Is Spitting on Someone Assault or a Crime in US?

Spitting on someone is an act that is neither socially unacceptable nor considered to be disrespectful.

It is a concept that converges the potential criminal offenses, personal conduct, and public order and a person can get under legal implications that run across many jurisdictions.

Spitting on Someone

Further, this notion reckons it is an illegal act that encompasses the aftermath of both criminal and civil activities.  

Is spitting considered to be offensive? 

Spitting is generally considered to be unhygienic, and disrespectful during the times of a global pandemic and is regarded as dangerous enough if something like this happens to someone. 

Now, let’s discuss if spitting on someone is done intentionally, it can deemed as offensive and can take the face of assault which further can lead to criminal charges and will range from simple assault to more serious offenses depending on the intentions behind committing this unlawful act. 

By the same token, its legal consequences include variegated penalties such as fines, and even imprisonment for a particular time. 

Adding to this, it may also be believed to violate public decency or conduct laws in a disordered manner that can lead to the charges on a person separately. 

Over and above that, while the act itself may not be illegal in some cases, it can still result in legal consequences if the committed act is found to be a form of harassment. 

Therefore, it is significant to be fully aware of local laws and regulations to understand the potential legal implications of committing such actions under a specific jurisdiction.

On the other hand, in case, if it is found to be an accidental incident it will not usually be deemed to be an offense. An exception to this may be when someone has intended to spit at a person but missed and spat at another person standing nearby.

Is Spitting on Someone Illegal? Yes, and it’s Assault

Spitting on someone is a form of battery or assault, and the person who did this can face serious criminal charges if you choose to press charges against that person who did such criminal activity. 

Is Spitting on Someone Illegal

What’s more, there are various states where spitting on someone is considered to be a crime. 

Yes, that is in North Carolina and 10 other states across the country, that outlaw spitting on someone, or maybe these states have made certain laws that consider spitting as the spread of diseases. 

There are five states, namely Arkansas, Iowa, Indiana, Missouri, and Washington allow courts to sentence a person for a maximum of 20 years of imprisonment to anyone who is caught hawking a loogie at someone.

Consequently, out of all the states mentioned above, it’s North Carolina where spitting on someone is considered to be a crime under their state laws. 

It defines assault through the common law of understanding of assault, which is an act that attempts to injure another person, or an attempt to injure someone hoping to put their victim in fear of getting harm.

However, in this context, spitting can not be considered to be an assault, in the sense that neither it is attempting to injure someone, nor it is the act of spitting on someone that forges a reasonable amount of fear of harming a body in some way. 

Also Like: Can You Drive Alone with a Permit?

By the same token, spitting on someone is more allied with battery in my opinion, which can be considered as an act of unconsented touching the other person. 

However, some cases would consider any battery as an assault, as it was in the case that was mentioned in Jessica Smith’s law book, North Carolina Crimes. 

It’s also worth considering the malicious conduct by a prisoner or a felony attempted by prisoners to expel bodily fluids out from the mouth or stools at government employees. 

One could argue that this law does not constitute an assault, especially it only applies under limited circumstances.

Considering another case, where a man spat at another person in a hospital, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has considered this act as a result of committing a simple assault. 

In addition, the man who did the spitting was sentenced to two years of probation with 500 hours of community service.

Hence, driving the result from all the above discussion, that yes, spitting on someone is considered to be a crime, an assault, and a battery.

An Explanation given by a Defense Lawyer about “spitting” on someone

Yes, spitting on someone is a criminal offense, it does not seem like battery in the sense of punching or kicking someone

Defense Lawyer about “spitting” on someone

But spitting on their face or anywhere on that person can be considered a certain way of expressing your anger, frustration, or disgust with that person, then it is precisely the criminal charges that you could be facing.

In the bargain, the definition of a battery under California law is explained as:

“An assault is any intentional and unlawful act of use of force upon another person”.

Law in Penal Code 

To prove that someone is guilty of battery or assault, the prosecutors must have to prove that the other person “willfully and unlawfully has touched the other person in a harmful or in an offensive manner.”

“A little touch is enough to commit a battery or assault if it is done rudely or angrily, for instance, making contact through his or her clothing with another person, is enough as the touching does not have to cause any kind of pain or injury.

Read More: The Definition of Conspiracy and Penalties

Adding to this, the touching can be done indirectly, thus causing an object to touch the other person or someone.” 

It is clearly understood that spitting on someone with a purpose is a “willful” act. Though it may not seem alike, it is an unlawful act that includes “use of force”, as it can be a “touching” that is “harmful or offensive”.

It is very rare that just spitting on another person will eventually cause the victim any physical harm, but it is irrelevant based on spitting whether a criminal battery has been committed. 

Moving further, in some states like California, you can still face probation for the punishment that could be up to six months in jail along with a fine of $2,000 for committing a spitting act or misdemeanor battery even if there is no physical harm or injury. 

Having said that, you could potentially face much more penalties that can be increased to up to a year in jail if this intentional act was directed at a police officer while performing his duties.

Is Spitting on Someone an Act of Violence?

Spitting on Someone can spread Contagious Disease

Spitting on someone in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic is not only an act of violence but also considered a serious public health concern because the virus spreads through respiratory droplets in its first place, and then saliva carries infectious particles that spread from one person to the other. 

Spitting on Someone an Act of Violence

Therefore, this act increases the risk of the transmission of the virus from one person to the other by intentionally spitting on another individual which poses a direct threat to their health and life. 

Diseases you can get from others saliva

It is fortunate, that if you have been spat by someone, then the risk of catching a contagious disease is ultimately low. 

