Myles Thomas, 21, had been feeling under the weather when he was walking with friends in Dinkytown Monday to pick up some pizzas.
To clear his throat, Thomas said he spit on the ground as a Minneapolis police squad passed by. The vehicle made a U-turn and an officer approached Thomas, informing him that spitting on a public sidewalk is illegal.
As Thomas explained that he was unaware of the law, he says he "habitually" spit again, according to his account of the incident on his Facebook page.
Thomas said he was searched and put in the back of the squad where the officers issued him a citation, which carries a $115 fine.
"I do not understand how students can be harmed and these recent cases go unsolved but I am cited for simply spitting on the sidewalk," Thomas said.
KARE 11 reports St. Paul has a similar ordinance, which states those caught spitting on the floor or furnishing of a boat, canoe, building or walkway will also face a $115 fine.
In London, authorities impose an £80, about $130, on-the-spot fine for spitting in public as part of a policy implemented earlier this year to eradicate the "disgusting" habit, according to leaders of a London borough.
"The purpose of the anti-spitting ordinance is two-fold: first to abate a nuisance. Second, to prevent disease," a 1910 New York Times article said.
More than a century later, laws against spitting still exist.
Thomas told the television station that he intends to pay the fine and will have to come up with a better solution next time.
"For spitting I guess I'll just have to bring a bag or something and spit in a bag," Thomas told KARE 11.