Under Florida law, there are many crimes that can be committed in multiple ways. In such instances, the prosecution only has to prove that the defendant engaged in the behavior set forth in one method to obtain a conviction. This was demonstrated in a recent ruling issued by a Florida court, in which it affirmed the defendant’s conviction for lewd and lascivious battery. If you are faced with accusations that you committed a sex crime, it is smart to hire a skilled Tampa sex crime defense attorney to help you formulate compelling arguments.
The Facts of the Case
It is alleged that the defendant was charged with three counts of sexual battery on an individual under twelve years old. The grounds for the charges were acts that occurred in 2002, involving the defendant’s then nine year old daughter. Following a trial, the jury convicted the defendant of lewd and lascivious battery, a lesser included offense. He appealed on numerous grounds, including the arguments that he could not be convicted of an uncharged offense and that the prosecution failed to establish the elements of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt, rendering his conviction improper. The appellate court rejected his arguments and affirmed his conviction.
Elements of Lewd and Lascivious Battery
The appellate court explained that lewd and lascivious battery is a permissive lesser included offense of the crime of sexual battery. Jury instructions regarding permissive lesser included offenses are appropriate and permissible if the allegations of the greater offense contain each of the elements of the lesser offense, and the evidence offered at trial would support a verdict on the lesser offense.
The appellate court noted that a person can commit lascivious and lewd battery in two ways – by engaging in sexual acts with a person between the ages of twelve and sixteen and by enticing, encouraging, or forcing anyone under the age of sixteen to engage in any other act involving sexual activity. Sexual battery and sexual activity are defined in the same manner under the applicable statutes.
The appellate court elaborated that the only difference between the two ways of committing lascivious and lewd behavior was the age of the victim.
In the subject case, the information charging the defendant stated that the victim was under twelve years old at the time of the alleged offense; as such, the appellate court held that the information charging the defendant with sexual battery included charges of lascivious and lewd behavior as well because the charged crime subsumed the convicted crime. Thus, the appellate court affirmed the defendant’s conviction.
Speak to an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer in Tampa
People convicted of sex crimes often have to serve lengthy prison sentences and register as sex offenders. If you are accused of a sex crime, it is smart to speak to an attorney about your possible defenses as soon as possible. The experienced Tampa criminal defense attorneys of Hanlon Law can educate you regarding your rights and help you to seek the best legal outcome available under the facts of your case. You can contact Hanlon Law through the form online or at 813-228-7095 to set up a meeting.