Nevertheless, there is the existence of small chance of getting a cold or the flu along with other problems that include:

  • Tuberculosis
  • Hepatitis
  • Viral meningitis
  • Cytomegalovirus
  • Epstein-Barr virus

Hence, such an act also needs collective efforts to control the spreading of COVID-19. It is vitally important to recognize the significance of what is termed responsible behavior during these challenging times.

As we all know, spitting not only violates personal boundaries but also enhances the risks of the pandemic, thus making it both a harmful and socially irresponsible act. 

Therefore, respecting everyone’s well-being and adhering to the guidelines of public health ensures the safety of each individual within the community. 

Besides the global pandemic, spitting on another person could potentially lead to physical harm because it may involve a person who may be a carrier of an extremely contagious disease. 

Further, state laws about this courageous and intentional act as no person can accidentally spit on another, so this can be referred to as the transmission of communicable diseases such as HIV and STDs.

Spitting on Other Person – An Act Of Violence

There are still some cases where the act of spitting on someone can result in being heavily penalized if the person attempting this unlawful act is sick or is not well. 

A criminal defense attorney can argue that the accused was not aware of his/her condition when this incident happened. 

But the jurisdiction laws clearly state that this behavior should be considered to be criminalized, particularly when committing a simple assault endangers someone’s health irrespective of the fact that the person who attempted this was sick or ill.

So, spitting on someone is widely considered an act of violence and is generally unacceptable behavior. It is a disrespectful and degrading action that can be both physically and emotionally harmful, can go beyond the limit of a simple disagreement or an argument and can further escalate a situation that leads to further conflict.

Fighting with someone who spat on you

Legally, you can’t fight with the person who spat on you, as the law states in most of the jurisdictions. A victim can defend themselves by applying the minimum amount of force that is reasonably necessary to stop the attack. 

In addition to this, you can’t punch someone who spits on you and claim your act as self-defense. Doing this can be considered as committing a battery against him.

Moving further, the law legally allows you to defend yourself from the spitting crime but does not permit you to take revenge upon your attacker.

On the contrary, if spitting is done accidentally it will not usually be regarded as an offence. For example, an exceptional case can be taken as, where someone is trying to spit on the other person intentionally, but got missed and spat at another person standing nearby.

This will be the considered case of spitting unintentionally – a reckless act but still an offence has been committed.

Legal Rights

First and foremost, if someone spits on you, legally you can call and request law enforcement to respond to the scene as soon as possible and can detain the spitter.

Legal Rights

Secondly, it’s immensely crucial to gather evidence if you have decided to take legal action against that person, such as identifying witnesses, documenting any injuries or emotional distress, and preserving any relevant video footage. 

Thirdly, instead of fighting back or taking revenge against the spitting, after collecting all the evidence, it is advisable to consult a trained lawyer to understand what your rights are, and what are the specific laws that apply to your situation.

Adding to this, you can also file a civil case for any damages you have got, seeking compensation for any harm or emotional distress that has affected you due to that incident.

Hence, it is very important to keep in mind that legal outcomes can vary, and it is significant to ask for advice from a qualified attorney for guidance custom to your circumstances.

Nevertheless, the second option is that you can also choose to report the incident to the police, and they will investigate this case and may conclude whether the charges should be filed against the person who spat on you or not.

On that account, laws vary by jurisdiction, therefore, it is vitally important to consult a legal professional to advise you regarding your specific situation.

Bottom Line: Spitting on Someone is a Crime

A spit may be evaluated as an uncontrollable person’s action to express anger that may seem like a lesser crime than hitting with a punch or pointing a weapon at someone, but still, it is considered to be a crime across every state of law in the country. 

Spitting on Someone is a Crime

This can also be deemed as an intentional act that could lead to a serious injury, which only occurs in extreme or worse cases.

What’s more, spitting on someone also carries stiff penalties along with it, particularly when the criminal action is directed towards a police officer or a cop, and the accused may be ill with a deadly virus. 

In such a situation, the misdemeanor may even be considered an attempted murder, which means that it may not be possible for you to bail yourself out of jail. 

Over and above that, when infectious bodily fluids get mixed up in an environment where cops are carrying out their duties, the risks become unexpected and greater. Therefore, the penalties should be made for the act committed.

Forbye, when the world is dealing with a public health crisis, some countries may forge special laws that concern the act of spitting. 

For example, Singapore is the country that has anti-spitting ordinances that help them in keeping their city and state clean and hygienic throughout the country which are two extremely important factors that are considered when living in a pandemic situation.

Therefore, no matter which US state you are living in, and although it feels like it’s the only way to “get at someone,” think twice before spitting on someone. 

It could land you in jail, leave you insecure for cash after paying a hefty fine, or force you to do some community service.

Frequently Asked Questions

Spitting on someone is a good example of Common Assault, for something that is 'harmless'. In addition, being spat on by the other person does not harm anyone in the long run, but still, it is counted as a Common Assault.

Types of evidence that a prosecution may use for a common assault charge such as CCTV footage, witness testimony, and medical reports about any injuries the alleged victim has sustained.

Common Assault or Battery ( that is using physical force) is the lowest form of violence committed to the alleged victim. However, it still carries the possibility of getting sentenced. This type of offense is often charged if there are bruises, grazes, or normal wounds or scratches but no serious injuries.

Once you have written down the information that is necessary to press charges against your assaulter, then visit your local police department to report the assault. Also, take the information you wrote down to press the charges about the assault along with you to the police station.

There is no limited time to report any crime or bring a prosecution either way, which means that you can report a crime at any time you like. However, for less serious offenses that have happened more than 6 months ago, if you report it, the police may decide not to take any further action.

Leave a Comment Protection Status