitigating Circumstances
A downward departure allows a judge to sentence an offender convicted of Lewd or Lascivious Molestation below the Bottom of the Guidelines. There are many mitigating circumstances that the sentencing judge may consider when deciding whether to grant a motion for a downward departure. The judge may still decline to give a downward departure even when the facts presented establish a reason to depart downward.
Free Initial Consultation on Lewd or Lascivious Molestation Allegations
Call (352) 567-0411 today to speak with a Dade City & Zephyrhills Lewd & Lascivious Molestation attorney. Our firm is in Dade City, located in Pasco County, Florida. We are located directly across the street from the Pasco County Courthouse. The Madonna Law Group also represents clients involving criminal matters in but not limited to Hernando County, Sumter County, Citrus County, Hillsborough County, Polk County, and Pinellas County, including Tampa, Brooksville, New Port Richey, Clearwater, St. Petersburg, Lakeland, Bushnell, Bartow, and Plant City. We will defend you anywhere in the State of Florida.