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22Mar

Been in a Bar Brawl in Louisiana? What You Should Know About Bar Fights & the Law

One minute, you’re enjoying an ice cold beer or perhaps your favorite whiskey while shooting some pool or just shooting the you-know-what with your friends. All of a sudden, some joker insults your manhood, makes a pass at your girlfriend, or otherwise crosses a line.

The next thing you know, you’re both out in the parking lot. The punches are flying, the blood is dripping, and — oh, crap! — the sirens are wailing. Thanks to all that Jack Daniel’s, your understanding of how you got into this mess is a little fuzzy.

One thing you do know for sure? You’re smack dab in the middle of a bar brawl and police are on their way.

While this certainly isn’t a situation that you want to find yourself in, it’s also not the end of the world. Read on to learn what charges you could face and what steps to take if you have been in a bar fight.

First, What Charges Could Result from a Bar Brawl in Louisiana?

You’ve no doubt heard the phrase “assault and battery” bandied about on true-crime documentaries or police procedural TV shows, but are those two crimes, or just one? And what other charges might be brought against you after you’ve been involved in a bar brawl?

Assault in Louisiana

Assault and battery are often linked, at least in the popular imagination, but they are in fact two different crimes. Assault is an attempt to harm another person. For example, if you take a swing at someone but miss, you could be charged with assault.

Any intentional act or threat that causes someone else to feel afraid of violence can also be considered assault.

Battery in Louisiana

Battery occurs when the assault is successful. So it can be defined as the intentional infliction of force or violence, whether or not there is a weapon involved. Punching, kicking, or hitting someone with an object could result in a battery charge.

Aggravated, Misdemeanor, and Felony Forms

Both assault and battery can be considered “aggravated” if they involve a dangerous weapon. And there are misdemeanor and felony forms of assault, as well as different degrees of each charge.

What charges are brought against someone involved in crimes of battery or assault will depend on a variety of factors: the methods and weapons used, the intention behind the act, who the victim is, and what the offender’s record is. Any other crimes committed at the same time will also count against the offender.

Penalties for Simple Assault or Simple Battery

In Louisiana, a conviction of simple assault (the lowest possible charge) means that you could face one or more of the following penalties:

  • Up to 90 days in jail
  • A fine of up to $200
  • Probation for up to two years
  • Being ordered to pay restitution to your victim

The possible penalties for simple battery include:

  • Up to six months of jail time
  • Up to $1000 fine
  • Probation for up to two years
  • Being ordered to pay restitution to your victim

These potential penalties become more severe if the victim is elderly, disabled, or a member of certain professions. Naturally, the penalties also get more serious for aggravated assault or aggravated battery, as well as for felony charges of either crime.

Other Possible Charges Resulting from Bar Brawls

In addition to assault and battery charges, you could also face charges of disorderly conduct (sometimes known as disturbing the peace) or public intoxication.

If you should make the mistake of hopping in your car and driving home after a bar brawl, you might run the risk of an arrest for DWI.

Another mistake that inebriated people sometimes make in the heat of the moment is arguing with the responding police officers or becoming combative as they attempt to restrain you. Such behavior can result in charges of resisting arrest.

As you can see, assault and battery are the two most likely charges in such a situation, but there are by no means the only ones you could catch. Naturally, any additional charges that you are found guilty of will increase the time you spend in jail or on probation and the fines or restitution that you will be ordered to pay.

What to Do If You Are Facing Charges

Contacting a criminal defense attorney is your first step after being bonded out of jail for bar brawl related charges. Having a lawyer on your side gives you the best possible chances of beating these charges.

Depending on the circumstances of your bar fight, there might be mitigating factors that could influence the judge to go easy on you, even if you are convicted. An attorney will understand how best to plead your case, thereby increasing the chances you will receive only minimal penalties if you are found guilty.

After arraignment and bonding out, you will definitely want to keep your nose clean. Don’t drink to excess (or at all) in public, don’t contact the other parties involved in the bar brawl, and generally be an upstanding, law-abiding citizen. If you get into additional trouble while awaiting your court date, it’s only going to make matters worse.

Not Sure If You Need an Attorney?

If you are just facing a simple assault charge, you might be wondering if securing the services of a lawyer is worth it. After all, there’s no denying that you got into it with that jerk from the bar. So you might as well man up, take your lumps, and learn from this lesson.

Right?

Of course, we can’t tell you definitively one way or another. However, we can tell you that consulting with an attorney is confidential, complimentary, and comes with no strings attached — so you don’t have anything to lose from getting in touch.

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Louisiana DWI & Criminal Lawyers

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Louisiana criminal lawyers and DWI attorneys at the Barkemeyer Law Firm providing legal defense services for clients in Baton Rouge, Ascension, Livingston, Tangipahoa, Port Allen, Alexandria, New Orleans, Lafayette, Metairie, Kenner, Gretna, Hahnville, Chalmette, Slidell, St. Tammany, St. Charles, St. John, St. Bernard, Mandeville, Covington, Shreveport, Bossier, Jefferson, and all of Louisiana.

DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is not formal legal advice nor does it create an attorney-client relationship.

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