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If you are charged with a carnal knowledge crime in Virginia you need an attorney to help guide you through the legal process. Decisions you make after being charged can have great consequences on your future. Attorney Bryan J. Jones has the experience and knowledge to provide you with great legal representation.
Under the Code of Virginia Code 18.2-63, "carnal knowledge" of a child who is 13 years old or older but under 15 years old is class 4 felony. Carnal knowledge of a child does not involve the use of force and is sometimes referred to as "statutory rape." If force is used to commit a sexual act, the defendant could face charges for aggravated sexual battery, rape, or other sex offenses.
Carnal knowledge applies to any act of sex, including oral sex or physical penetration. Virginia law defines "carnal knowledge" as including sexual intercourse, cunnilingus, fellatio, anilingus, anal intercourse, and animate and inanimate object sexual penetration.
In order to prosecute someone for the crime of carnal knowledge of a child, the prosecutor must prove all the elements of the crime. In Virginia, the Commonwealth must prove the following:
In a carnal knowledge case, unlike a rape case, lack of consent is not necessary. The victim in a carnal knowledge case could have willingly engaged in a sexual act with the accused and it still is a crime. However, because the victim is a minor, they cannot legally consent to have sex. Willingness to have sex is not the same as consent when a minor is involved.
Age in a carnal knowledge case is based on the actual birthdate of the people involved. The prosecutor only needs to prove that the victim was age 13 or older but younger than 15 years old. It does not matter if the accused did not know the victim's age or thought the victim was older. Even if the victim said he or she was older than 15, the victim's actual age determines whether they were underage.
The penalties for carnal knowledge crimes in Virginia depend on the age of the offender, the age of the victim, and the age difference between the two.
Age of the Accused
Age of the Victim
Adult (18 or older)
Age 13 or 14
Class 4 Felony
Under the age of 18 and 3 or more years older than the victim
Age 13 or 14
Class 6 Felony
Under the age of 18 but less than 3 years older than the victim
Age 13 or 14
Class 4 Misdemeanor
If any adult (18 years of age or older) is convicted of carnal knowledge of a child aged 13 or 14, the offense is a Class 4 felony. A Class 4 felony carries a punishment of between 2 to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000.
If the accused is a minor (under the age of 18) and the victim is 3 years or more the accused's junior then the offense is a Class 6 felony. The penalties for a Class 6 felony include 1 to 6 years imprisonment or 12 months in jail, plus a fine up to $2,500. An example would be an accused age 17 and a victim age 13.
If the accused is a minor and the victim is less than 3 years the accused's junior then the offense is a Class 4 misdemeanor. The penalties for a Class 4 misdemeanor include a fine of up to $250. An example would be an accused age 16 and a victim age 15.
One of the most disruptive parts of being convicted of any sex crime is having to register as a sex offender. Anyone convicted of carnal knowledge of a child where the convicted individual is 5 years older or more than the victim must register as a sex offender.
Registration as a sex offender is also required upon any second conviction under the carnal knowledge statute.
It is important to note that knowledge or lack of knowledge of the victim's age is NOT a defense to carnal knowledge violations in Virginia. If an 18-year-old has sexual intercourse with a 14-year-old it does not matter that the accused believed that the victim was 18. The accused could even be tricked into believing that the victim was 18 and it is still not a defense.
The actual birthday of the victim is used in determining age under the statute.
Similarly, consent is not a defense to carnal knowledge crimes in Virginia. In fact, the statute specifically states that the crime of carnal knowledge is committed "without the use of force." A person can be guilty of carnal knowledge when the victim says they want to have sex or even instigates sexual intercourse. Consent can be used as a defense in rape cases but not carnal knowledge cases.
Many times, there are procedural violations made by the investigators in a carnal knowledge case. When police officers or prosecutors violate the accused's constitutional rights, any evidence gathered may be able to be excluded from trial. Without the necessary evidence, the Commonwealth may have nothing to go on and have to drop the charges.
There may be a number of defenses available in a statutory rape/carnal knowledge case. An experienced attorney will investigate the case and identify all available defenses, including disputing all the elements necessary for a conviction of carnal knowledge.
It is also a felony to engage in carnal knowledge with an inmate, parolee, probationer, detainee, or pretrial or posttrial offender by an employee or volunteer with the correctional facility. Under Code of Virginia 18.2-64.2, carnal knowledge of an inmate is a Class 6 felony.
Carnal knowledge of a pretrial or posttrial offender by an owner or employee of a bail bond company without the use of force, threat, or intimidation is a Class 1 misdemeanor. This applies to owners or employees who have the authority to revoke the defendant's or offender's bond.
Given the potential penalties for a carnal knowledge of a minor conviction, it is important that you have a lawyer who is familiar with the potential consequences. Bryan J. Jones can make sure your rights are protected and that you understand the consequences of decisions made throughout the legal process. Contact us today.
The help of a good lawyer is critical in limiting the damage that a criminal or DUI case can have on your family, your life and your livelihood. Of course a good lawyer can minimize the penalties such as jail, fines and license suspension or revocation.
David E. Jones is a former Deputy District Attorney and a highly skilled DUI/DWI and criminal defense lawyer with more than 20 years of experience helping clients who are facing State and Federal criminal charges.