In North Dakota, it is a crime for anyone who knows that he or she is infected with HIV/AIDS or another sexually transmitted disease (STD) to expose another person to the disease.
For more information on the criminal transmission of STDs, see Transmitting an STD: Criminal Laws & Penalties.
North Dakota’s laws criminalize exposing another to a “sexually transmitted disease” but do not define the term. Common STDs include herpes, hepatitis, syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia.
North Dakota also has a transmission law that applies specifically to people who are infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).
In North Dakota, it is a crime for a person who knows that he or she has HIV/AIDS to transfer blood, semen, or vaginal secretions to another by engaging in unprotected sexual activity or sharing dirty needles.
(N.D. Cent. Code § 12.1-20-17.)
In North Dakota, it is also crime for people who know that they are infected with a sexually transmitted disease to expose another person to infection.
(N.D. Cent. Code § 23-07-21.)
Unlike the HIV/AIDS statute, North Dakota’s STD statute does not provide a list of prohibited activities. However, exposure to sexually transmitted diseases is most likely to occur through sexual contact, particularly unprotected sexual contact, and needle sharing.
In order to be convicted of exposing another to HIV/AIDS or another STD, the defendant must act willfully. A person acts willfully when they act intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly.
People act intentionally when they act with a particular purpose. People act knowingly when they are aware of the nature of their conduct. People act recklessly when they consciously disregard the risk their conduct poses to others. Reckless behavior is always a gross deviation from how a reasonable person would act.
(N.D. Cent. Code § § 12.1-02-02, 23-07-21.)
For example, someone who engages in unprotected sexual contact to deliberately expose a partner to HIV has acted intentionally. Having unprotected sex while you are currently infected with gonorrhea would probably be considered knowingly exposing another. Evidence that a defendant had been tested for syphilis, and then failed to follow up on the test results and had unprotected sex, despite the clinic’s attempts to contact defendant, might establish recklessness.
Under North Dakota’s s laws, people who do not know that they are infected with HIV/AIDS or another STD are not guilty of a crime.
It is a defense to the crime of exposing another to HIV/AIDS through sexual contact if the defendant tells the victim of the infection and obtains the victim’s consent to exposure, and uses condoms (or another appropriate prophylactic).
(N.D. Cent. Code § 12.1-20-17.)
Exposing another person to a sexually transmitted disease is punishable by a fine of up to $500. If a defendant has previously been convicted on an infraction within the past year, the court can sentence the defendant to up to 30 days in jail and impose a fine of up to $1,000.
Exposing another person to HIV/AIDS is punishable by up to 20 years’ imprisonment and a fine of up to $10,000.
(N.D. Cent. Code § § 12.1-20-17, 12.1-32-01, 23-07-21.)
Being convicted of exposing another to an STD can result in time in jail or prison and a fine. If you are charged with criminal transmission, you should contact a North Dakota criminal defense attorney. An attorney will be able to tell you how your case is likely to fare in court, depending on the judge and prosecutor assigned to your case and the facts. With an attorney’s help, you can hopefully obtain the best outcome in your case.