Hassett & Associates, P.A.
Call 24/7 - (954) 791-3939
Hassett & Associates, P.A.
Call 24/7 - (954) 791-3939

Main Office:
6099 Stirling Road, Ste 217
Davie, FL 33314

Broward Office:
1327 SE 2nd Ave.
Ft Lauderdale, FL 33316

Miami Dade Office:
By Appointment Only
Miami, FL

Fort Lauderdale Child Molestation Lawyer

Experienced and Respected Criminal Defense

Call 24/7 – (954) 791-3939

Help from a Fort Lauderdale Child Molestation Lawyer

If you are facing child molestation charges in Florida, it is crucial for you to retain a highly experienced Fort Lauderdale criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. At Hassett & Associates, attorney Kenneth P. Hassett has decades of experience defending clients charged with all levels of criminal offenses and will aggressively defend you against the accusations you are facing. When you have the right Fort Lauderdale child molestation lawyer on your side, your chances of attaining a favorable outcome might substantially increase. We will work hard to help you navigate the court process and work to achieve the best outcome possible under the facts and circumstances.

Potential Penalties

In Florida, child molestation is viewed as a serious criminal offense and carries severe penalties. If you are convicted of this crime, you could face a lengthy prison sentence and lifetime sex offender registration on both the National and Florida Sex Offender Registries. A conviction for child molestation can cause a loss of your freedom and civil liberties and can permanently destroy your reputation. Even if you are not convicted of child molestation, being charged with this offense can ruin your relationships, career, and reputation.

What Amounts to Child Molestation Under Florida Law?

Child molestation is defined in § 800.04(5), Fla. Stat. (2022) as occurring when someone touches a child under the age of 16 on the buttocks, genitals, or breasts or forces or entices the child to touch the perpetrator in the same areas. Touching a child’s clothing that covers those areas also can be charged as lewd or lascivious molestation.

People who allegedly committed acts of lewd or lascivious molestation of a child could also be charged with other criminal offenses, including the following:

These additional charges might be filed based on the particular acts that might be alleged to have occurred. Prosecutors also frequently stack multiple criminal charges against defendants to try to secure convictions.

What Are the Penalties for Child Molestation?

It’s important to note that sex offenses involving children younger than age 16 are strict liability crimes. This means that it is no defense to the crime that the defendant was unaware that the child was younger than age 16 at the time of the offense or that the child consented to engage in sexual activity with the defendant.

The penalties for lewd and lascivious molestation in Florida differ based on the ages of the perpetrator and the victim as follows:

Defendant age 18 or older with a victim younger than 12 – Life felony punishable by life in prison or a term of 25 years to life followed by lifetime sex offender probation under § 775.082(3)(a)(4), Fla. Stat. (2022)

Defendant age 18 or older with a victim between the ages of 12 to less than 16 – Second-degree felony carrying up to 15 years in prison under § 775.082(3)(d), Fla. Stat. (2022)

Defendant under age 18 with a victim younger than age 12 – Second-degree felony carrying up to 15 years in prison under § 775.082(3)(d), Fla. Stat. (2022)

Defendant under age 18 with a victim from age 12 to less than 16 – Third-degree felony carrying up to five years in prison under § 775.082(3)(e), Fla. Stat. (2022)

If a defendant is convicted of second-degree felony lewd and lascivious battery, the defendant must receive a minimum prison sentence of 34.5 months in prison. The court can also sentence the defendant to 15 years of probation, $10,000 in fines, or up to 15 years in prison.

In addition to the potential criminal penalties, a conviction for lewd and lascivious molestation in Florida carries other collateral consequences. People who are convicted of this type of offense will have to register as sex offenders for the rest of their lives. If they fail to comply with the sex offender registration requirements, they can face additional charges for failing to register as a sex offender. Appearing on the sex offender registry means that the person’s picture, address, name, offense details, and other information will be public and easily accessible online.

