Bar Fights Can Lead to Assault and Battery Charges
During the cold winter months, many Illinois residents find warmth and relaxation by visiting local bars, taverns, and pubs. While most people do not ever plan on getting into a bar fight, it can be a fairly common occurrence in some establishments. Often, those involved in the fight did not start it or intend for anyone to be hurt. However, this does not mean that those individuals cannot be charged with a crime. Assault and battery charges can be brought against anyone involved in a bar fight and with them can come serious punitive consequences. If you have been charged with assault and/or battery, there are a few things you should know.
Illinois Assault and Battery Law
There exists some confusion about the difference between assault and battery. In Illinois, assault occurs when someone threatens harm to another person and battery occurs when contact is made or harm is actually inflicted. You do not have to touch someone else in order to be charged with assault. It refers to instances when a person feels that their safety is being threatened or that they are at reasonable risk of injury. Assault is often paired with battery, which requires actual contact with intent to harm or contact of an insulting or provoking nature. Although the two usually co-occur, battery can be committed without assault and vice versa.
Bars and Booze Are the Perfect Recipe for Violence
Anyone who has been to a bar knows that they can sometimes get wild and crazy. Especially at night, bars are flooded with people who have been drinking and therefore have lower inhibitions. A person who would never strike someone else intentionally may find themselves doing just that after a night of over consumption of alcohol.
Crowded bars may also increase the chances of patrons getting into a physical altercation. Sometimes, something as simple as bumping into a person or spilling a drink on accident are enough to start an all-out brawl. If you ever find yourself in a situation such as this, it can be very tempting to want to participate. However, doing so may cost you significantly. There are strict penalties for those charged with assault and battery. Assault is a Class C misdemeanor which can result in up to 30 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,500. Battery is a Class A misdemeanor, but aggravated battery, or assault with a firearm or deadly weapon, is a Class 3 felony. If you are found guilty of aggravated assault, you may face a sentence of one to three years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000. The punitive consequences for a defendant convicted of assault or battery usually also depend on the severity of the crime and the defendant’s past criminal history.
Contact an Aggressive Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you have been charged with assault and/or battery, your personal freedom could be on the line. You need a Joliet assault and battery attorney who will aggressively defend your rights and allow you to tell your side of the story. For a free confidential consultation regarding your case, call (815) 740-4025 today.