Yes, you can go to jail for throwing water on someone if the throwing meets the intent requirement of the statute.
In the article that follows, we’ll explain.
Can You Go To Jail For Throwing Water On Someone? (Discussion)
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Crime of Throwing Water On Someone
In most states, there’s no specific crime for throwing water at or on someone, just like there isn’t a specific crime for poking, punching, elbowing, or kneeing someone.
Instead, the crime is defined by the intent of the offender (careless, reckless, negligent, or intentional), whether the offender touched the victim, and what resulted from the touching.
The result could be:
- the victim was offended
- the victim was placed in fear of imminent bodily injury
- the victim was caused pain
- the victim was caused minor injury
- the victim was caused serious physical injury
In combination with the intent requirements, the crimes can be a misdemeanor (less serious) to a felony (much more serious).
Throwing water on someone is considered a “harmful or offensive touching,” which is a crime.
In some states, the crime might be called: physical harassment, assault, or battery.
Defendants who are stuck in jail waiting for their court hearing or trial find out that throwing water is a crime the hard way.
It is common for defendants who are new to the system to throw water or food at deputies or even jail staff.
Jail deputies go to their supervisor or even straight to the prosecutor with the report of the offensive touching, which often results in additional charges against the defendant.
These charges can rack up quickly, especially if the defendant ‘assaults’ multiple staff members all at once.
Additional criminal charges can give the prosecution leverage during negotiations and an avenue to obtaining additional convictions which could ramp up the amount of jail time the defendant ultimately serves.
But let’s say the water spill on the victim was not careless, reckless, or intentional.
If there was no intent to throw water on someone else, then the water incident is not a violation of the criminal statutes.
Additional Crimes For Water Throwing
Throwing water on someone could also damage the property of the intended recipient of the water, as well as anyone else who was nearby.
The water could also cause damage to property in the vicinity.
For example, throwing water on someone wearing a nice suit could cause irreparable damage in the hundreds of dollars.
The water could damage electronics (cell phone, laptop, tablet, etc).
The water could also damage furniture or decorations.
Damaging the property belonging to another is also a crime, and the seriousness of the crime is determined by the value of the damage.
Minimal property damage is usually a misdemeanor, and serious property damage can rise to the level of a felony.
In your state, this crime might be called “criminal mischief.”
Throwing water could also result in charges for disorderly conduct, and harassment.
Will You Go To Jail For Throwing Water On Someone?
In most states, throwing water on someone would at least rise to the level of a misdemeanor physical harassment or simple assault, and jail time is an available punishment for these crimes.
That being said, the determination to sentence someone to jail for a crime is generally in the hands of the judge, who looks at the crime, the facts of the case, the statement of the victim, the criminal history of the defendant, and the harm done (among other things).
Jail may or may not result in any given case.
Did You Throw Water On Someone?
Given the amount of violent crime happening across the United States, it is rare for the police or a prosecutor to pursue assault charges for a single water throwing incident, unless the offender is already in custody.
That being said, criminal prosecution for throwing water on someone is possible.
If you have been charged with assault for throwing water on someone, or you think you will be, it is best to confer with an experienced criminal defense attorney in the jurisdiction where the incident took place.
The attorney can help guide you through all of the “what might happens” and answer all of your questions about what you should do and not do.
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