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Can I really get in trouble for a bar fight?

On Behalf of | May 29, 2023 | Criminal Defense

A night out at the bars with your friends or significant other can be a huge stress reliever – unless something goes awry and you end up in an altercation with another patron. While it’s not something you can anticipate, it is something that can easily happen whenever alcohol is around.

In Missouri, a bar fight can lead to various charges depending on the circumstances and severity of an altercation.

You may be charged with disorderly conduct

Disorderly conduct is a term for a broad category of offenses, but it can include disturbing the peace through threats, offensive language and fighting. It’s a mistake, however, to think of this as a “minor” issue. Depending on how you are charged, you could be faced with a Class C or Class B misdemeanor, which could lead to imprisonment between 15 days and six months, and a fine that ranges from $750 to $1,000.

You may be charged with some form of assault

If the situation escalates past simple threats and shouting and you actually lay hands on someone, you could easily be charged with some form of assault. Missouri law breaks assault charges out based on the specifics of the situation, including who was involved, what sort of injuries were involved and whether there were weapons involved.

At best, an assault charge means you are probably looking at a Class A misdemeanor, which carries a potential sentence of up to a year in jail and a $2,000 fine. At worst, if the prosecutor believes you knowingly tried to seriously injure or kill another patron at the bar, you may be looking at a Class B felony, which can lead to a prison term between five and 15 years.

Bar fights are a very big deal in this state, and they can lead to monumental legal problems. It’s always wisest to proceed by seeking legal guidance regarding the potential charges and penalties you face and the potential defenses available to you.