You may have heard the term “lewd and lascivious behavior” used at some point in your life. Maybe in the newspaper or on a crime procedural, but whatever the case, very few people understand what it means. After all, it sounds like it could apply to any number of criminal acts. If anything, the term sounds as if it comes from a 1920s crime novel, but the truth is people are still charged and convicted of lewd and lascivious behavior to this day.
Lewd and Lascivious Behavior Defined
Lewd and lascivious behavior is a fairly broad term. It can cover a number of offenses and crimes under California law. In the most general sense, however, lewd and lascivious behavior refers to any act or conduct that has the intention to be sexually gratifying for the perpetrator or for another group. Of course, that only becomes a crime when the act is performed in public or is forced onto an unwilling person or someone who legally cannot consent. As such, there are a number of acts and crimes that could be considered lewd and lascivious behavior.
What Counts as a Lewd and Lascivious Act in California?
Lewd and lascivious behavior is often used as a catch-all term to describe sex-related crimes. They range from the perpetrator exposing themselves to a non-consenting person to sexual assault or rape. Generally, someone who is arrested for lewd ad lascivious behavior will likely be charged with unlawful pornography, prostitution, or indecent exposure.
That being said, the actual legal term “lewd and lascivious behavior” is most often used in relation to minors. Any kind of sexual act with a minor, such as touching, groping, or sexual assault likely will result in a charge of lewd and lascivious behavior with a minor. This kind of crime is heavily frowned upon in California courts, far more so than prostitution or indecent exposure.
California Laws and Lewd and Lascivious Acts
In California, the age of consent is 18-years-old. Before someone turns 18, they are legally a minor and cannot consent to any sexual act. While the courts typically do not file charges against teens under the age of 18 who have sex with each other unless one party did not consent or there was a large age difference, no one 18 or older can legally sleep with a minor. Any sexual act, which can include touching, molestation, oral sex, or penetrative sex, is considered sexual assault if one party is 18 or older and the other is younger than 18.
This is where the term “lewd and lascivious behavior” comes in. In California, lewd and lascivious acts with a minor is an official crime. However, the term only applies to sexual acts, which again can range from touching to sex, involving someone younger than 14. While it is still illegal to perform sexual acts with someone between the age of 14 and 18, it would not fall under the crime of lewd and lascivious behavior with a minor. It may be considered statutory rape instead.
The punishments for this crime can be incredibly harsh, as the California courts have little tolerance for crimes against children. Someone convicted of lewd and lascivious behavior with a minor may face anywhere from 3 to 25 years in prison along with fines up to $10,000. The length of the sentence will depend on the age of the child involved as well as the act itself. A single touch will likely result in a shorter sentence than repeated sexual offenses.
On top of that, those who have been arrested for lewd and lascivious behavior with a minor face an uphill battle when it comes to bail for a sex crime. Bail in California is often set by bail schedules, which is a document that has listed crimes and the associated bail amount. For the crime of lewd and lascivious behavior with a minor, you could be facing a fine that ranges from $100,000 to $1,000,000. Needless to say, not many of us have that kind of money just lying around.
But Balboa Bail Bonds may be able to offer a helping hand. We fully believe that everyone in American is innocent until proven guilty, and this means that you shouldn’t be put in jail until you have been officially convicted. If you have been charged with lewd and lascivious behavior, you likely need help paying your bail. With our flexible payment plan and low 10% premium, we can offer you the best chance at getting out of jail quickly so you can start working with an attorney on your case immediately. Call Balboa Bail Bonds at (619) 760-2222 for expert bail help today.