Yes, you can go to jail for biting someone.
But whether you go to jail, or for how long, is far from simple.
Let us explain.
Can You Go To Jail For Biting Someone? (EXPLAINED)
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What Charges Could Result From Biting Someone?
The most obvious charge that could result from biting someone else is simple assault (may also be called battery in other states).
While assault charges vary from state to state, most of them get more serious as the injuries from the conduct get serious, or whether there were weapons involved.
Simple assault against a child or a domestic partner (wife, husband, girlfriend, boyfriend) can turn into felony charges, even if serious injury didn’t result.
Given that teeth could be considered a “deadly weapon,” biting could quickly turn into a very serious felony case, no different than a fist, knee, bat, or even a firearm.
Another charge that could result is criminal harassment, which penalized conduct intended to alarm, annoy, or torment a person.
Intentionally biting a person color or because of a race/ethnicity could result in a hate crime charge.
Biting a police officer during an arrest could also result in an enhanced assault charge.
Depending on what was said (words of violence along with the biting) could elevate the charge to something more serious.
Other potential charges could include mayhem or disorderly conduct.
What Sort Of Jail Time Could Result From A Bite?
There is no cookie cutter answer to this question.
If a person was found guilty of simple misdemeanor assault, there may be no jail time at all.
The offender might be ordered to probation, community service, and a fine.
The court (and the prosecutor) will look carefully at a lot of details, such as:
- the criminal history of the defendant
- the age of the victim and the relationship to the defendant
- whether there were any past crimes of violence committed by the defendant against the victim
- the victim’s role in the incident
- the physical injury suffered by the victim
- whether the incident was viewed by other people (such as the victim’s children)
- whether drugs or alcohol were involved or a factor
And so on.
In the end, it just depends on the facts of the case.
What If The Bite Didn’t Leave A Mark?
While a bite without a mark may cause the prosecutor to be less aggressive against a defendant, it doesn’t mean that the defendant is in the clear.
He could still be charged with attempted assault.
He could also be charged with harassment (or the equivalent), which usually doesn’t require evidence of physical injury.
These are both crimes that could result in jail time.
What If The Bite Occurred In A Fight?
We can’t give you legal advice.
However, folks in this country are allowed to defend themselves.
The principles of self-defense are complex, and are extremely jurisdiction and fact specific.
If you were charged with assault after you bit someone while trying to defend yourself, the best thing you could do is contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer to assist you.
My Personal Attorney Experience With A Biter
Several years ago, my office represented an individual who was arrested after biting their spouse.
The defendant had been drinking, and was trying to get intimate with the spouse.
The victim spouse was sober, and wanted to be left alone.
The defendant spouse wasn’t listening, and was continuing to make advances.
The victim spouse told the defendant spouse that if the conduct didn’t stop, the victim spouse would call police.
The defendant spouse bit the victim spouse on the thumb.
The cops were called.
The defendant spouse was arrested, and charged with assault.
The assault charge was enhanced by the domestic violence element.
A restraining order was put into place by the court, against the wishes of both the victim spouse and the defendant spouse.
In the end, the defendant spouse was convicted of misdemeanor assault, went to alcohol rehab, and to talk therapy.
There was short jail sentence attached, less than 10 days jail.
The restraining order between the married couple was eventually lifted after therapy was completed, and then went back to their previous life.
So yes, based upon my personal observations and experiences, you can go to jail for biting someone. I’ve been in the front row seat on a case where it happened.
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