You’re young and opinionated, and you’re having drinks out with friends. Something you say catches the attention of a man further down the bar. Now, he wants to start yelling at you about how wrong you are and how he’d like to punch you. Not long after that, you’re in a full-blown bar fight.

Yes, alcohol has likely played a factor here, and neither of you were thinking clearly, but the law still applies. While some bars have their own security that may just throw you out, others may call the police. Now, you could be in trouble with the law.

It’s a misdemeanor charge in most cases

If you get into a fight at a bar, it’s likely that you could be charged with assault. There are other, more serious charges that you could face if you were particularly violent or had a weapon, but for the average fist-to-fist bar fight, you’re looking at a misdemeanor assault charge when police arrive.

Both parties can be charged with assault

In a situation where police can’t tell who started the fight or there are multiple accounts stating different facts, you and the other party involved can both be arrested and charged with assault. You may not think that’s fair if you were not the one to throw the first blow, which is why it’s highly important to speak with your attorney before you say anything to police.

You can still defend yourself

When you talk to your attorney, he or she will discuss how you can defend yourself. One possible defense is that you were only fighting back out of self-defense. When you use this claim, you should be able to show that you used only necessary force to keep the other person away from you or others in your party. Typically, self-defense must be used as a last resort. If the bar has a camera, you may be able to use the security feed to show that you did, indeed, try to walk away.

These are just a few things to know about bar fights. If you get arrested for being involved, you do have the right to speak with your attorney.

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