While it rarely happens, people commonly tell stories of restaurant workers messing with the food of rude patrons. If a food handler actually does spit in or lick the food of a customer though, they can be arrested and charged with battery and possibly other crimes. If you or someone you know is accused of a violent crime like battery, it is important to speak with a San Marcos defense attorney as soon as possible.
A few years ago, a fast food worker in Albuquerque, N.M. was charged with battery after she licked the cheese in sandwiches and sucked on ice added to beverages before serving them to parole and probation officers. While those charges took place in New Mexico, if it happened in California, she still could have been charged. Although battery requires a person to use violence or force against another, as opposed to assault, that contact does not need to do serious injury and it can be indirect. A person could defend a battery by asserting no force or violence was used on the victim. This would be a close call in California whether the indirect force of spitting on food constitutes force or violence on a victim.
Battery is ordinarily punishable by up to six months in jail, but if the victim was a police officer (parole and probation officers qualify as well) and you knew or reasonably should have known that fact, the sentence can be doubled to up to one year. Additionally, if the spit caused illness in one of the officers that could be considered serious bodily injury, the crime could have been charged as a felony, punishable by up to four years in prison. A San Marcos battery lawyer can help fight the charges and may be able to get a felony reduced to a misdemeanor based on the situation.
Aside from battery charges, spitting in someone’s food can also result in food tampering charges if the victim contracts an illness. Under the food tampering law, it is illegal to willfully add poison or other harmful substance to a food, drink or medical product that will result in injury to another person. This crime is also a felony, punishable by up to five years in prison, but if the victim suffered from great bodily injury, an additional three years in state prison could be added to the sentence. If the person doesn’t get sick from the spit in the food, the defendant could argue no harmful substance was in the food. Anyone who has been accused of spitting in someone’s food, particularly if the victim got sick afterward, should immediately speak with a San Marcos criminal attorney as soon as possible.
While spitting on someone’s food may not seem like a serious criminal offense, it could result in incarceration. Do not speak to the police without first talking to a San Marcos assault and battery defense lawyer. If you have been accused of adding bodily fluids to someone’s meal, please call Peter M. Liss at (760) 643-4050 or (858) 486-3024.
Creative Commons Image by John Morton