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I got arrested for a bar fight I didn't start! What happens now?

Any time you put a lot of people in a relatively small space and add alcohol, the potential for chaos exists. You never know how the person drinking next to you handles drinking too much. One innocent move or word could cause the other person to react violently.

If this happened to you, and a fight broke out, you could find yourself under arrest once police arrive. In these situations, many officers decide to arrest everyone and sort it out later. If you end up facing charges for assault and battery, don't panic. You may have options for your defense.

The circumstances make a difference

If you didn't start the fight, you may have acted for one of the following reasons:

  • If you were defending yourself, you could claim self-defense. In order to prevail with this defense, you typically must show the court that you believed that the threats made against you by the other person could result in harm to you. You generally must also show that you didn't provoke the other party and that, when the altercation started, you had nowhere to go, so you defended yourself. Even so, you could still face conviction if you used more force than necessary to fend off the attack.
  • Perhaps you weren't the intended victim. Maybe one of your friends became the target, and you stepped in to help because you felt that your friend could suffer harm. In order for this defense to work in your favor, you must also meet all of the other criteria for defending yourself.

Where some people get into trouble is when it comes to the amount of force used to repel an attacker. If you were in a fistfight, having brandished any type of weapon could lead to you facing charges.

The right help makes a difference

If you face charges for assault and/or battery in connection with a bar fight you didn't start, you may not want to go it alone in court. You could face serious penalties, but more than that, your life could change significantly. A criminal record can prevent you from obtaining your dream job or achieving your education goals. If you take action to build a defense to the charges as soon as possible, you might increase the probability that you could achieve the best results possible to get your life back on track.

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