If you get into a bar fight in Ventura County, you could find yourself hitting the floor, visiting the ER, and, potentially, going to jail.
There are a number of separate California criminal offenses you can be charged with as a result of a bar fight. Four criminal charges you may face are:
- Disturbing the Peace. California Penal Code Section 415 makes it a crime to:
- unlawfully fight in a public place or challenge another person in a public place to fight;
- maliciously and willfully disturb another person by loud and unreasonable noise; or
- use offensive words in a public place which are inherently likely to provoke an immediate violent reaction.
Under Section 415, you can be charged with disturbing the peace even if a fight doesn't actually break out. If you either challenged someone to a fight or said things that were clearly meant to provoke someone into a fight, you can be found guilty of disturbing the peace. Upon conviction, you could be sent to Ventura County Jail for up to 90 days and be fined up to $400.
- Battery. A bar fight can also result in a conviction for battery if you are found to have willfully and unlawfully used force or violence upon another person. California Penal Code Section 242. You don't need to injure the other person to be found guilty of battery. Battery is usually prosecuted as a misdemeanor, with penalties of up to six months in Ventura County jail and fines of up to $2,000 upon conviction.
- Aggravated Battery. If during the fight you inflict “serious bodily injury” on the other person, you could be charged with aggravated battery under California Penal Code Section 243(d). “Serious bodily injury” means a serious impairment of physical condition and can include such things as a loss of consciousness, broken bones, concussion, or wounds requiring extensive suturing. Aggravated battery is a “wobbler” which means it can be prosecuted as a misdemeanor with the same potential consequences as a regular battery or as a felony which could result in a jail term of up to four years.
- Trespass. If, while tensions were escalating between you or another person at the bar or you were otherwise causing a disturbance and the bar owner or employee asks you to leave, your refusal to do so could result in charges of criminal trespass. Trespass is usually a misdemeanor with the potential for up to six months in Ventura County Jail and $1,000 in fines.
Ventura County bar fights are not uncommon, and our Ventura County criminal defense attorneys have extensive experience defending individuals against criminal charges arising out of such altercations. Give us a call today to discuss your case.