What Kinds Of Defenses Can Be Raised If You're Charged With Assault After A Bar Fight?

When you're trying to enjoy a night out with your friends, the last thing you expect is to end up in a bar fight—but it definitely happens. You can wind up in handcuffs very quickly after a brawl gets started, particularly if the authorities simply want to shut everything down. They may not particularly care about the circumstances you were in.

Your criminal defense attorney, however, does care. They want to know exactly what happened since the details of your situation often help inform your defense. Here are some of the possible defenses that can be raised after a bar fight:

Self-Defense and the Defense of Others

If you were acting in self-defense or defending someone else, then your actions may have been entirely justified and legal. Self-defense means that you used reasonable force to defend yourself against someone else's violent or aggressive behavior. If the other party threw the first blow, this may be a very viable path to take, especially if security cameras or witnesses back up your story.

Lack of Intent

It isn't "assault" if you didn't have any intention to cause any harm or you weren't recklessly disregarding the potential for such harm. For example, if you accidentally bumped into someone while you were trying to get out of the range of the bar fight once it started and they fell and were injured, you can point to your lack of intent as an affirmative defense.

Mutual Combat

Mutual combat refers to a situation where both parties consented to fight. For example, if you and another patron in the bar exchanged words and you mutually agreed to "take it outside" where the punches started flying, it may be difficult for the prosecution to pursue a case against either party.

Lack of Evidence

Finally, the prosecutor needs evidence to win a case, and they may not have what it takes. Bar fights get messy, witnesses are often intoxicated or confused, and security cameras don't capture everything. If the prosecution cannot prove that you were the aggressor in a fight—or that you were even involved in what happened—you stand a reasonable shot at getting your charges dismissed.

When you are facing an assault charge after a bar fight, work with an experienced criminal defense lawyer who can evaluate your case and determine the best defense strategy for your situation. That can help you achieve the best possible outcome in your case.

For more information, contact a criminal defense lawyer near you.