Charlie Sheen recently announced to the world that he is HIV+. Ordinarily, this news would never be a legal matter, but shortly after his announcement, his ex-girlfriend, Bree Olson, came forward stating that Charlie often had sex with her without using a condom despite his knowledge that he had the disease. Even when they did use condoms, Charlie only used lambskin condoms that prevent pregnancy, but not the spread of HIV. Olson says she never learned about the condition until he came forward publicly. While Bree says that her test results came back negative, Charlie Sheen was sexually involved with many women since he was diagnosed with that condition. Now many are wondering if Charlie could be guilty of a crime if he spread HIV to one of his partners after not disclosing his status and not using a condom. Here’s what people should know according to a criminal lawyer in Vista.
Despite the fact that Charlie Sheen insisted that he told every single partner about his condition after being diagnosed as HIV+, a number of those partners have already come forward disputing this claim. One such partner says she even has a damning text dating from before Charlie’s public announcement stating, “How could you do this to me? How could you expose me to HIV without telling me?” So it seems possible that Sheen may have exposed others to the virus after knowing he was HIV+, and that is a crime. In fact, attorney Peter M. Liss says that knowingly exposing someone to a disease is a misdemeanor in California and the victim does not need to catch the disease in order for the crime to have been committed. Additionally, it is a felony to knowingly infect someone with HIV.
So is Charlie Sheen automatically guilty of these crimes? Not necessarily. First, while Charlie is facing lawsuits related to exposing others to HIV, no victim has yet contacted the police about pressing charges. This crime requires someone to come forward and speak with police. Secondly, even if he loses those lawsuits and the victims do take the cases to the police, criminal courts have a much higher standard of guilt than civil courts. In order for the prosecution to prove that Charlie knowingly exposed someone to HIV, they must be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he did not notify his partner of his condition and that he did not use a latex condom. The felony charge of knowingly infecting someone with HIV would be even more difficult to prove because the prosecution would have to prove he was acting with intent. With a top defense attorney on his side, it would be pretty hard to prove these accusations given the he said/she said nature of the crime.
It remains to be seen if any of Sheen’s partners actually press criminal charges, but it’s important to remember that this could happen to anyone with HIV. If you have been accused of knowingly exposing someone to a disease or intentionally spreading HIV, please call (760) 643-4050 to schedule a free initial consultation with Peter M. Liss.
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