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Intentionally Transmitting an Infectious Disease

Many people might not be aware that, in some cases, it can actually be a crime to transmit a sexually transmitted disease (STD) to another person. California HSC 120290 makes it a crime to intentionally transmit an infectious disease. This includes HIV/AIDS, Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Herpes, and more. This is a very serious charge and should be taken seriously. If you find yourself charged with this, it’s a good idea to contact a criminal defense lawyer right away.

Elements of The Crime

To be convicted of intentionally transmitting an STD, the prosecutor must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. The defendant knew that they were infected with a sexually transmitted disease;
  2. The defendant intended to transmit the STD to another person, OR intended to cause a third party with an STD to transmit it to another individual;
  3. The defendant did something that posed a substantial risk of transmission; AND
  4. The STD was in fact transmitted to the other person

Recent Law Change

In 2018, California made changes that significantly altered how this crime was treated. In 2018, California HSC 120291 was repealed. HSC 120291 made it a felony to intentionally transmit HIV to another person. By repealing HSC 120291, California made transmitting HIV and transmitting other STDs and infectious diseases the same crime, rather than criminalizing the transmission of HIV more harshly. The penalty for being convicted of HSC 120291 was three, five, or eight years in California state prison. With California HSC 120291 being repealed, most crimes relating to intentionally transmitting disease are governed by California HSC 120290 and are misdemeanors. The penalties are up to six months in county jail and/or a fine of no more than $1,000.

Examples of This Crime

If you’re unsure of what constitutes this crime, illustrations can help. The following are examples of when a person could be charged and convicted of intentionally transmitting an infectious disease:

  1. Deliberately trying to infect people with an STD by sleeping with them without protection and not informing them of your STD status
  2. Convincing an ex-girlfriend to sleep with someone who you know has an STD and not telling her
  3. Receiving an STD diagnosis from a doctor who tells you not to have intercourse with anyone until it’s treated, but failing to get treatment and sleeping with people without protection

Legal Defenses

Any time you’re charged with a crime, it’s also a good idea to familiarize yourself with some of the legal defenses to that crime. It’s not always a lost cause if you’re charged with intentionally transmitting an infectious disease. There are several defenses, including but not limited to the following:

1. Practical Measures Were Taken to Prevent Transmission

If you knew you had an STD but took measures to prevent transmission, this could get you off the hook. For example, did you undergo treatment and use protection during intercourse? This can be a strong defense.

2. Conduct Posed a Low Risk of transmission

Medical testimony can be presented providing evidence that the conduct posed a low risk of transmission.

3. Lack of Knowledge

If your attorney can provide evidence that you didn’t know you had a sexually transmitted disease, this is a great defense. An element of the crime is that the transmission was intentional. Intent cannot be shown if you can prove that you didn’t know about the disease.

Attorney William S. Kroger Will Do Whatever It Takes To Help

Being charged with intentionally transmitting an infectious disease is a serious crime. If you were arrested or are being questioned about this type of charge, Attorney William S. Kroger is here for you. He has been a criminal defense attorney for more than two decades. Additionally, he is admitted to practice in several federal jurisdictions. Attorney William S. Kroger will do whatever it takes to protect you and your rights. Don’t hesitate to reach out for a free, confidential consultation. Set up a meeting by calling 323-655-5700 or by messaging us today.

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