Drinking in bars has become a favorite pastime for many people, especially those looking to unwind after a long day at work. Unfortunately, there are instances when misunderstandings arise between friends or strangers, which can lead to physical altercations. And when a bar fight escalates, chances are that police will get involved. If they do, they may arrest and criminally charge individuals.
Charges against offenders
In Pennsylvania, anyone who gets involved in a bar fight may face any of the following charges:
- Disorderly conduct: This includes fighting, threatening and any other violent behavior causing a public inconvenience and harm. This charge is less serious than a misdemeanor or a felony in the state, but an offender can still face jail time and pay fines, the duration and amount of which depend on the degree of the offense.
- Simple assault and battery: One may find themselves with an assault charge if one threatens to or intentionally or recklessly causes harm to another person. It is good to note that an injury is not required to find one guilty of assault. This offense is a misdemeanor in Pennsylvania and penalties vary on the degree.
- Aggravated assault and battery: A person who attempts to or actually causes serious bodily injury to another or uses a deadly weapon to do so can face aggravated assault charges. Aggravated assault is a felony in the state, which means a convicted offender can face up to 20 years in prison.
One should note that Pennsylvania laws pair battery with assault since this offense involves threats of or actual physical contact that is nonconsensual, even if the contact is nonviolent.
Know one’s rights
Individuals who face assault charges need to know their rights from the arrest up to the hearing of the case. Understanding the types of charges and possible penalties can help a defendant prepare for their case.