How Bar Fights Bring Legal Trouble

Fights are not uncommon in places such as bars, restaurants, and nightclubs, often involving customers. Occasionally, employees such as bouncers or security guards may also find themselves in altercations with customers.

If you or someone you care about has been involved in such an incident and left the scene, it’s important to note that evidence like videos, credit card records, license plates, and witness statements can still lead to legal repercussions. Seeking advice and assistance from a criminal defense lawyer before speaking to authorities is a wise decision.

Defining a Bar Fight

A bar fight may break out with punches thrown, and other people might start getting involved. These fights often happen when people have been drinking alcohol or using other substances, and they can start because of disagreements, insults, or fights over space. Sometimes, the fight might even go outside, leading to injuries or damage to property. Bar fights can be really risky and cause serious harm to the body and death if escalated, so it’s better to avoid getting into a physical fight if you can.

Who Can Be Held Reliable for Bar Fights Commotion?

Determining who’s responsible in court for a bar fight can be tricky and depends on what happened during the fight and the actions of those involved.

Usually, responsibility can fall on a few different parties:

  • Those who started the fight
  • The place where the fight happened
  • Bouncers or security staff
  • Other people involved in the fight

What Constitutes Assault?

As per Texas law, assault includes three types of actions:

  1. Causing physical harm on purpose, with knowledge, or recklessly.
  2. Threatening someone with immediate physical harm on purpose.
  3. Making offensive or provocative physical contact with someone on purpose.

Threatening harm can lead to assault charges, even without physical contact. With a witness, you might get arrested on the spot; without one, you could receive a court citation or face a warrant for arrest.

Assault’s Severity

Typically, after a fight at a local bar, there are specific charges someone might face.

Simple Assault Misdemeanor

In bar fights, you can be charged with simple assault for causing harm or threatening someone intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly. The seriousness of the charge depends on factors like the extent of the injuries and who was involved.

Simple Assault Felony

Assaulting a public servant, even during a bar fight, is a serious charge that stays on your record. It can affect job applications and banking, leading to hefty fines and potential long-term imprisonment.

Aggravated Assault

Assault in Texas is considered aggravated when there’s imminent bodily injury or if a weapon is used during the attack. The starting classification for an aggravated assault charge is a second-degree felony.

Bar Brawl Penalties

Threatening harm or offensive contact is a Class C misdemeanor. Causing harm alone is a Class A misdemeanor.

Harming, threatening, or having unwanted contact with a government official is a 3rd degree felony (up to 10 years of jail time). Doing the same to a family member is a 2nd-degree felony (up to 20 years of jail time or life with prior offenses). Aggravated assault on certain professionals, like police officers, is a 1st degree felony, possibly resulting in life imprisonment.

Expect civil lawsuits for damages if someone claims you hurt them, covering things like medical bills and lost wages. The bar owner might also sue you for property damage. If a guilty verdict is reached in the criminal case, prevailing against financial claims becomes challenging.

Other Charges That Come with Bar Fight

Disorderly Conduct: Engaging in fighting or violent behavior in public places, such as bars, can result in disorderly conduct charges.

Public Intoxication: If individuals involved in a bar fight are intoxicated, they may face charges of public intoxication, especially if their behavior disrupts public peace.

Weapons Offenses: The use of weapons during a bar fight can result in additional charges, such as carrying a concealed weapon or unlawful possession of a weapon.

Criminal Mischief: Damaging property during a bar fight may lead to criminal mischief charges, depending on the extent of the damage.

Disruption of Licensed Premises: Engaging in violent behavior that disrupts the normal operation of a licensed premises (such as a bar) can lead to charges related to the disruption of licensed premises.

Arrested? Don’t Plea, Call Me!

Even if you’re not entirely to blame for a bar fight, relying on affirmative defenses like self-defense doesn’t guarantee avoiding arrest. To increase your chances of avoiding an assault charge, hiring a lawyer is crucial.

Get an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side for the best legal defense. Their expertise could mean the difference between jail time and a small fine, depending on your case. If you’re facing criminal and civil charges after a bar fight in Texas, contact Texas Criminal Defense for a case evaluation to sort out your legal defense.