Spitting Can Lead to a Felony Charge

When a person thinks of an assaultive offense being committed, images of someone inflicting or attempting to inflict bodily harm may be conjured. And while such conduct may be prohibited under a few of Minnesota's assault laws, it's not the only type of action that can be considered a chargeable offense. In some circumstances, spitting on another person can be an assault crime, and depending on who the alleged victim was, it can be charged as a felony.

Projecting Bodily Fluids on a Peace Officer

Take this scenario: The cops are called because a man, Davis, is shouting profanities and threats in a hotel lobby. When officers arrive and try to arrest the man, a scuffle ensues, during which Davis spits on one of the officers.

Eventually, the officers get Davis in cuffs and proceed to take him to their squad car. As they're closing the door on him, Davis spits on a second officer.

Now, although Davis did not cause bodily injury (he may not have even intended to cause such a result), by spitting on the officers, he has committed a crime. That's because Minnesota has a law that explicitly prohibits a person from "intentionally throw[ing] or otherwise transfer[ring] bodily fluids or feces at or onto [a] person."

Fourth-degree assault can be charged as a felony when it is committed against:

  • Peace officers,
  • Correctional employees, and
  • Secure treatment facility personnel

To be charged under this statute, the offense must have been committed while the officer was carrying out their lawful duties.

Potential Penalties for Spitting

Felonies are considered the most serious offenses. Thus, they come with harsh penalties. The punishments a person could face for spitting on another person depend on what role the alleged victim had.

If the person spat upon was a peace officer, a conviction may result in:

  • Up to 3 years of imprisonment, and/or
  • Up to $6,000 in fines

If the person was a correctional employee or secure treatment facility personnel, a conviction may result in:

  • Up to 2 years of imprisonment, and/or
  • Up to $4,000 in fines

If you've been charged with assault or any other crime in Minneapolis, reach out to Brockton D. Hunter P.A. today. We'll provide the compassionate yet aggressive defense you need to fight your charge. Call (612) 979-1112 or submit an online contact form.