Although it’s not considered good etiquette, spitting is considered illegal. So, if you spit on someone, whether out of rage or frustration, you may also be charged with assault.
This crime is defined under Texas Penal Code Ch.22.01 and is usually defined as a misdemeanor offense. If you’re convicted of the charge, you can face up to a year in jail and pay a fine of up to $4,000. If spitting is combined with prior convictions or additional threats of violence, you can face even more serious penalties.
After an arrest or charge for any type of offense in Austin, you need help from an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately.
The critical factor involving a spitting charge revolves around whether the act was intended to cause harm or offensive physical contact. What was the intent? Was the action an innocent mistake? Did the spitting originate from anger, or was it in self-defense?
In most instances, spitting is a form of contempt – the type of behavior that can lead to legal repercussions.
Moreover, if your saliva lands on areas like the eyes, mouth, or nose, it increases the level of disgust and potential legal ramifications. That’s because people who are the victims of your wrath may get sick.
For example, if you spit on someone and have COVID-19 or another infectious disease, you may transmit the condition. You also have to consider the saliva that is spread through the blood through assaults that include biting.
So, if you spit on someone without their consent, you’re assaulting them – a case of simple assault. Again, the Texas Penal Code classifies simple assault as a misdemeanor – a crime that can lead to up to one year in jail or a fine of up to $4,000. In most instances, you’ll be charged with a misdemeanor and be fined $500 if you spit on a victim as a form of retaliation.
However, the situation becomes much more serious if you are accused of spitting on a law officer or, once more, you have a disease that can make someone sick.
Spitting on someone is considered physical contact, which is defined, again, as an attack on a person. While spitting, unlike a physical assault such as pushing or punching someone, may not cause pain, it still can injure them. Therefore, this charge may be hard to defend if you knew you were sick and still spit on the victim. Also, spitting in the direction of another person may be considered a threatening activity.
Spitting, as has been shown in some cases, can get out of hand. For example, one man was charged with misdemeanor assault for spitting on a police officer during an altercation. However, he got off easy, as it’s possible to face much more serious consequences if you direct any amount of spittle at a law enforcement officer.
You can also face harsher punishments if you spit on someone who is elderly or disabled. Moreover, if you spit on someone and have hepatitis or TB, you may be charged with aggravated assault. Aggravated assault charges can lead to prison times from two to 20 years and fines as high as $10,000. This crime is usually classified as a second-degree felony.
One woman accused of spitting on an officer when she had COVID-19 was charged with aggravated assault of a public servant.
One man, who got arrested for spitting in Texas, received a sentence of 70 years in prison. The man, 36 years old, got arrested for spitting at cops during an arrest for domestic violence. The man was found guilty of two counts of harassment of a public servant.
While spitting may sometimes appear harmless on the surface, it can actually result in severe legal penalties. Below are the types of spitting incidents and how they may be perceived by the courts.
If an individual deliberately spits on someone with the intention of causing offense or provoking a reaction, it can be regarded as an act of aggression. This form of spitting may be classified as a type of assault, especially if it instills fear or a sense of threat in the victim’s mind.
Another type of spitting that can lead to assault charges is when someone knowingly spits on another person with the intent of transmitting a disease. Considering the prevalence of illnesses and our increased awareness, owing to recent global health events, exposing someone to a potential infection can have significant repercussions.
Occasionally, individuals may involuntarily spit as a response to a situation where they feel threatened or intimidated by another party. While spitting in these circumstances may not be planned or intended to harm, it can still lead to an assault charge.
Again, a qualified assault defense lawyer will review the circumstances of your case and consider whether the “attack” was in response to anger or a perceived threat. Naturally, if your spitting resulted from feeling threatened, you may have the opportunity to clear your name.
You should speak with an attorney if you’re charged with an assault–regardless of what form it took. If you don’t have good legal representation, you can face a steep fine and a longer jail time. Also, an assault charge can have a long-lasting impact on your criminal record, including your prospects for employment or housing opportunities.
There are various defenses that can be used in court depending on the specific circumstances of the case:
Incidents where spitting results in assault charges can carry legal and personal ramifications for all the parties involved.
Therefore, you need to understand the consequences and consult with a lawyer right away. It is important to stay informed about your rights and obligations, as doing so will steer you clear of possible pitfalls in your case.
To learn more about your rights, contact the Law Office of David D. White, PLLC. Consulting with a professional assault criminal defense lawyer is the best way to ensure a more positive outcome in your case.
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