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Can Spitting on Someone Be a Crime in Ventura County?

Posted by Neil Shouse | Jan 05, 2016 | 0 Comments

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It may not seem like battery in the sense of punching or kicking someone, but If you express your anger, frustration, or disgust with another person in Ventura County by spitting in their face, that is exactly the criminal charge you could be facing.

The definition of battery under California law is, in its entirety, as follows:

“A battery is any willful and unlawful use of force or violence upon the person of another.”

California Penal Code Section 242.

To prove that someone is guilty of battery, prosecutors must prove that the person “willfully and unlawfully touched the other person in a harmful or offensive manner.”

Clearly, spitting on someone on purpose is a “willful” act. While it may not seem like but is it really an unlawful “use of force” or “violence,” it can definitely be a “touching” that is “harmful or offensive”

“The slightest touching can be enough to commit a battery if it is done in a rude or angry way. Making contact with another person, including through his or her clothing, is enough. The touching does not have to cause pain or injury of any kind. The touching can be done indirectly by causing an object [or someone else] to touch the other person.” CALCRIM 960 – Simple Battery (Pen. Code, § 242).

It will be the rare incident of spitting that will actually cause the “victim” any physical harm, but that is irrelevant for purposes of whether a criminal battery has been committed. You can still be convicted of misdemeanor battery even if there is no physical harm or injury and face up to six months in Ventura County Jail and a fine of up to $2,000 dollars.

However, if you angrily direct your saliva towards a police officer, you could potentially face much more significant penalties. “Battery of a peace officer” under Penal Code sections 243(b) and 243(c)(2) can lead to a county jail term of up to an entire year, again, even if the officer wasn't in any way hurt or injured.

If you are facing battery charges in Ventura County for any kind of contact, whether or not the other person was hurt, you could be at risk of significant jail time and fines. Please call our experienced Ventura County criminal defense attorneys today to discuss your situation and explore your options.

About the Author

Neil Shouse

Southern California DUI Defense attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT).

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