Is Spitting on Someone a Crime in Florida? 

 September 22, 2015

By  LMW Attorneys

It is extremely rude to spit in someone else’s face, but does this conduct rise to the level of a crime? Many people would be surprised to learn that spitting on someone is a crime. In Florida, spitting constitutes battery, not assault.

Spitting is Considered Battery

A person commits the offense of battery when he or she engages in offensive or harmful conduct. There is usually no prerequisite requirement that a victim be injured in order for a battery to have occurred by the perpetrator. Therefore, the threshold question in examining whether a battery has occurred is whether there has been offensive, insulting or harmful contact. A battery can take place in the absence of actual physical harm to the other person.

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Battery Includes Offensive Conduct

While spitting is not bodily contact per se, it is offensive conduct that equates to battery. The standard for offensive conduct is from the perspective of a reasonable person, and whether a reasonable person would consider the conduct to be harmful or offensive. Most people would undoubtedly consider being spit in the face as offensive and harmful; therefore, spitting meets the necessary criteria for qualifying as battery.

Is Spitting on Someone a Felony or Misdemeanor in Florida?

Under Florida law, a person who spits in another’s face could be prosecuted for committing battery. For spitting in another person’s face, the battery is a misdemeanor and could result in probation or imprisonment up to one year.

However, it is a separate crime to spit in the face of law enforcement personnel. This conduct is characterized as a felony and can result in imprisonment for up to five years.

Contact the Law Offices of Laporte, Mulligan & Werner-Watkins for Legal Representation

While spitting might not seem like a serious offense, it is treated as a crime. If you are concerned about your rights, the knowledgeable legal team at Laporte, Mulligan & Werner-Watkins can offer assistance.

Call us at (727) 478-4125 for a free consultation by phone or at our office in Port Richey, FL.
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