Most bar fights start between two people over some real or perceived wrongdoing. When alcohol is involved in these arguments, they can quickly escalate and result in a chaotic nightmare. It’s easy to get caught up in the emotions of a tense altercation, but losing your temper can lead to serious criminal consequences.
Under South Carolina law, there are varying degrees of assault and battery charges that range from misdemeanors to felonies. A bar fight can lead to a variety of charges, including:
- Assault and Battery Third Degree. Sometimes called “simple assault and injury,” this misdemeanor offense can involve injury or the threat or attempt to injure with the ability to do so. The charge for this misdemeanor is a fine of up to $500, jail up to 30 days or both.
- Assault and Battery Second Degree. A misdemeanor offense of this type occurs when someone inflicts moderate bodily harm on another person or attempts to hurt another with the ability to do so. The penalty carries up to a $2,500 fine, prison up to three years or both.
- Assault and Battery First Degree. This felony crime results in great bodily harm or an injury that creates a grave risk of death. A conviction comes with up to ten years in prison.
Even if a bar fight does not result in someone being seriously injured, you may still find yourself charged with a crime. Being convicted of criminal assault – even if you were innocently drawn into a bar fight – can have lasting consequences.
If you’re facing assault charges stemming from a bar fight, it’s vital to seek qualified legal help.