In addition to lifetime sex offender registration, people might spend years serving sex offender probation up to the rest of their lives. Registered sex offenders in Florida are prohibited from living within 1,000 feet of a school or daycare, and they also can’t work in a job at which children might regularly be present.

As a result, many people who have been convicted of lewd and lascivious molestation in Florida struggle to find and maintain employment. Many employers conduct employment background checks and will see the conviction information. People convicted of child sex offenses also might be ineligible for housing assistance and struggle to find places to live. Sex offenders also might face significant stigma in their communities and lose friendships and the relationships they have with family members.

Both the criminal penalties and the collateral consequences of a conviction for an act of lewd and lascivious molestation are severe. Because of this, it is critical for anyone facing these types of charges to immediately contact Fort Lauderdale child molestation lawyer Kenneth P. Hassett to aggressively defend against the allegations against them.

Defenses Against Child Molestation Charges

The potential defenses against child molestation charges will vary based on the facts and circumstances of your case. Experienced Fort Lauderdale criminal defense lawyer Kenneth Hassett will carefully review the evidence the state has gathered to identify the best defense strategies to use. In some cases, attorney Hassett might be able to secure an outright dismissal of the charges or obtain a court order to suppress some of the evidence the police and prosecutor have gathered. If evidence is suppressed, this means that the prosecutor won’t be able to use it against you to try to secure a conviction.

Some examples of when some of the evidence might be suppressed include the following:

  • The police used coercion or duress during a custodial interrogation to obtain a confession
  • The police failed to properly Mirandize the defendant before interrogating them.
  • The defendant asked for an attorney, but the police persisted in questioning them anyway.
  • The defendant asserted their right to remain silent, but the police persisted in questioning them anyway.
  • The police made critical errors during the investigation.

Evidence gathered by the police after they have violated a defendant’s constitutional rights to remain silent, to be represented by an attorney, or against unreasonable search or seizure can be suppressed as fruit of the poisonous tree. This means that any evidence the police illegally gathered should be suppressed. If your lawyer sees the police committed constitutional violations during their investigation, your attorney will file motions asking the court to suppress the evidence that was illegally gathered as a result.

When evidence is suppressed, the prosecutor’s case can be significantly weakened. If the prosecutor is no longer able to meet their burden of proof, they might be left with no other choice than to dismiss the charges outright or extend a plea offer to a lesser, non-sex offense.

In addition to constitutional defenses, some other defenses that might be available include the following:

  • Lack of lewd intent on the part of the defendant
  • Incidental contact
  • Touching was not for sexual gratification or arousal
  • The child was questioned with leading questions, resulting in false accusations
  • The child was encouraged to lie by a parent who was seeking revenge, which commonly occurs in divorce cases
  • The false accusation was made by someone trying to extort money from the defendant
  • The alleged victim was coached or pressured by prosecutors, healthcare workers, or law enforcement officers to report child molestation even when it didn’t happen

In some cases, allegations of child molestation are made by a parent against the other during the middle of a contentious divorce or custody battle to try to gain the upper hand in the proceeding. If this happened in your case, your lawyer might want copies of the pleadings in your custody or divorce case.

Since many people are wrongly accused of committing child molestation, defense lawyers might aggressively attack the allegations against their clients. False allegations of child sexual molestation might be motivated by the accuser’s jealousy, a quest for revenge, or mental illness. A Fort Lauderdale child molestation lawyer at Hassett & Associates will thoroughly investigate your case and mount an aggressive defense strategy to protect your rights and freedom.

Defenses That Can’t Be Used Against Child Molestation Charges in Florida

Several defenses are prohibited against lewd and lascivious molestation charges in Florida under the state’s statutory law. Under § 800.04(2), Fla. Stat. (2022) and § 800.04(3), Fla. Stat. (2022), you can’t defend against these types of charges by asserting any of the following arguments:

  • You didn’t know the child was younger than age 16 – Under Florida law, it doesn’t matter if you didn’t realize the alleged victim was under the age of 16 or younger than age 12 at the time of the offense. Even if the child lied about their age, it is no defense against child molestation charges.
  • The victim consented to the touching – Children are not considered to be legally capable of consent, so it is not a defense to argue that a child consented to engage in sexual touching or other sexual activity.
  • The victim has engaged in other sexual activity with others in the past – You can’t defend against child molestation charges by arguing that the victim has engaged in sexual activity with others in the past. This is true even if the victim was engaging in prostitution at the time of the offense.

