Can I Face Criminal Charges for a Bar Fight?
You visit a bar after work to have a few beers and perhaps watch a sports game. A guy next to you is being loud and annoying, so you tell him to shut up. The guy yells at you and pushes you. You get agitated and punch him in the face. A fight ensues and the two of you exchange punches.
If you’re lucky, you two will calm down after a minute and forget it ever happened. However, if things get out of hand and the police are called, then you could both get arrested and face criminal charges, such as assault.
Alcohol and drugs often cause people to do stupid things, but assault charges are no laughing matter. A bar fight, without any weapons involved, can result in second-degree charges, which are punishable by 10 years in prison and a $5,000 fine. If you use a gun, knife or other weapon, then you’re looking at first-degree assault, which can result in up to 25 years in prison.
Even making a verbal threat can land you in legal hot water. Therefore, before you get into an alcohol-fueled rage at your local bar, you want to think about your future. An assault can affect your employment opportunities as well as your social life.
How to Avoid Bar Fights
To avoid getting into a bar fight—and getting a felony on your criminal record—follow these tips:
- Don’t reciprocate. If someone insults you, don’t insult them back. If they stare at you, avoid eye contact. If they push you, don’t get the urge to push them back.
- Take a deep breath. This will help calm you down so you don’t get too much adrenaline going and do something you’ll regret.
- Tell the other person you don’t want to fight. The other person may continue to egg you on because they think you want to start trouble. By letting them know early on, they can quit the insults and hopefully leave you alone.
- Stay calm. Don’t be aggressive. Avoid insults and name-calling. The aggressor will likely leave you alone once they find out you’re not interested in fighting.
- Be the bigger person. If the aggressor is still bothering you, apologize. Let them know you’re sorry for whatever you did, but you have no interest in fighting with them.
- Introduce yourself. If anything, you can try to be the person’s friend. Tell them your name, offer a handshake and maybe even offer them a beer. Who knows, you might even make a friend after this whole fiasco.
Contact a Maryland Criminal Defense Lawyer Today
You may be surprised that something seemingly minor such as punching someone at a bar can lead to serious criminal charges. However, the law is strict when it comes to causing physical harm to another person, and even threatening to hurt someone can cause you to face assault charges.
Assault charges become part of your criminal history. If you were involved in a bar fight, let the Columbia assault lawyers at the Law Offices of Todd K. Mohink, P.A. help you with this legal matter. Our aggressive representation can help. Schedule a free consultation by calling (410) 774-5987 or filling out the online form.