Intentionally exposing a sexual partner to HIV is a crime in California. Lawmakers realize that transmitting this disease is a threat to public safety. However, exposing sexual partners to other types of communicable diseases was not punished as severely.

That is why California lawmakers recently passed a law that reduced the punishment for intentionally exposing a sexual partner to HIV and makes it in line with the penalties for other crimes involving communicable diseases.

Penalties for Willful Exposure of HIV to a Partner (HS 120290)

Senate Bill 239 was recently passed into law by California Governor Jerry Brown. The law reduces the crime of intentionally exposing a sexual partner to HIV under Health and Safety Code Section 120290 from a felony to a misdemeanor. It will take effect on Jan. 1, 2018.

Before the law was passed, exposing a partner to HIV was a felony that carried a punishment of three, five or eight years in prison. Now, a conviction carries a punishment of up to six months in county jail.

The law also eliminates the crime of knowingly donating HIV-infected blood. Supporters of the bill said that all blood that is donated is tested for HIV, so it is unnecessary to consider the donation of HIV-infected blood a crime.

Additionally, anyone currently serving a sentence for willful exposure to HIV can petition to have their sentence recalled or dismissed under the terms of this new law. If you or someone you love wishes to file a petition to have their sentence recalled or dismissed, you should contact an experienced sex crimes attorney who can help you throughout this process.

Why Reduce the Penalties for Exposing a Partner to HIV?

Opponents to the law say that it puts the public at risk, but the bill’s author, Senator Scott Wiener, believes “HIV is singled out for uniquely harsh treatment as a felony.” According to Wiener, attempting to transmit other types of communicable diseases is a misdemeanor, and HIV should be treated no differently than those diseases.

Wiener says that drug treatments are available for people with HIV so that they can be non-infectious, but that the law has not yet caught up with science. He also expressed concern that some people do not get tested for HIV because they fear they could open themselves up to criminal prosecution on felony charges by having sexual relations with a partner.

Contact the Sex Crimes Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich Today

If you or someone you love has been accused of exposing a partner to a communicable disease, you should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. At Wallin & Klarich, our sex crimes attorneys have over 35 years of experience successfully defending our clients facing criminal charges. Let us help you now.

With offices in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Los Angeles, San Diego, West Covina, Torrance and Victorville, there is an experienced Wallin & Klarich sex crimes attorney available near you no matter where you work or live.

Contact our offices today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will be there when you call.

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