Unlike many other states, Arizona law does not specifically criminalize transmitting sexually transmitted diseases, nor does it specifically address exposing someone to such a disease. However, there is a rather broad law in Arizona that applies to any situation where someone with a sexually transmitted disease exposes someone else to it.
If you would like to read more about criminal laws on sexually transmitted or venereal diseases, see the article Transmitting an STD: Criminal Laws & Penalties.
In Arizona, a person with any kind of contagious or infectious disease, including sexually transmitted diseases such as gonorrhea and HIV, could be charged with a crime in some circumstances. (Arizona Revised Statutes section 36-631)
Arizona law makes it a misdemeanor offense for people infected with a contagious or infectious disease to knowingly expose others to that disease in a public place or thoroughfare. This law is quite broad and potentially applies to anyone with any type of infectious disease, and not just those with sexually transmitted diseases.
The Arizona law does not require that an infected person transmit the disease to someone else. It’s enough to knowingly expose someone else to an infectious or contagious disease in Arizona to be charged with a crime.
Though other Arizona laws do not specifically address either transmitting an STD to another person or placing a person at risk of being infected with an STD, prosecutors might charge you with additional crimes should you engage in such behavior. For example, if you intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly cause physical injury to another person in Arizona you could be charged with assault.
In any criminal case, the defenses that are available to you will differ depending on the crimes charged and the circumstances of your situation. The following defenses may or may not apply in STD crime cases in Arizona, and other defenses not mentioned here might also be available.
Arizona law specifically states that in order to be convicted of an STD crime you must knowingly expose someone else to an infectious or contagious disease. If the prosecution cannot prove that you knew you were infected with such a disease, you cannot be convicted of the crime.
The Arizona criminal STD law also requires that you expose someone to a contagious or infectious disease in a public place or thoroughfare. If the exposure takes place in a private setting and does not expose the public to danger you have not committed this crime.
The Arizona law also states that it is not a crime to expose the public to an infectious or communicable disease if you do so during the necessary removal of yourself from the public. So, if you go to the hospital and learn you are infected with a contagious disease, it is not a crime if you pass through a public area in order to remove yourself from the public as quickly as possible, as long as you do so in a manner that poses the least possible amount of danger to the public.
A person with a contagious or infectious disease who exposes himself to the public has committed a Class 2 misdemeanor offense in Arizona. This type of crime has several potential penalties associated with it, including jail and fines. Other Arizona crimes that may apply in STD transmission situations, such as assault, have different penalties associated with them.
If you believe you have committed a crime, are being investigated by law enforcement officials, or have actually been charged with a crime in Arizona, you need to seek out the advice of an experienced local criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the more you jeopardize your chances of your attorney being able to provide you with a complete legal defense. An area lawyer who has dealt with local prosecutors, police, and the local criminal courts is the only person from whom you should seek legal advice.