(NEXSTAR) – Most people know assault is a serious crime in West Virginia, but what they might not know is whether spitting on someone is considered assault.

West Virginia law states an assault is “unlawfully attempting to commit a violent injury” to someone. Assault is also defined as unlawfully doing something that puts another person in a position to be violently injured.

By that definition, spitting would not necessarily count as assault in the state. But would spitting on someone be considered battery?

Looking at the law again, a battery in West Virginia is defined as unlawfully and intentionally making physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature toward someone, or causing physical harm to a person.

Spitting on someone would count as making physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature, so the act would qualify as a battery in West Virginia.

Additionally, the act is a misdemeanor and those convicted of battery can face a fine of up to $500, up to 12 months in jail, or both. 

People who are spit on by someone else can take legal action.