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What Charges Could You Face in a Bar Fight?

July 31, 2017

A bar fight could lead to multiple criminal charges.

What Charges Could You Face in a Bar Fight?Bar fights may seem harmless enough….you’ve had too much to drink, and someone gets in your face.  You’re blowing off steam after a long week, when wham! Things explode.  Perhaps it will end there, with a few hits being thrown and everyone going home.  But if you are unlucky — or if things get out of hand — the police may be called, and you may be in a world of trouble

The reality is that bar fights are not so harmless.  Even if they do not result in someone being seriously injured, fist fights are against the law in any number of ways.  As a skilled Orange County criminal defense attorney can tell you, even if you walked away from the fight friends with the other participant, you could still be facing a wide range of criminal charges.

First, you may be charged with disturbing the peace.  This charge is a misdemeanor offense, with a potential punishment of 90 days in county jail and/or a fine of $400.  It could result from challenging someone to fight, participating in a public fight, or using language to provoke a fight.  For example, if you call someone derogatory names that you know are likely to cause that person to want to fight you, that may qualify as disturbing the peace.

Second, you could be charged with assault.  This charge is usually a misdemeanor, unless certain factors exist, like the use of a deadly weapon.  It will usually result in a fine of up to $1,000 and up to six months in county jail.  Assault is attempting violence and causing fear of bodily harm in another person, and is a separate charge from causing actual physical harm in another person.

Third, you could be charged with battery.  This is a separate charge from assault, and involves the actual use of force.  If there was no physical harm or injury, then it will typically be charged as a misdemeanor offense with a maximum of six months in county jail and/or a fine of up to $2,000.  If serious physical harm was caused, then a felony charge may result.

Of course, there are potential defenses to charges from a bar fight — but intoxication is not one of them.  If you voluntarily chose to get drunk, your Orange County criminal defense attorney cannot use that as a defense in your case.  However, if you were acting in self-defense or defense of another person, that may be a defense to the charges against you.

At the Chambers Law Firm, our Orange County criminal defense attorneys have experience in defending clients charged with assault, battery and all other types of crimes stemming from bar fights and other situations.  Contact us today at 855-397-0210 or dchambers@clfca.com to schedule a free initial consultation and learn more about how we can help you.

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