What is a lewd and lascivious conduct with a child? This is the crime that takes place when a defendant engages in sexual conduct with a child only to gratify his or her own sexual desires. This crime, in theory, is charged as ‘less serious’ than a felony sexual assault of a child, but is still very serious nonetheless. To be charged with this crime, there must have been more than just exposure of genitalia, but usually less than sexual intercourse. More states have been passing laws that prohibit any sexual conduct between adults and children.

Elements Making the Case 

So, how do you get charged with the crime of lewd and lascivious conduct with a child? Here are some of the elements that must be met:

Victim Being a Child: Was the victim involved with the crime actually a child? Depending on the state you reside in, there may be a certain age limit for what is considered to be a “child.” For instance, it may include people who are under the age of 17, 18, or older.

Sexual Contact: Sexual contact can really refer to anything, but every definition includes some form of touching. Defendants may try to “play down” the act by saying that they merely touched the victim through their clothing; however, clothing does not make a difference in the case most of the time.

Intent of Contact: In some states, the defendant must have had sexual gratification for a charge to stick. In other states, this doesn’t matter and they will be charged all the same.


Of course, as with every other crime, there are always defenses to be utilized. The first element that may make defenses a bit easier is whether or not the defendant was touching over clothing or under clothing. If they were touching over clothing, then they may have a better chance of proving that the touching was not for sexual gratification and that it was actually for some other intended purpose. For example, they could use the defense that they “accidentally” touched the child when they were roughhousing with the child. If there is no evidence of anything happening besides just this, then they may be successful with their defense. Having an isolated instance certainly helps.

Sometimes, consent can be a defense to lewd and lascivious conduct with a child. What happens if the defendant is close in age to the victim? What if the victim actually consented to the act? Then the case could be looked at completely differently. Even when the consent defense is unavailable, it can still often be used to lessen the charges of the crime.

Penalties For the Crime

The truth is, these crimes can be particularly serious when charged because they involve children. Depending on the state, a punishment could be imposed of two to forty years in prison! These sentences could be extremely long before the defendant is eligible for parole. And consider the fact that the defendant may have other sexually-related offenses: If this is the case, they may receive a life sentence right off the bat. In lesser scenarios, the defendant may have to register as a sex offender and also pay for intensive sex offender counseling.

As you can see, having a charge of lewd and lascivious conduct with a child can affect a defendant for the rest of their life. This is why, if you have been charged with this serious crime, you should contact an attorney that you can trust with your case. At The Law Office of Peter Blair, we will work for you to help you get the results you deserve.