Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
In Utah, vomiting on a police officer could be a felony
First Published Feb 06 2013 03:58 pm • Last Updated Feb 07 2013 09:19 am

It may soon be a felony for a detained or incarcerated person to vomit on a law enforcement officer.

The Senate Judiciary, Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Standing Committee approved SB97 Wednesday, which places vomit on the list of substances that are a third-degree felony to "propel" at a law officers’ face.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

The list already includes saliva, blood, urine and fecal material. The proposed bill, sponsored by Sen. Jerry Stevenson, R-Layton, also adds infectious agents or materials tainted with infectious agents to the list.

The committee also passed a separate proposed bill, SB98, which makes it a class B misdemeanor to intentionally throw or propel those bodily substances, including saliva, at a person who is not a law officer. It would be a class A misdemeanor if the thrower knows he or she is infected with HIV, hepatitis B or hepatitis C and the substance contacts face or an open wound.

"Part of what is going on here is people coming up with new and improved ways of going after officers as they are being arrested or while incarcerated," Stevenson said.

Steven L. Garside, assistant Layton City attorney, said prosecution and law enforcement groups asked Stevenson to carry the bill, which amends an existing law.

He said spitting was the most common occurrence, usually happening in a menacing situation that falls short of assault or threatening physical harm.

Steve Gehrke, spokesman for the Utah Department of Corrections, said inmates in the prison’s maximum security and mental health units have been known to throw concoctions of bodily fluids at officers, something that happens about eight times a year.

Sen. Daniel W. Thatcher, R-West Valley City, voted against SB98, saying it was "terrible" that spitting on someone could land a person in jail for six months, although that already is covered under assault provisions in Utah’s code.


story continues below
story continues below

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment

About Reader Comments

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.