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.
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.