Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are those that are transmitted between individuals through sexual contact. This may include:
- Human papillomavirus
- Genital herpes
Some STDs are easily treated or cured, while others are incurable and can eventually lead to death. Florida law requires that anyone having sexual contact with another person disclose whether or not they have an STD or else they can face criminal charges.
In Florida, failure to disclose an STD can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances. Of course, the type of STD will influence charges and penalties, as well as the method in which it was transmitted to another person. Intentionally exposing someone to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is very different than having unprotected but consensual sex with a partner if you have genital herpes.
The range in failure to disclose STD charges makes it important to talk to an attorney as quickly as possible if you’ve been accused of exposing a partner to any STD. You should know your legal rights and options before you find yourself facing criminal charges.
What Should I Know If I Have an STD?
Anyone infected with an STD is responsible for disclosing their condition to a sexual partner, no matter what kind of disease it is. It does not matter whether their partner became infected as a result of their contact, as engaging in any prohibited activity with an STD is a crime.
The following are actions that can invite failure to disclose STD charges in Florida:
- Sexual intercourse
- Prostitution with HIV
- Criminal transmission of HIV
Any activity that involves someone knowingly engaging in an activity where they can transmit their STD without informing the other party is punishable. Usually, this refers to sexual activity, but the criminal transmission of HIV can occur in other scenarios where there is a possibility for the exchange of blood and other bodily fluids. Getting into a fight after testing positive for HIV can result in failure to disclose charges.
The two main components of a criminal charge related to a failure to disclose an STD are:
- Whether the defendant had knowledge of their infection with an STD prior to engaging in sexual activity; and
- If the person chose to engage in sexual activity with that knowledge in mind.
Penalties for Failure to Disclose STD Offenses in Florida
If convicted, failure to disclose STD charges can range from probation to a third degree felony with up to 5 years in prison and $5,000 in fines, along with restitution for any damages that may occur from the other person becoming infected. A person convicted of such a charge may even have to list themselves on their state's sex offender registration list.
When engaging in sexual activity with an STD, it is important to be honest with your partner about any kind of disease you may have. If not, you may find yourself up against criminal charges for a failure to disclose.
Failure to disclose STD cases are complicated and often challenging, but our Tampa criminal lawyers have over 40 years of legal experience and are former prosecutors. We know the law and are willing to fight for the best possible outcome for every client we represent.
Contact Thomas & Paulk, P.A. today to discuss your charges and the steps we can take to protect your future.