Bar Fights and Criminal Charges: What You Need to Know
Bar fights are not that uncommon. Bars usually contain a strong mix of alcohol and testosterone, particularly if an exciting game is on TV. However, sometimes these bar fights are more violent than people expect or someone sustains an injury on accident, perhaps by slipping on a patch of spilled beer. If you were involved in a bar fight, you might be charged with a number of different crimes.
Disorderly conduct is otherwise known as “breach of the peace.” It was a law designed to regulate conduct in public places. If you took your bar fight outside the bar, for example, and all participants in the fight were in public view, you could be charged with disorderly conduct for publicly fighting or brawling. If no one was hurt during the proceedings, you would still be charged with a 2nd-degree misdemeanor. Likewise, if your conduct qualifies as a “riot,” it could lead to a felony prosecution, which will lead to years in prison and potentially a hefty fine.
Disorderly intoxication includes being drunk and endangering the safety of another person or property. If you were involved in a bar fight and no one was hurt, you could still be charged with disorderly intoxication by endangering a person or the property of the bar owner.
Assault and Battery
Assault refers to a threat of harm that leads to a victim’s fear of imminent harm. If you were the one who began the fight, and the person you fought with felt like he or she was inevitably going to be harmed, they could charge you with assault. Likewise, if you made physical contact with a combatant, Florida will allow the prosecution to charge you with battery. All that needs to be proven is physical contact was used against the person’s will and without the person’s consent.
If you intentionally struck a person, and the fight led to great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement, you would be charged with felony battery. Unlike the charge of aggravated battery, you may not have intended to cause permanent harm to a person, but you did.
Aggravated battery means you or your opponent intended to cause serious bodily injury in the fight. If one of you used a deadly weapon in the scuffle, such as a bottle or knife, you could be charged with aggravated battery, which would lead to a more severe sentence.
If you actually killed the person you were fighting with, you could be charged with a type of homicide—voluntary manslaughter. This accusation describes a homicide intentionally committed while in the middle of a provocation. Usually, this charge involves temporary anger, the heat of passion, or an emotion that immediately results in an intent to kill or intent to commit an act leading to a person’s death.
Involuntary manslaughter can happen in a bar fight if one person accidentally kills the other during the struggle. In order to be charged with this, the prosecution must prove the death resulted from recklessness, criminal negligence, or in the commission of a misdemeanor or low-level felony. For example, if you pushed the combatant away from you and he fell over a stool and hit his head, killing him, this would be considered a case of involuntary manslaughter.
If you were involved in a bar fight and you’re being charged with a crime, make sure to give yourself the best chance of earning your freedom. Talk to one of our skilled Florida criminal defense attorneys today. Musca Law has more than 150 years of combined legal experience to offer your case. Our experienced lawyers can provide you with an aggressive criminal defense that includes attention to detail focusing on the strengths of your case and exploiting the weakness of the prosecution’s case. Our firm can also provide you with a high level of personal service that includes keeping you updated on the status of your case.
Contact us at (888) 497-0216 or fill out our online form to discuss your situation in a free case consultation.