Consult a Fort Lauderdale Child Molestation Lawyer

Being accused of a serious sex crime can be both overwhelming and frightening. If you’ve learned that you are under investigation for child molestation, have been accused by someone else of committing this type of offense, or have already been charged, you should reach out to Hassett & Associates immediately. Fort Lauderdale child molestation lawyer Kenneth P. Hassett has successfully defended many people against serious crimes and is prepared to aggressively defend against the allegations against you. Call us today to schedule a confidential consultation at (954) 791-3939.

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Client Testimonials

  • Dear Mr. Hassett,

    There aren’t enough words to thank you for all your have done for us. From the beginning you didn’t sugar coat anything. You told us as it is. Thank you for your advice and suggestions which helped in the case and of course your experience , time and effort.

    Thank you.

    Marie and Diane
  • Best of the Best

    This being my first time arrested and going through the court system, I am thankful that I used Mr. Hassett. Charged with four third degree felony counts I was facing jail time. He kept me out of jail by getting me five years probation and after two and a half years, he was able to have my probation removed. I recommend people hire him because he is an excellent and honest attorney.

    Google Review
  • Beyond belief
    Kenneth has done the impossible when it’s come to my case. Everything he said he would help me with, he’s gone above and beyond. Take and apply his advice and he will see it through you have a victory in your hands. Thanks again Ken you’ve helped me get my life back on track couldn’t have done it.

  • Ken Hassett and his law firm are a pleasure to work with. He’s honest, clear in communication, dedicated, has great follow through, he’s friendly and professional. He helped our family to clear up a case involving our teen, he guided us from day one to our final day, resolving our situation satisfactorily. I would highly recommend Ken Hassett’s law firm and we would certainly retain him in the future if ever needed.

    Mrs. B.
  • An appreciative client
    Ken was extremely helpful to me regarding an issue involving my son in Florida. It was not possible for me to go to Florida at the time but Ken kept me posted along the way. I am very grateful for all his helpfulness and expertise. I would definitely recommend him to others.

  • Great experience
    Great and in-depth knowledge of all the situations, specially mine. Well informed and easily accessible for all sorts of clarifications during the entire process. 24/7 access and availability for recommendations and executions of steps that suit your need.

  • Too Good To Be True
    I used the services Kenneth Hassett & Associates for my legal proceedings and I was pleasantly surprized. I was obviously skeptical initially, but after speaking with Mr. Hassett, I felt comfortable, that i was in good hands. Everything that was said to me, materialized.
    You would not be disappointed.

Recent Sex Crimes Case Results

Charges: Aggravated Stalking
County: Miami-Dade
Facts: Female client was alleged to have been stalking and threatening the other woman in a love triangle
Results: Case Dismissed

Charges: Prostitution
County: Miami-Dade
Facts: Alleged Payment for Sexual Contact
Results: Case Dismissed, Record Expunged

Charges: Sexual Battery
County: Miami-Dade
Facts: Alleged Unconsented Touching of a Sexual Nature, Resulting in No Injury
Results: Case Dismissed

Charges: Solicitation of Prostitution
County: Miami-Dade
Facts: Alleged Solicitation of Prostitution of an Undercover Police Officer
Results: Case Dismissed, Record Expunged

Charges: Solicitation of Prostitution
County: Miami-Dade
Facts: Client allegedly offered money for oral sex
Results: Case Dismissed, Record Expunged

Charges: Solicitation of Prostitution
County: Broward
Facts: Client allegedly offered money to an undercover police officer for sex
Results: Case Dismissed

Kenneth P. Hassett, Esq. Awards & Ratings