It’s Friday night and you or a friend just got kicked out of a bar for fighting. What may seem like a bad night, however, is going to get worse as a police car pulls up and police start questioning you about the bar fight. Next thing you know, you’re handcuffed in the back of a squad car, wondering what will happen next.
While the above description may seem somewhat far-fetched or remote, the scene plays across Pennsylvania and the rest of the United States numerous times every week.
Here’s what you need to know if you’re involved in a bar fight:
You Can Be Charged with Significant Crimes.
Under Pennsylvania law, you can be charged with anything from a summary offense to a felony for your participation in a bar fight. The more severe the bar fight, the more likely you can be charged with a significant crime.
How Severe of a Fight Triggers a Felony?
The fight doesn’t have to be severe to cause damage. You can be charged with Aggravated Assault if the other person sustains a serious bodily injury. If you’re lucky, you may only be charged with misdemeanor Simple Assault. All it takes is you striking the other person.
The First Person to Call Police Sometimes Avoids Charges
As a general rule, if you are attacked, you should stop fighting, retreat to a safe location, and call the police. Police are more likely to believe the person calling the police, and therefore less likely to arrest that person.
There are situations were retreating to a safe location is not possible. The law recognizes this and provides for some defenses to a bar fight situation, including a “mutual combat” provision, where you can be found not guilty if you did not initiate the fight and cannot retreat.
The best advice, however, is that if you end up in an altercation at a bar, consult an attorney. In addition to any potential Criminal Charges, there may also be civil damages you need to know about.
The Law Offices of Greg Prosmushkin, P.C. has decades of experiences defending those who are accused of altercations. Call us today to schedule an appointment.