In Virginia, it is a crime to knowingly or intentionally expose another person to a serious sexually transmitted disease (STD). Depending on the specific allegations, a defendant may even face felony sexual battery charges for exposing another person. If you were arrested and charged with infected sexual battery in Northern Virginia, you should seek immediate assistance from an aggressive Fairfax, VA sex crimes defense lawyer.
Understanding the Law: Infected Sexual Battery Charges in Virginia
Under Virginia law (Virginia Code § 18.2-67.4:1), a person can be charged with an infected sexual battery offense if they knowingly expose another person to one of the following three conditions:
– Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV);
– Syphilis; or
– Hepatitis B.
To be clear, you could potentially be charged with a crime if you knowingly expose a person to another type of STD as well. However, these are the only three conditions that are listed under our state’s infected sexual battery statute. There are two classes of infected sexual battery charges:
- Felony Infected Sexual Battery: Infected sexual battery can be charged as a felony if a person intentionally attempted to infect another party with the illness.
- Misdemeanor Infected Sexual Battery: Infected sexual battery is charged as a misdemeanor if the exposure is deemed to be “knowing” but not actually an intentional attempt at infection.
Disclosure is a Valid Legal Defense in an Infected Sexual Battery Case
The HIV Law and Policy Center notes that Virginia’s infected sexual battery laws require the prosecution to demonstrate “non-disclosure”. A person can defend an infected sexual battery charge in Virginia by asserting that they did actually disclose their status to the other party. Under Virginia law, it is not a crime to engage in sexual conduct if you know that you have one of the three listed STDs, as long as you make sure your partner is aware of your condition.
Of course, one of the things that makes the disclosure defense complicated is that there typically is not physical evidence. Unless there are text messages, emails, or there is some other form of hard evidence, this defense often comes down to opposing testimony from the defendant and the accuser. It is important to remember that the burden of proof is always on the prosecution. As the Cornell Legal Information Institute explains it, prosecutors must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that all elements of the crime are meant. If you were accused of infected sexual battery, but you actually disclosed your status, you should contact an experienced Virginia sex offense attorney immediately. Your lawyer will help you build a strong, effective legal defense.
Contact Our Fairfax, VA Sex Crimes Defense Lawyers Today
At Leary Law, our Fairfax felony sex crimes attorneys have the skills and experience required to handle infected sexual battery cases. If you were charged with a misdemeanor or felony infected sexual battery offense in Virginia, you need to take immediate action to protect your rights. For a fully private initial consultation, please contact our top-rated Virginia criminal defense attorneys today.