Knowingly partaking in specific activities while being aware that you have HIV, or another potentially life-threatening sexually transmitted disease, can result in your conviction for a sex crime. Fortunately, there are defense strategies that a seasoned criminal defense attorney can guide you through. Continue reading to understand these defense strategies, then reach out to Simmons Wagner, LLP at (949) 439-5857 for a complimentary legal consultation.
Understanding Your Defense Options
Anyone accused of a crime has the potential to mount one or more legal defenses to avoid conviction. The defenses accessible to you will be contingent on the unique circumstances of your case. However, if charged with an STD-related offense, you might be able to employ one of the following defenses.
Unawareness of your HIV-positive status or suffering from another sexually transmitted disease can serve as a legal defense. To secure a conviction for an STD offense in California, the prosecution needs to confirm beyond reasonable doubt that you were cognizant of your infection.
Establishing Absence of Intent
If accused of purposely transmitting or attempting to transmit HIV, the prosecution must validate that you intended to infect another person. Merely establishing your knowledge of the infection is not sufficient. If the prosecution fails to meet their burden of proof, or if you present a defense demonstrating a lack of intent, you cannot be convicted of this offense.
If convicted of an STD offense in California, you may face various penalties. The exact penalties for any crime depend on the specifics of the case and your criminal history, but typically, the following punishments are imposed in STD crime cases.
- Imprisonment. Conviction of an STD felony in California could result in a substantial jail or prison term. For instance, being convicted of felony attempted HIV transmission might entail a 3 to 8-year sentence in state jail. Conversely, if convicted of knowingly exposing yourself to the public while infected with an STD, you may face up to a year in jail as a misdemeanor.
- Fines. Criminal convictions in California can also carry significant fines. Misdemeanor offenses can carry fines up to $1,000, while felony offenses can incur fines of $10,000 or more.
- Probation. A conviction for an STD-related crime in California may also result in a probation period ranging from one to five years, or potentially longer. Probation involves complying with specific rules, such as regularly reporting to a probation officer and paying any associated fines and court costs. Additionally, you must refrain from committing new offenses and comply with any requests from the court and your probation officer.
Seek Professional Legal Support from a California Criminal Defense Attorney
If faced with criminal charges, it is crucial to promptly consult a competent local defense attorney. The laws around sexually transmitted diseases in California are severe, necessitating immediate consultation with a local criminal defense attorney upon learning that you are under investigation or have been charged. For a case review, contact Simmons Wagner, LLP at (949) 439-5857.