Switch to ADA Accessible Theme
Close Menu
Fort Lauderdale Criminal Defense Lawyer / Blog / Criminal Defense / Can You Face Battery Charges for Spitting on Someone in Fort Lauderdale?

Can You Face Battery Charges for Spitting on Someone in Fort Lauderdale?


The legal definition of battery is quite broad in Florida. While you might assume that you will only face this charge after physically striking someone, other behavior also falls under battery in Fort Lauderdale. One example is spitting. But can you really face charges for spitting on someone?

Woman Arrested After Spitting on Bus Driver in Fort Lauderdale 

A recent incident in Fort Lauderdale shows that Florida takes intentional spitting very seriously. In March of 2024, it was reported that a woman was facing battery charges for intentionally spitting on a bus driver. She boarded the bus in Fort Lauderdale and sat down until it reached its last stop. Despite the fact that the bus driver had allowed the woman to ride without purchasing a ticket, she reportedly became angry when she was asked to disembark.

Even though the bus was no longer moving, the woman insisted on remaining. After repeatedly asking the defendant to leave, the driver gave up and exited himself. Finally, the woman disembarked but spat in the driver’s face before leaving the area. The driver then called the police, who arrested the suspect. The woman claimed that she was acting in self-defense, arguing that the bus driver had touched her inappropriately while she was sleeping. However, another passenger came forward and refuted these claims – pointing out that she never slept during her time on the bus. In fact, she was behaving in a highly erratic manner and disturbing the other passengers for the entire trip.

How is Spitting the Same as Hitting Someone in Florida? 

Spitting is battery in Florida because this crime includes thrown objects. Because you can face battery for throwing a vase at someone, you can also face charges for “throwing” your own bodily fluids at someone. You do not need to cause an injury to face battery charges in Florida. The only requirement is that you intentionally touch someone against their will.

That being said, spitting on someone is almost always less serious than striking them with your arm or foot, although can be considered more offensive. If you punch or slap someone, the risk of “significant bodily harm” increases. As a result, aggravated battery charges are more likely. Simply spitting on someone will result in a maximum jail sentence of one year. However, spitting on a police officer or first responder, or even a public transit employee like the bus driver mentioned above, is considered a much more serious felony that can lead to a possible five-year prison sentence.

Accidental Spitting Is Acceptable 

If you accidentally spit on someone, you cannot be convicted of Battery in Florida. Battery laws make it very clear that only intentional acts are illegal. For example, you might spit into the air at the precise moment someone walks around a corner.  That would not be considered a battery.

Work With a Battery Defense Lawyer in Fort Lauderdale

If you’re facing battery charges, your first step should be to consult with a Fort Lauderdale criminal defense lawyer. Haber Blank, Attorneys at Law can help you push back against needlessly excessive penalties. While it’s possible to face charges for spitting on people, various potential defense strategies may prove useful. To discuss these strategies in more detail, book a consultation today.




Facebook Twitter LinkedIn