Some types of bars are safe places to take children, such as a young daughter, but even these dining options can be problematic in specific circumstances. For example, you recently took your daughter to a family bar but got into a fight after a drunk person came on to her or threatened her. Will you go to jail for your actions?
Bar Fights are a Type of Assault
Whenever a bar fight breaks out, there is a good chance that one or more people are going to get hurt. For example, starting a fight against a person trying to touch or grab your daughter will, minimally, hurt the person that you attack. However, you may also get hurt in this fight along with any others who get dragged into it as the fight progresses.
And any time a person decides to attack another person, there is a good chance that assault charges could be brought up. The resulting fight is probably going to be termed simple assault, which occurs when a person is injured but not in a severe or dangerous way. Typically, this crime is a misdemeanor in most states. However, it may be upgraded to a felony in specific circumstances.
Punishments Can Be Minor to Severe
If you've never been involved in a violent case in your life, there's a good chance that your crime will be considered a misdemeanor. This fact is particularly true if the injuries you caused weren't that serious. For example, you may simply have pushed the person away from your daughter and caused them to fall to the ground.
Typically, this type of assault is considered pretty basic and, if a case is even pursued, you'll likely get probation of a year or so and a fine if found guilty. This should allow you to spend time with your daughter without a problem. However, if you hurt the person more seriously – such as cutting them with a broken beer bottle – you may be charged with a felony. Thankfully, you can use your defense of your daughter as a mitigating factor in these cases.
Defenses Center Around Intent
While you may have injured the person you attacked in a bar fight without taking being hurt yourself, there is a good chance you can successfully defend yourself in this type of case. Self-defense or family-defense defenses requires successfully proving that the person you injured was a reasonable threat to your daughter or yourself.
However, there are very specific circumstances in which the court accepts this defense. Somebody simply winking at your daughter or making lewd comments is not a reasonable threat. They need to have done something dangerous, such as grabbing her arm too hard or trying to pull her away from you for this defense to work.
The legal difficulties of this type of case require the skilled assistance of a high-quality criminal defense attorney to manage. Make sure that you research what type of cases your lawyer has taken to find one who can meet your specific legal needs.