In a linguistic sense, Carnal Knowledge is an archaic and legal euphemism for sexual intercourse. In criminal law, the term has had different interpretations and meaning for different geographical locales, jurisdictions, and conditions. A lot of jurisdictions have specified the major parameters of carnal knowledge to base upon, at the very least, a degree of penetration of the woman’s vagina by the man’s penis.
Virginia’s Code on Carnal Knowledge related to Minors
Chapter 4, Code of Virginia specifies carnal knowledge of minors and substantiates it legally.
“If any person providing services, paid or unpaid, to juveniles under the purview of the Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court Law, or to juveniles who have been committed to the custody of the State Department of Juvenile Justice, carnally knows, without the use of force, any minor fifteen years of age or older, when such minor is confined or detained in jail, is detained in any facility mentioned in § 16.1-249, or has been committed to the custody of the Department of Juvenile Justice pursuant to § 16.1-278.8, knowing or having good reason to believe that
- such minor is in such confinement or detention status,
- such minor is a ward of the Department of Juvenile Justice, or
- such minor is on probation, furlough, or leave from or has escaped or absconded from such confinement, detention, or custody, he shall be guilty of a Class 6 felony.”
Additionally, the statutes of Virginia also include legal substantiation of Carnal Knowledge of Child between thirteen and fifteen years of age:
- If any person carnally knows, without the use of force, a child thirteen years of age or older but under fifteen years of age, such person shall be guilty of a Class 4 felony.
- If any person carnally knows, without the use of force, a child thirteen years of age or older but under fifteen years of age who consents to sexual intercourse and the accused is a minor and such consenting child is three years or more the accused’s junior, the accused shall be guilty of a Class 6 felony. If such consenting child is less than three years the accused’s junior, the accused shall be guilty of a Class 4 misdemeanor.
- For the purposes of this section,
(i) a child under the age of thirteen years shall not be considered a consenting child and
(ii) “carnal knowledge” includes the acts of sexual intercourse, cunnilingus, fellatio, anilingus, anal intercourse, and animate and inanimate object sexual penetration.
– Code 1950, § 18.1-44; 1960, c. 358; 1972, c. 394; 19
Possible Penalties upon Conviction
In Virginia, as in most other states of the US, penalties for conviction heavily depend on the age of the offender and the victim, an additional factor is their age in relation with each other. For any offense related to sex and minors, the penalties can be severely distressing if a conviction is not dealt with properly.
- Adults (defined as people older than eighteen years of age), who are convicted for carnal knowledge of a child between the ages of thirteen and fifteen should be aware that they’ve committed a class 4 felony. This is punishable for a first time offender who may get an imprisonment from two to ten years, including fines worth up to $100,000.
- In the case where the accused is also a minor and both parties had consented to the act, the penalties are typically reduced. However, if the age difference between the offender and the victim is three or more years (offender being older than the victim), the offense is established as a class 6 felony. The punishment can include prison-time and fines.
- In case of involved parties claiming they had a consensual sexual relation(s) and if the offender, in this case, is less than three years older than the supposed victim, the crime is established to be a misdemeanor, typically class 4. No jail time is applicable here, and fines can range up to $250.