Bar fights often start between two people over some perceived or real wrongdoing. When alcohol is involved in arguments, it can escalate quickly and become a nightmare. It’s quite easy to get caught up in the emotions of a tense argument, but losing your temper and being involved in a bar fight can result in serious criminal consequences.
If you’re charged with assault in a bar fight in South Carolina, it’s essential to seek qualified legal representation. At TF Law, our skilled Greenville, SC criminal defense lawyers can help you beat your assault and battery charges. To schedule a free and confidential consultation, contact our criminal defense law firm today at 864-618-2323.
Assault and Battery Laws In Greenville, South Carolina
Under South Carolina assault laws, there are varying levels of assault and battery which range from misdemeanor offenses to violent felony offenses. Again, the lowest level of assault and battery is the 3rd degree, which occurs when a person unlawfully injures another person or attempts to injure another individual with the present ability to do so. For example, throwing a drink-- just the liquid, not the glass at someone, this level of assault and battery falls in the third degree depending on details of the specific case.
A bar fight can result in a variety of criminal charges, including:
- 3rd-degree assault and battery 3rd degree. This level of assault is often called simple assault and physical injury. This misdemeanor offense can involve physical injury or the attempt or threat to injure with the ability to do so. The criminal charge for this misdemeanor is punishable with a monetary fine of up to $500, up to 30 days in jail, or both.
- Assault and battery 2nd degree. This form of misdemeanor offense occurs when a person inflicts moderate bodily harm on another individual or attempts to hurt another person with the ability to do so. The criminal penalty for this offense carries a maximum fine of $2,500, a jail sentence of up to three years, or both.
- Assault and battery 1st degree. This felony offense results in great physical harm or a bodily injury that causes a substantial risk of death. A criminal conviction can come with a prison sentence of ten years in prison.
Even though a bar fight doesn't result in someone being severely injured, you may still be charged with a crime. Being convicted of criminal assault – even though you were innocently drawn into the fight – can have life-changing consequences.
However, throwing an actual glass of wine at someone or hitting someone with the glass, this offense is categorized as assault and battery in the second-degree definition. It occurs when a person unlawfully injures another individual or attempts to injure another individual with the present ability to do so, resulting in moderate bodily harm. Also, you can be arrested by law enforcement officers for a bar fight where you hit another person with a glass cup and you might be charged with 1st degree assault and battery criminal charges, which are felony offenses.
The relevant definition of assault and battery first degree occurs when a person is attempting or offering to injure another individual with the present ability to do so, and the action is likely to produce death or substantial bodily injury. Finally, based on the severity of the physical injuries and the allegations of the bar fight, under South Carolina laws you might be charged with attempted murder and assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature (ABHAN). Attempted Murder and assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature are both considered violent felony offenses in South Carolina which carry very harsh penalties.
How Do Police Officers Determine Which Degree to Charge?
When the law enforcement officers are determining what degree of assault and battery a person should be charged with, they consider the following factors:
- The severity of physical injuries that the victim suffered, if any at all, including minor injuries, broken bones, brain injuries, temporary or permanent disfigurement, loss of consciousness, impairment of a bodily organ, stitches, and surgery. South Carolina law breaks down bodily injuries into two categories: great bodily injury and moderate bodily injury.
- The desire of the injured person to press charges
- Age of the assault victim
- Comparison in size, including the height and weight of the victim and the individual accused of assault and battery
- Whether a deadly weapon was used during the assault and battery
- Whether there was any alleged touching of the “private parts” of the victim
What Should I Do If I Was Involved In a Fight in a Bar in South Carolina?
After any physical altercation like a bar fight, it would be beneficial to consult a criminal defense attorney in case charges are brought against you. The sooner you take these actions, the better, but ensure you're in a condition to do so.
First, if you sustained injuries, you should seek the necessary medical treatment as soon as possible. Document all injuries you sustained by taking photographs and writing a detailed description of your injuries. Keep a record of all medical documents and expenses.
Second, notify the bar/establishment management about what transpired. They will be questioned by the authorities about the altercation. However, you should not answer any questions from law enforcement until you have spoken to a defense attorney.
Third, record the names and contact information of any witnesses who may have seen what happened during and before the bar fight. Also, it’s essential to contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer to learn about the legal options available to you.
Contact A Skilled Greenville Criminal Defense Lawyer Today for Legal Help!
The assault and battery laws in Greenville, South Carolina are quite complex, as you can see. What might seem like a minor altercation at a bar can turn into a nightmare in an instant, based on how quickly the situation escalates. At TF Law, our South Carolina criminal defense law firm has successfully defended many assault and battery cases ranging from minor assault cases to assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature to attempted murder. When your future is threatened, trust our legal team to help you get the best possible outcome for the charges you are facing. Call our law firm today for a no-cost initial consultation today at 864-618-2323.