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Will a drunken fistfight lead to assault charges?

| Jul 16, 2020 | Criminal Defense |

As someone who does a physical, difficult job every day, you likely look forward to your weekly night out with your buddies. Grabbing a drink and kicking back can help you blow off some steam and make it easier to deal with the stress and physical discomfort of a demanding job.

Unfortunately, the combination of a stressful job and alcohol while in a social environment might lead to your making some mistakes while out one night. You might get into an argument with someone who doesn’t agree with your politics or who has very different tastes regarding what professional athletes they support.

Could you wind up facing criminal charges just because you get into a fist fight while drinking at a sports bar with your friends? 

You could potentially face assault charges after a fistfight

Depending on the circumstances that lead to a physical altercation, the injuries that you or the other people suffer and other factors, such as whether or not someone calls the police, it could be possible for you to wind up facing charges.

If law enforcement officers become involved because the manager at the bar calls them or because they happen to pass by while you are trading blows in the parking lot, the likelihood of facing criminal charges increases. If the other party is very angry or is left with serious injuries, it may also increase the risk you face for charges.

Your intent will also matter. If you intended to cause them serious harm, not just exchange a few blows, you could face more serious charges and penalties, including felony assault charges. Although assault offenses are usually misdemeanor offenses, you could face increased penalties for aggravating factors such as causing severe injury to the other person or using a weapon.

How can you defend against assault charges?

There are many ways in which a person can defend against pending charges stemming from a fistfight. The first might include proving that you weren’t even present at the fight. You could also potentially claim that your actions were meant to defend yourself or others if the other party initiated physical contact. A variety of options are available depending on circumstances, which is why getting good advice early on is usually important for those facing assault charges.