Charges You May Face After a Bar Fight in Orlando
After a long day’s work, a lot of people enjoy unwinding over a drink at their favorite bar. It’s a place where people go to relax, socialize, or watch a sporting event. The last thing most people plan on doing when visiting their local bar is getting into a fight. However, whenever alcohol is involved, you can’t be entirely certain how people will conduct themselves – even in public. Bar fights that start as a small dispute can go from zero to 100 in a matter of minutes. Many times, you can see arguments growing increasingly tense and can steer clear before it gets out of hand. Other times, they can be hard to avoid – especially if someone you know is already involved.
Bar fights can become extremely violent, and the penalties for these kinds of brawls can be severe. For a better understanding of what charges you might face after being in a bar fight, let’s look at four possible criminal charges that apply.
What is Disorderly Intoxication?
Disorderly intoxication is the least severe of the charges you can face for misbehaving, or fighting, at a bar. Disorderly intoxication is described in Florida as an intoxicated person who poses a danger to public safety or causes a civil disturbance while impaired or drinking alcohol in a public place.
If you’re engaging in disorderly conduct while at a bar, often the bar management will ask you to vacate the premises. If you leave the bar when asked, generally no criminal charges get filed. But if you refuse to leave and law enforcement gets involved in keeping the peace, you can be charged with a second-degree misdemeanor. In Florida, this is punishable with:
- Jail time
- or any combination of the three.
Understanding Disorderly Conduct
The reasoning behind the disorderly conduct law is to create a sense of civil decency. The Florida definition of disorderly conduct, or breaching the peace, is an offense that law enforcement believes can “corrupt the public morals,” or “affect the peace and quiet.” That is often the charge for fighting and brawling at a bar. The criminal charge is a second-degree misdemeanor, and, as a step up from disorderly intoxication – the penalties worsen.
Under Florida law, disorderly conduct is punishable by fines up to $500, up to 60 days in jail, and up to 6 months of probation. Depending on law enforcement’s judgment and context of the situation, you can be penalized with all or some of these punishments for disorderly conduct.
What are the Penalties for Aggravated Battery?
If you’re charged with an aggravated battery from a bar fight, it’s assumed you had the intent to cause serious bodily harm to someone else. A standalone battery charge is a class A misdemeanor with penalties up to a year in jail and fines up to $2,500.
The misdemeanor battery charge becomes a felony aggravated battery charge if you use a deadly weapon. A gun and pocketknife are certainly considered lethal weapons, but even using a cracked bottle can also be viewed as a deadly weapon – resulting in a felony charge. The penalty for aggravated battery is up to three to five years in prison and fines up to $10,000.
What is Manslaughter?
The most severe charge of all, manslaughter, would apply if someone lost their life during a bar brawl. A tragic death could have been avoided, but sometimes bar fights go that far. There are two categories of manslaughter: voluntary and involuntary. A voluntary manslaughter charge applies when you intentionally committed the act of murdering another person while in a dispute. This is a second-degree felony that’s punishable by 15 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines. A voluntary manslaughter prison sentence has a mandatory minimum of 9 ¼ years.
An involuntary manslaughter charge indicates that someone was accidentally killed during a fight or bar brawl and there was no clear intention to kill. For example, if two people are arguing and someone gets shoved, hits their head on the bar, and later dies from the head injury, the person who shoved them into the bar can be charged with involuntary manslaughter. Involuntary manslaughter is also a second-degree felony in Florida, and the penalty is up to 15 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.
Call The Umansky Law Firm for Expert Legal Defense
If you’ve been involved in a bar fight that resulted in criminal charges, William Umansky and his team of criminal defense attorneys can help. The terms surrounding disorderly intoxication and disorderly conduct are broad, and an experienced criminal attorney can analyze your specific case to provide insight on your situation and what defenses can be used against these charges.
Don’t risk a permanent criminal record from a bar fight. The Umansky Law Firm has more than 100 years of combined experience between their criminal defense attorneys, and you can rest assured in knowing they will fight to win the most favorable outcome for your case. Call our office or complete our online contact form for a free case review.