Can You Go To Jail For Transmitting An STD?
On October 21, one former Florida teacher captured headlines when he was arrested for allegedly having sexual relations with an underage student, while also giving her a sexually transmitted disease (STD). As a result, he was charged with unlawful sexual activity with a minor.
But what about transmitting the STD? Can you get charged with a crime for it? Many states actually do have laws which criminalize the transmission of some STDs—Florida included. These laws often depend upon whether you were aware that you had the STD and/or whether you were aware that you could transmit it.
The Law in Florida
Indeed, the law in Florida depends upon whether you knew you had an STD when you engaged in sexual activity and knew that you could pass it on, as well as and what type of disease was transmitted.
Specifically, Florida law states that it is unlawful for anyone who has chancroid, gonorrhea, granuloma inguinale, lymphogranuloma venereum, genital herpes simplex, Chlamydia, nongonococcal urethritis, pelvic inflammatory disease, acute salpingitis, human immunodeficiency virus infection (HIV), or syphilis (*when they know that they have the disease and have been informed that they can pass on the disease) to have sexual intercourse with someone else, unless that person has been informed of the STD and has consented to it. Regardless of whether the disease is contracted by the other person, anyone who violates this law commits a first degree misdemeanor, or first degree felony for multiple violations.
Florida law is also very specific when it comes to the criminal transmission of HIV, specifically, due to how deadly the disease can be if it progresses into AIDS. If you are convicted of or plead guilty to committing or attempting to commit any of a number of offenses (while knowingly infected with HIV), you can get charged with the separate crime of criminal transmission of HIV (in addition to the related criminal charge of assault, battery, etc.), which is a third degree felony. Those offenses include:
- Sexual battery;
- Lewd or lascivious offenses in the presence of a minor under the age of 16;
- Assault or aggravated assault;
- Battery or aggravated battery;
- Child abuse or aggravated child abuse;
- Abuse of an elderly or disabled adult;
- Sex with a minor;
- Donating blood, organs, plasma, skin, or other human tissue; or
- Human trafficking.
Sex Crime Lawyer
If you have been charged with a sex crime, we can help. We will take a broad look at your case, offer an assessment, and inform you of next steps. To speak with an attorney experienced in sex crime cases today, contact our office at 800-588-BAEZ or online. We proudly serve clients throughout Florida and Massachusetts.