Indecent Exposure and Public Lewdness

By Lowry Law Firm | Posted on October 9, 2015

Chapter 800 of Florida’s Criminal Punishment Code contains statutes that deal with indecent exposure and lewdness. These laws include bans on public nudity and sexual acts.

Florida Statute 800.02 outlaws “unnatural and lascivious acts.” Under 800.02, it is a second-degree misdemeanor to commit any unnatural or lascivious act with another person. While this wording is rather vague, the statute clarifies that a mother breastfeeding her baby cannot be considered an unnatural or lascivious act.

Florida Statute 800.03 is titled “exposure of sexual organs.” The statute makes it illegal to expose or exhibit one’s sexual organs in public in a vulgar or indecent manner. The law also applies to a person who is not in public, if that person is on someone else’s private premises – or to someone who is close enough to another person’s private premises that they can be seen.

Under the statute, it is also illegal to be naked in a public place, unless the public place is set aside for that purpose (for example, a nude beach). Violating 800.03 is a first-degree misdemeanor.

Florida Statute 800.04 deals with “lewd or lascivious offenses committed upon or in the presence of persons less than 16 years of age.” This includes the following offenses:

  • Lewd or lascivious battery. (Someone commits this offense by committing lewd or lascivious acts with a person between the ages of 12 and 15, and/or by “encouraging, forcing or enticing” someone who is under 16 to engage in “sadomasochistic abuse, sexual bestiality, prostitution, or any other act involving sexual activity.”)
  • Lewd or lascivious molestation. (This occurs when someone intentionally touches, in a lewd or lascivious manner, the breasts, genitals, genital area or buttocks of someone under the age of 15 – or touches the clothing covering those areas. It also can occur when someone who is at least 18 years old commits “lewd or lascivious molestation” against someone between the ages of 12 and 15.)
  • Lewd or lascivious conduct. (This is when someone intentionally touches a person who is under the age of 16 in a lewd or lascivious manner, or solicits someone under the age of 16 to commit a lewd or lascivious act. If the offender is at least 18 years old, this is considered a second-degree felony. If the offender is under the age of 18, then it is considered a third-degree felony.)
  • Lewd or lascivious exhibition. (This offense occurs when someone intentionally masturbates, intentionally exposes their genitals in a lewd or lascivious manner, or intentionally commits any other sexual act that does not involve actual physical contact with the victim. The statute clarifies that this includes, but is not limited to, sadomasochistic abuse, sexual bestiality, or the simulation of any kind of sexual act.)
Finding Legal Representation

A conviction for one of the offenses described above can land someone on Florida’s registry of sex offenders. If you’ve been charged with one of the statutes contained in Chapter 800 – or any other type of sexual offense – Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorney Mark S. Lowry can help. If you would like a consultation, you can call or email his office today.