FLORIDA LAW SAYS IF YOU HAVE HIV YOU MUST INFORM PARTNER PRIOR TO SEX

Los Angeles Clippers Owner Says of Magic Johnson, “He Has the Aids”

In a television interview this week on CNN, host Anderson Cooper was interviewing the recently embattled owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, Donald Sterling, regarding his potential loss of his team, his lifetime ban from the NBA and his thoughts and feelings on retired NBA great, Magic Johnson.  Johnson is widely known for announcing that he had HIV on November 7, 1991.  The virus was discovered during a team physical during the 1991-1992 season.   Johnson retired after the announcement, came back later for a handful of games, then fully retired.  He has since become enormously successful in business and philanthropic efforts.  CNN’s Cooper, while conducting the interview of Sterling, interjected and corrected Sterling that Johnson did not have aids or full blown aids, but has HIV instead.

In Florida You Must Tell Potential Sex Partner of HIV Diagnosis

Florida Statute 384.24 reads:  “It is unlawful for any person who has human immunodeficiency virus infection, when such person knows he or she is infected with this disease and when such person has been informed that he or she may communicate this disease to another person through sexual intercourse, to have sexual intercourse with any other person, unless such other person has been informed of the presence of the sexually transmissible disease and has consented to the sexual intercourse.”  Violation of this statute is a third degree felony under Florida law carrying a maximum sentence of five years in prison.  Defendants who have repeatedly violated this statute can be charged with a first degree felony and face up to thirty years imprisonment.  The sex partner of the infected defendant does not have to show any diagnosis of the virus.  The defendant in these cases will usually raise an affirmative defense that the victim knew of the condition and consented to sex anyway.  Many cases of this sort involve married couples with one partner not knowing of the other’s condition until many years of marriage. The outcome is that one partner goes to prison, and judges typically sentence toward the maximum on these cases, and the other partner may or may not have HIV as their live goes forward.Misdemeanor Arrest Can Result in Court-Ordered HIV Test

Florida has plenty of escorts and prostitutes.  These escorts and prostitutes have no shortage of customers with law enforcement routinely arresting the prostitute or the potential customer.  For a first time offender this is a first degree misdemeanor offense carrying up to a year in jail.  That rarely happens.  These are usually charges the defendant can plea to in first appearance court and be released from jail pretty quickly.  Any prostitution arrest is going to require the defendant’s submission to an HIV test before being released from jail.

Sex Crimes Are Serious

Florida’s sex crime laws are extremely tough.  Incarceration for years is certain upon conviction.  Upon release from prison one is either a sexual offender or sexual predator.  Signs go up in your front yard warning the neighborhood about who lives there.  Citizens can look up offenders and predators on the FDLE website and find every registered offender in their zip code.  There could be ten mass-murderers in a given zip code and nobody would know the difference.  One sex offender and he is posted on the internet, has signs in the yard and is usually wearing a tracking monitor.  With each new horrendous sex crime that shocks society, the knee jerk reaction of citizens is to clamor for tougher sex crime penalties.  Being tough on crime is an obvious and easy platform for politicians to adopt so the laws get more extreme every year.  Many voters think sex offenders should never get out, thus Florida has the Jimmy Ryce Act.  Once released from prison the offender may be sent to Arcadia, Florida, to the decaying, former Desoto Correctional Facility where one is held indefinitely on a civil commitment.  If you, a friend or family member is currently charged with a sex crime or there exists reason to think an arrest is looming, consult with an experienced lawyer who has handled a large number of sex crimes cases.  The Forbess Law Firm is well experienced in the defense of Jacksonville, Clay County and Nassau County sex crimes and always offers a no charge, no obligation consultation or jail visit.  We can be reached at 904-634-0900.