Is it a Crime to Give Another Person an STD?
Aggresssive New Mexico Attorneys Defending Against Criminal Charges for Transmitting STDs
A sexually transmitted disease (STD) is typically transferred between two individuals during the course of sexual activity. Some of these STDs can be treated, while others may not be cured and could be potentially fatal. There are laws about the transmission of an STD and whether or not it is a criminal act. However, these laws are extremely complex.
In the state of New Mexico, it is against the law to knowingly infect others with a sexually transmitted disease or expose others to your disease. While some states may impose harsh penalties and charge offenders with crimes like assault or attempted murder, the state of New Mexico will charge a defendant with battery.
What is Battery?
New Mexico is not as harsh as other states when it comes to charging someone for transmitting the disease to an unknowing recipient. A person who transmits the STD can still be charged with battery, though. This is because an STD, especially those that are incurable, are considered weapons. A person can be convicted of battery by intentionally touching a person in an offensive way, and equally a person can be charged with aggravated battery if he or she strikes or touches a person with the intent to injure.
Under aggravated battery, a person who knowingly transmits a disease or harmful substance that causes great bodily harm is guilty of a crime. Therefore, someone who knows that he or she is infected with HIV and bites a person in order to infect them could be charged and convicted of aggravated battery.
The Intent to Injure Requirement
In order for an STD carrier to be convicted or even charged with aggravated battery, it must be shown that they intended to injure the victim. When a person acts intentionally, New Mexico Statute Section 30-3-4 and 30-3-5 state that the individual is committing aggravated battery. But, if that same person transmits an STD unknowingly, he or she is not guilty of aggravated battery, because he or she didn’t intend to harm someone.
Attempted Murder for STD Transmission
If a person knows that he or she is infected with HIV or another form of an STD that is fatal, and he or she has unprotected sex with the intentions of infecting an unknowing partner, he or she could be charged with attempted murder under New Mexico Statute Section 30-2-1. While it is a stretch, it is becoming increasingly common.
The Penalties for Spreading an STD
It will depend on what you are charged with, but for aggravated battery, you could spend two to four years in jail and face a fine of as much as $5,000.
If you are convicted of attempted murder, you could spend nine years in prison and face a fine of up to $10,000.
Seek Legal Advice from a New Mexico Criminal Defense Attorney
If you are being charged with transmitting an STD, you need to speak with a criminal defense attorney immediately. The consequences of an aggravated battery or attempted murder conviction are serious and will follow you for the rest of your life. Schedule a consultation now with the criminal defense team at New Mexico Criminal Law Offices by calling 505-375-4664 or contacting us online.