Bars are usually friendly, social gathering places, but with alcohol involved, these areas can quickly take a turn for the worst and end up as a fight club.
If you find yourself in a situation where you go from throwing back drinks to throwing punches at someone in a bar fight, you could be arrested for assault.
It’s good to be aware of the seriousness of these charges and find a qualified criminal defense lawyer in Chandler to defend your rights and answer the questions you need to know that will send you in the right direction for your future.
Is a Bar Fight Considered a Misdemeanor or Felony Assault?
Most times, a bar fight qualifies as a simple misdemeanor assault. This could be whether or not the victim suffered a physical injury; the other person can also just have a reasonable fear of suffering from bodily harm. The other person’s attorney may be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you intentionally caused an injury – from a verbal threat to a slight touch to provoke someone to an actual physical injury.
If you are charged with aggravated assault, this is a felony from a result of causing a serious physical injury or disfigurement to someone or using a deadly weapon, which could be a knife, a gun, or even a shard of broken glass. Simple assault may also be raised to aggravated assault if it was done against a police officer or other public servants.
Your range of punishment if convicted of aggravated assault is from five up to 25 years in prison, plus a $5,000 fine. Time in prison increases if you have had a prior conviction. Beyond the legal repercussions, an assault conviction can affect any future employment opportunities and your reputation socially.
What Kind of Defense Can be Used to Avoid an Assault Conviction?
There are ways that can be used to defend your actions in a bar fight, including self-defense. This defense is successful only if the defender’s actions are reasonably based on the circumstances surrounding the threat. Keep these situations in mind:
- Self-defense cannot be used as a defense if you hit someone after they said something you did not like.
- Self-defense does work if the other person threw the first punch or if you are defending a friend who feels threatened.
- Self-defense does not work if you are defending a friend who feels threatened by shooting at the other person. You can only use the same degree of force.
There are some instances when an assault charge can be negotiated down to disorderly conduct charges, which is the most serious kind of misdemeanor, but less than felony assault.
How to Defend a Felony Assault After a Bar Fight
If you were involved in a bar fight and are now faced with felony assault charges, it is always best to get legal representation from the Ciccarelli Law Offices to sort out all of the details of your defense after a thorough investigation. This is especially important if you are innocent and acted in self-defense.