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 more extreme than the common cold, this behavior is not only rude, it is also dangerous. That’s why knowingly exposing others to an infectious disease is a crime. If you have been charged with this offense, a San Diego criminal defense attorney can be critical in helping you fight the charges.
There are some important details to this law that means 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 incurable like herpes, you could be charged. Additionally, while the law doesn’t specify conditions 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 lawyers in San Diego agree it would be unlikely that the prosecution would move forward with the case.
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 San Diego 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.
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.
If the disease in question is HIV though, you can face felony charges if the prosecution can prove that you knowingly exposed someone to HIV through unprotected sex without their knowledge and you intended to infect him or her with the disease. This specific charge can carry a sentence of three, five or eight years depending on the circumstance. Fortunately, the burden of proving you intended to give the other party HIV is difficult for most prosecutors to meet so in many cases, a San Diego criminal lawyer can get the charges reduced to the misdemeanor of knowingly exposing someone to an infectious disease.
If you have been accused of 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