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PROFESSIONAL. RESPONSIVE. RESULTS. Is Spitting on Someone Assault or a Crime? maryland's top legal team

Is Spitting on Someone Assault or a Crime?

Spitting on someone is a universal gesture of disrespect. It’s not only an obscene act but can also spread infectious diseases. Given that spitting on someone doesn’t usually involve physical contact, the question arises — is spitting on someone assault or a crime?

The answer to this question is complicated, as it depends mainly on the laws of each state and how they define crimes. Read on to learn more about spitting as a crime in the United States.

Spitting as a Common Assault

What constitutes a common assault varies by jurisdiction, but it generally includes any intentional act that causes another person to fear physical harm. Spitting on someone is a deliberate act, and if the victim is reasonably fearful of being harmed, it can be considered an assault.

Depending on the severity and circumstances of the event, spitting on someone might be a common assault, battery, or both. A common assault involves only the threat of physical harm, while a battery is an actual offensive touching that causes fear or bodily injury.

In some states, spitting on someone is treated as a lesser offense than a battery, while it can be classified as the same offense as a battery in other states. In other jurisdictions, it can qualify as a more serious charge called “aggravated assault,” which involves attempting to cause serious bodily harm or using a deadly weapon.

What to do if someone spits on you?

If someone spits on you, it is important to remain calm and not retaliate. Spitting on someone is a form of assault and battery, and the person who did it can face criminal charges if you choose to press charges. The first thing you should do is try to get away from the person who spit on you and ensure that you are in a safe place. If you are in a public place, you may want to alert a security guard or other authority figure. If you are in a private location, you can call the police to report the incident.

Is Spitting on someone’s property a crime?

In most cases, spitting on someone’s property would not be considered a crime. Spitting on someone’s property would not typically be considered assault and battery, as there is no physical contact with another person. However, if the spitting caused damage to the property or posed a health hazard, it could potentially be considered vandalism or litter. Depending on the circumstances, the person who did the spitting could face criminal charges for those offenses. It is always best to consult with a lawyer or legal expert if you have specific questions about the laws in your area.

Spitting Is a Crime in Other States

In certain states, spitting on someone is a crime regardless of whether it’s considered an assault or not. The punishment for such an act can range from a fine to jail time, depending on the state and the context of the offense.

Some states that consider spitting a crime include the following.


In Arkansas, spitting can be a third-degree battery if a person knowingly causes physical contact with a first responder, whether there is injury or not. It is also considered a “Class A” misdemeanor, punishable by a mandatory fine of $2,500 and jail time of at least 30 days up to a year.


In Iowa, spitting is considered assault. It might be punishable as an aggravated misdemeanor if the intention was to cause serious injury, regardless of whether the offender made the injury. The same applies if it was motivated by discrimination, which can constitute a hate crime. Aggravated misdemeanors can result in up to two years of prison time and a fine of $625 and up to $6,250.


Spitting may be considered a simple battery in Indiana, provided the person intentionally spat on someone out of rudeness or anger. This is classified as a Class B misdemeanor, resulting in a mandatory fine of up to $1,000 and up to 180 days of prison time. If the offender caused a bodily injury, the offense becomes a Class A misdemeanor, where the punishment can increase to up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $5,000.


Spitting is an offensive or provocative act in Missouri and may be considered an assault in the fourth degree. They are also regarded as a Class A misdemeanor which can be penalized with up to one year in prison and a fine of $2,000.


Washington law may consider spitting on someone as an assault in the fourth degree. A person convicted of this gross misdemeanor may face up to one year in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.

North Carolina

Spitting is an assault in North Carolina and is punishable as a Class 2 misdemeanor. A person who committed a simple assault and hasn’t been convicted before can face up to 30 days in prison. If they have prior convictions, the punishment could include up to 60 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.


California law considers spitting a battery, which is punishable as a misdemeanor. Even if there was no bodily injury, the offender could face up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $2,000.

Schedule Your Free Legal Consultation Today

Spitting on someone is universally considered rude and unhygienic. Depending on your state’s laws, it may even be classified as a crime punishable by fines and jail time.

Before you act, you must familiarize yourself with your state’s laws. An experienced attorney can help explain the nuances of your local laws and ensure that you are fully aware of the potential consequences of any action.

Whether you are the victim of an assault or the one facing criminal charges, don’t hesitate to contact our experienced criminal defense attorney team today. We can review your case and provide legal counsel to fight for your rights.


Contact Albers & Associates Today!

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