Law enforcement sources tell TMZ ... Sheriff's investigators will refer the case to the L.A. County District Attorney for review after the investigation is completed, and the Dept. will recommend that criminal battery charges be filed against the singer.
Officially, the Sheriff's Dept. will say they have no recommendation yet because the investigation is not complete. However, our sources say a clear picture has already emerged, and not just over the alleged spitting incident.
Law enforcement sources say it's a cookie-cutter situation they've seen before -- small crimes that escalate over time to serious criminal conduct.
Now the lil twist ... whether Justin is prosecuted or not, people in the Sheriff's Dept. believe he needs professional help to manage his anger and behavior. And they say, it has nothing to do with the fact that he's famous -- anyone going down a "dangerous path" needs serious professional help.