Possible Consequences of a Bar Fight
When people are out drinking at bars, conflict and confrontations may happen. Alcohol can cause people to let their guards down, overreact to others, and possibly make ill-advised decisions— all of which can result in a classic bar fight scenario.
While we have all seen bar fights in movies and on television, in reality, these encounters can cause severe injuries. While you may not take a bar fight seriously, law enforcement officers probably will. If you are suspected of participating in any type of bar fight, you could find yourself under arrest and facing charges of assault and battery.
South Carolina law defines the follows degrees of assault and battery:
Assault and battery in the third degree - You can face charges of third-degree assault and battery if you allegedly caused someone fear of injury, attempted to injure someone, or caused a slight injury (even a minor cut) to someone else. This is a misdemeanor charge and can possibly result in 30 days in jail.
Assault and battery in the second degree - Second-degree assault and battery involves causing moderate injuries to someone or even issuing threats to cause moderate injuries. A conviction for this charge can mean as many as three years behind bars.
Assault and battery in the first degree - You may face first-degree charges if the prosecutor alleges that you had the intention to cause great bodily injury (even if that level of injury did not occur). This charge can also apply when assault and battery takes place as part of another crime, such as a robbery, kidnapping, or burglary. This is a felony charge that can bring a sentence of as long as ten years in prison.
Assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature - Assault is considered “high or aggravated [in] nature” if it resulted in great bodily injury. Such injuries can include the loss of a body part or a life-threatening injury. This is a felony charge, and a conviction can mean as many as 20 years in prison.
As you can see, assault and battery charges are serious. Often, a bar fight starts off as simply exchanging words without the intention of anyone getting hurt. Before you know it, things escalate, someone may end up with severe injuries, and you could face serious criminal charges.
The most common defense against an assault allegation is that someone acted in self-defense. Proving self-defense, however, requires fulfilling specific, complicated requirements, and it generally requires the help of an experienced assault defense lawyer.
Contact a Columbia Criminal Defense Law Firm for Help Today
Never take assault charges lightly—even if they stemmed from an incident such as a bar fight. Your first call after an arrest should be to an assault defense attorney at the Law Offices of Lori S. Murray. We represent clients in and around Columbia, South Carolina, so please contact us online or call our office at (803) 779-4472 for more information.