It happens all the time. One minute, you’re having a quiet drink at your favorite watering hole. The next, you’re throwing or dodging blows. When you’re in the heat of the moment, you’re probably not thinking of how a bar fight can lead to multiple criminal charges, from disorderly conduct to assault and battery, or even assault with a deadly weapon.
A conviction on any of those charges can have devastating consequences, including jail time, loss of a job or a professional license, or denial of child custody or visitation rights. To avoid making a bad situation worse, you’ll need a strong defense. Let’s take a look at three of the most common, viable defenses for bar fights in Indiana.
Self-Defense. Everyone has the right to self-defense. Under Indiana’s Stand Your Ground law, a person may use reasonable force to defend themselves or a third person from what the person reasonably believes to be the imminent use of unlawful force. If you can prove that you used force only to protect yourself or another person from potentially severe harm, you may succeed in overturning the charges.
Defending your property. The Stand Your Ground law extends to protecting personal property. For example, if someone was in the act of stealing your cell phone and you grabbed the person to retrieve your telephone, and a fight ensued, you may have a strong defense that you were standing your ground in defense of your property.
Lack of evidence. The prosecution must prove every element of their charge against you. If you are accused of battery, for example, it must prove that you “knowingly or intentionally touche[d] another person in a rude, insolent, or angry manner.” If there’s no evidence that you knowingly or purposefully acted in this way (perhaps you accidentally struck a person as you were gesturing), then the case against cannot be sustained.
Note that intoxication is almost never a viable defense. If you have been arrested for participating in a bar fight, be sure to find an experienced Indiana criminal defense lawyer who will examine every angle of the evidence to present the best case for you and achieve the best possible outcome.