What is carnal knowledge? Traditionally, carnal knowledge refers to intimate sexual encounters, and is not necessarily illegal. Different jurisdictions have defined carnal knowledge differently, but essentially, it means sex with another person outside of marriage. This includes oral sex, physical penetration, and fellatio, as well as sexual contact with an animate or inanimate object. However, there are many exceptions to this general rule, and the definition is still somewhat ambiguous.
Depending on the age of the child involved, carnal knowledge can lead to criminal charges. It is classified as a Class 4 felony and carries a potential punishment of two to ten years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000. Depending on the circumstances, a conviction can result in a criminal record that is permanently tainted by a conviction for carnal knowledge. It is also a misdemeanor that can carry fines of up to $250.
In Virginia, knowing the age of the victim is not a defense to carnal knowledge. For example, an 18-year-old can be charged with carnal knowledge of a fourteen-year-old if he or she had sexual intercourse with the latter while a minor. Moreover, it does not matter whether the accused had been tricked into believing that the victim was an 18-year-old. The age of the victim is determined by the actual birthday of the offender.