No one wants to get sick, but sometimes people with contagious diseases put their own needs above the needs of others and willingly expose other people to their sickness. But assuming we’re talking about something worse than the common cold, this behavior is not only rude, it is also dangerous. That’s why it is illegal to intentionally infect someone with a disease in California.
Law Against Spreading Disease in California
While there is a law against spreading disease in California, not everyone who has a contagious disease is breaking the law when they leave the house. First of all, while the law doesn’t specify what diseases are or aren’t covered, you won’t be charged for exposing people to a cold. If you have something more serious though -whether potentially deadly like whooping cough or coronavirus or incurable like herpes or HIV, you could be charged. Additionally, while the law doesn’t specify situations in which it would be legal to expose someone, if the exposure occurs at a hospital or pharmacy when you are trying to seek treatment for your condition, most defense it would be unlikely that the prosecution would move forward with the case.
You Don’t Technically Need to Intentionally Infect Someone
It is worth knowing that you do not need to actually infect someone else, just knowingly putting someone at risk of catching your disease is a crime. So if you have an STD and have sex with a partner without protection and without telling him or her about your condition, you can still be charged with this crime even if he or she never catches the disease. Additionally, even if you decline to get tested to confirm that you have a specific condition, if you are aware that you have the symptoms of a communicable disease, you can still be charged for willingly exposing others. Even so, depending on your situation, your defense attorney could use a lack of knowledge of the disease or that the illness is contagious to argue that you did not break the law.
Penalties for Knowingly Exposing Someone to a Disease
These charges are very rare, but if you are charged with knowingly exposing someone to an infectious disease, you will face misdemeanor charges and could face up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.
Purposefully Infecting Someone With Coronavirus
It is worth adding that many people accused of intentionally exposing others to coronavirus are being charged with additional crimes, including battery and even terrorism as the risk of the coronavirus has led to lawmakers considering it to be a biological agent. Even threatening to infect someone, whether or not you actually have the disease can be considered assault or a criminal threat.
If you have been accused of knowingly exposing someone to an infectious disease, please call (858) 486-3024 or (760) 643-4050 to schedule a free initial consultation with top San Diego criminal defense attorney.
Creative Commons Image by Jason Scragz