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Carnal Knowledge Of A Juvenile (Statutory Rape) In Louisiana

Carnal knowledge of a juvenile is an extremely serious charge, commonly known as statutory rape. This refers to sexual intercourse with anyone below the legal age of consent. According to the law concerning “carnal knowledge of a juvenile” discussed in Louisiana Revised Statutes 14:80 and 14:80.1, this crime can either be a felony or misdemeanor, depending on the age difference between the offender and the juvenile jvictim. Since carnal knowledge of a juvenile is an extremely serious Tier 1 sexual offense, familiarizing yourself with Louisiana’s laws on the subject matter is important. Let's look at Louisiana's laws concerning the "carnal knowledge of a juvenile."



What Is Carnal Knowledge of a Juvenile?


According to Louisiana Revised Statutes 14:80 and 14:80.1, “carnal knowledge of a juvenile” refers to “sexual intercourse," which could be anal, oral, or vaginal sexual intercourse. This crime can either be a felony or misdemeanor, depending on the age difference between the offender and the juvenile victim.


La. R.S. 14:80 criminalizes "felony carnal knowledge of a juvenile," while La. R.S. 14:80.1 criminalize "misdemeanor carnal knowledge of a juvenile." Let's take a look at these laws independently.


Misdemeanor Carnal Knowledge of a Juvenile


Louisiana’s Revised Statutes, Section 14:80.1 state that the crime of “misdemeanor carnal knowledge of a juvenile” is committed when:


(1) A person who is seventeen years of age or older has sexual intercourse, with consent, with a person who is thirteen years of age or older but less than seventeen years of age, when the victim is not the spouse of the offender, and when the difference between the age of the victim and age of the offender is greater than two years, but less than four years.


This means that the crime of “misdemeanor carnal knowledge of a juvenile” involves:

  • A juvenile victim and an offender who is 17 or older

  • A juvenile victim and an offender who is not married

  • A juvenile victim who is two to four years younger than the offender who is 17 or older

Felony Carnal Knowledge of a Juvenile


Louisiana’s Revised Statutes Section 14:80 states that the crime of “misdemeanor carnal knowledge of a juvenile” is committed when:


(1) A person who is seventeen years of age or older has sexual intercourse, with consent, with a person who is thirteen years of age or older but less than seventeen years of age when the victim is not the spouse of the offender and when the difference between the age of the victim and the age of the offender is four years or greater; or

(2) A person commits a second or subsequent offense of misdemeanor carnal knowledge of a juvenile or a person who has been convicted one or more times of violating one or more crimes for which the offender is required to register as a sex offender under R.S. 15:542 commits a first offense of misdemeanor carnal knowledge of a juvenile.

This means that the crime of “felony carnal knowledge of a juvenile” involves:

  • A juvenile victim and an offender who is 17 or older

  • A juvenile victim and an offender who isn’t married

  • A juvenile victim who is at least four years younger than the offender who is 17 or older

  • A second or subsequent offense of misdemeanor carnal knowledge of a juvenile

  • A person who has been convicted one or more times as a sex offender

What is The Difference Between Misdemeanor and Felony Carnal Knowledge of a Juvenile?


The major difference between misdemeanor and felony “carnal knowledge of a juvenile” offenses is the age difference between the offender and victim. If there is a two- or three-year age difference between the offender and victim, it is a misdemeanor. However, if the age difference is four years or above, it is a felony.


Legal Penalties for Carnal Knowledge of Juvenile Offenses


According to their respective laws, misdemeanor and felony “carnal knowledge of a juvenile” offenses have different penalties.


Sections D and E of R.S. 14:80.1 state that:


(D) Whoever commits the crime of misdemeanor carnal knowledge of a juvenile shall be fined not more than one thousand dollars, or imprisoned for not more than six months, or both.

(E) The offender shall be eligible to have his conviction set aside and his prosecution dismissed in accordance with the appropriate provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure.


Section D of R.S. 14:80 states that:


(D) Whoever commits the crime of felony carnal knowledge of a juvenile shall be fined not more than five thousand dollars or imprisoned, with or without hard labor, for not more than ten years, or both, provided that the defendant shall not be eligible to have his conviction set aside or his prosecution dismissed in accordance with the provisions of Code of Criminal Procedure Article 893.


What Age Can a Person Consent to Sex in Louisiana?


Louisiana's laws criminalize carnal knowledge of a person under seventeen. This means that only a person 17 or older can consent to sexual activities in Louisiana. It is also important to note that any sexual activities performed on a person under this age, including sexting, sexual touching, and other sexual acts that do not involve penetration, are also criminal offenses. Louisiana's laws on "indecent behavior with juveniles," stated in La. R.S. 14:81, even criminalize performing sexual acts in the presence of an under-seventeen, even if they didn't participate.


Can A Juvenile Be Charged with Carnal Knowledge of Another Juvenile?


According to the aforementioned laws, a person can only commit the crime of “carnal knowledge of a juvenile” if they are 17 or older. Consequently, a juvenile cannot be charged with "carnal knowledge of a juvenile." They can, however, be charged with other crimes, such as "indecent behavior with juveniles."


Legal Assistance


A “carnal knowledge of a juvenile” (statutory rape) charge is extremely serious and is punishable by up to 10 years in prison. If you are charged with “carnal knowledge of a juvenile”, you need to seek the counsel of an experienced criminal defense attorney specializing in sexual crime charges.


Contact Us Today


Gaynell Williams LLC Attorney at Law offers a free initial consultation to discuss your case. The first consultation can be in person or it can be virtual, on the Internet. Call Gaynell Williams today at (504) 302-2462 for a free consultation as soon as possible. We will work around your schedule. New Orleans lawyers Gaynell Williams LLC Attorney at Law have offices in Gretna and Downtown New Orleans by appointment only.


This information has been provided for informational purposes only and is not intended and should not be construed to constitute legal advice. Please consult your attorney in connection with any specific situation under Louisiana law and the applicable state or local laws that may affect your legal rights.


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