Criminal Transmission of HIV in Texas
Sexually transmitted diseases are a very serious public health problem. Every year, millions of people try to avoid and treat these infections with a wide range of methods, products and strategies. Getting diagnosed with an STI is a process that no one wants to undergo.
One of the most serious sexually transmitted infections is HIV. Although this condition is much more treatable than it once was, it is still very contagious and dangerous. In the state of Texas, people who are aware that they are infected with this virus are expected to take certain precautions to prevent spreading the disease to others. Failing to do so may be grounds for criminal prosecution. Read on to learn more about the criminal transmission of HIV in Texas.
Illegally Spreading HIV
While these laws are not intended to punish people who are suffering from a life-threatening medical condition, they do place an expectation on these people to be responsible for the safety of others that they have sexual contact with. This means that they must take reasonable precautions to ensure that they will not spread HIV to uninfected sexual partners.
Section 22.02 of the Texas Penal Code makes it a crime to knowingly or intentionally infect another person with HIV. A person who is charged with this offense may be convicted of assault with a deadly weapon. Their punishments may be the same as a person who attempts to injure or kill another person by using a gun or a knife.
Because HIV has such a high chance of causing death, spreading this virus is treated in the same way as any other attempt on another person’s life.
In some cases, a person who is HIV-positive may not disclose their status in order to intentionally infect another person with the virus.
Aggravated Transmission of HIV
The law regrading the criminal transmission of HIV makes a distinction between two different variations of this crime. While it is a serious crime to intentionally fail to disclose HIV-positive status to a partner, doing so with an intention to harm the other person is much more severe.
In cases like these, the person who intentionally attempts to spread the virus to another person in order to threaten their life may be charged with attempted murder. This is because they knowingly and intentionally engaged in a deliberate action that was intended to infect another person with a virus that could potentially be life-threatening.
There are a range of legal punishments that may be used in cases like this. In cases involving a person who intentionally failed to disclose their status to a sexual partner, a conviction for assault with a deadly weapon may be possible. This is a second degree felony in Texas. As a result, a person convicted of this offense may face:
- Two to 20 years in state prison
- A fine of up to $10,000
In some cases, a person who commits sexual assault while being HIV-positive may face enhanced punishments, including mandatory registration as a sex offender.
Intentionally infecting another person with HIV in order to endanger their life is a much more serious offense. In Texas, this is considered a first degree felony. This means that a person convicted of this crime can face:
- Five years or up to 99 years or life in prison
- A fine of up to $10,000
There are a number of legal strategies that a defense attorney could employ in a case where a person has been charged with criminal transmission of HIV. Whatever the case, a person who is charged with this offense needs to consult an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. Any delay could make it more difficult to create a strong defense. Three months have passed since the day my physician prescribed me Viagra. So I think now is the time to share my experience. At first, I considered it ineffective, since one pill provided no effect I could feel. A month later, my doctor doubled the dose and I realized that the pills are actually quite useful – thanks to them, I can get a decent boner after a short foreplay.
The key issue of these charges is the issue of intent and whether or not the defendant was aware of his or her HIV-positive status. As a result, if the prosecution cannot prove that the defendant acted with an intent to harm someone by infecting them, a conviction may be avoided. For example, an attorney could argue that:
- The defendant attempted to engage in safe sex but the chosen method did not work
- The defendant informed the alleged victim of his or her condition before sexual intercourse
- The defendant only found out about his or her HIV status after the sexual intercourse had already occurred.
Defending against charges of criminal transmission of HIV in Texas is difficult but possible. Contacting a local criminal defense attorney immediately is the best way to get this process started.
Have you or someone you know been charged with criminal transmission of HIV? It’s important to get a lawyer on your side that can help you and protect your rights. Attorney Brett Podolsky can provide the support you need. Contact his office today at 713-227-0087.