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Posted on March 10, 2014 by Law Office of Brett A Podolsky
Sexually transmitted diseases can result in everything from embarrassment to death. Knowingly infecting another individual with an STD can also result in criminal charges ranging from assault to attempted murder. The exact crime you are charged with can depend on the type of STD you have.
If you knowingly infect another person with HIV/AIDS, you can be charged with assault with a deadly weapon. Should you use reckless behavior to infect another person, you could then be charged with attempted murder. The exposure does not have to come via sexual contact, as maliciously causing someone to come in contact with bodily fluids would also qualify.
Other Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Intentionally infecting someone with another STD such as syphilis or gonorrhea could be considered assault under Texas law. Assault is defined as an act that causes serious bodily injury or harm to another. Therefore, you could be charged with assault, even if a sexual act was consensual if your partner was unaware of your infection.
How Giving STDs is Punished
The punishment for infecting another person with an STD will depend on the exact offense you are charged with. In any instance, you could face:
- Significant jail time
- Monetary fines
- Community service obligations
- Loss of firearm and voting privileges
Exceptions for Consent
Texas law does not consider it a crime whenever a person exposes another if he or she obtained consent from the victim first. In other words, if you notify your partner that you are infected, and he or she agrees to sexual conduct anyway, you would not be liable.
There could also be other instances in which you would not be charged with a crime. If you were unaware that you were infected, you are not guilty of a crime because you unknowingly transmitted an STD to another. Those who act under extreme duress, i.e. prostitutes, may have a valid defense under Texas law as well. Sexual assault victims cannot be charged with a crime, because they did not intentionally infect someone with a sexually transmitted disease.
The burden of proof is on the state of Texas to show that you knew you were infected at the time sexual activity took place, and that you failed to inform or obtain consent from the victim. If prosecutors are unable to show these things, then any charges surrounding the transmission of an STD should be dropped. District Attorneys sometimes proceed, even when the evidence in a case is shaky, which is why hiring a criminal defense attorney could be in your best interest. Reach out to Brett A. Podolsky today for a free legal consultation session by calling 713.227.0087.