In the Commonwealth of Virginia, it is a criminal act to intentionally infect another person with a sexually transmitted disease (STD). If you are accused of doing so, you may be arrested for a felony offense—one that carries significant jail time. In this article, our experienced Fairfax sex crimes defense lawyer provides an overview of infected sexual battery charges in Virginia.
Infected Sexual Battery: Virginia Law
Under Commonwealth law (Virginia Code § 18.2-67.4:1), infected sexual battery is intentional exposure of HIV, Syphilis, or Hepatitis B to another person. To be clear, sexual intercourse is not a required element of this offense. Any sexual act that exposes another person may be sufficient to warrant an infected sexual battery charge if the other elements of the statute are met.
Penalties for Infected Sexual Battery
The penalties for infected sexual battery will depend on the specific nature of the offense—it is a crime that can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony offense.
Felony Infected Sexual Battery
If a person intentionally attempts to infect another person with one of the previously listed STDs, they can be charged with felony infected sexual battery. The felony version of this offense requires intent to infect. Felony infected sexual battery carries a maximum of five years in prison.
Misdemeanor Infected Sexual Battery
In contrast, a misdemeanor infected sexual battery charge in Virginia only requires knowledge of the STD. If a person knows that they are infected with HIV, Syphilis, or Hepatitis B, and they have sex with another person without disclosing their condition, they may be charged with a criminal act. Misdemeanor infected sexual battery carries a maximum sentence of twelve months in prison.
Defenses to an Infected Sexual Battery Charge
There are a number of different defenses that can be raised in infected sexual battery cases. Three of the most common are the following:
- Lack of intent (only for felony infected sexual battery);
- Lack of knowledge; and
As noted in the Sourcebook on State and Federal HIV Criminal Law and Practice, disclosure of a condition can be raised as a defense to the criminal charge. If the other person was made aware of the STD, they can choose to proceed with sexual contact at their own risk. It is not a crime to engage in sexual activity after disclosure has been made.
Related Offense: Donation of Infected Blood
It is also worth noting that it is a crime to knowingly donate infected blood or infected body tissue. Under (Virginia Code § 32.1-289.2), any person who intentionally donates infected blood can be charged with a felony offense.
Get Help From Our Fairfax, VA Sex Crimes Defense Attorney
At Whitestone Young P.C., our Virginia sex crimes defense lawyer is an experienced, effective advocate for clients. If you or your loved one was charged with infected sexual battery, you need professional representation. Contact our law firm now for a free, confidential initial consultation. We represent clients in Fairfax and throughout the region.