Whether you are a tourist in Louisiana or you have a regular spot where you go to relax, you know that a night on the town can be unpredictable. Alcohol can bring out the worst in some people, and you may have encountered a situation that got out of your control pretty quickly.
If you are now dealing with charges of assault and battery following a fight in or outside of a bar, you would benefit from legal assistance. While it may seem like a simple bar fight, such charges can carry serious and life-altering consequences, and the skill and knowledge of an attorney may improve your chances of a positive outcome.
What is the difference?
Assault and battery are two very different offenses, although many people see the terms as interchangeable. Charges of assault can result without you ever laying a hand on another person. In fact, simple assault is when your words or actions cause someone else to fear for his or her safety. Some examples may include:
- Making threats that a reasonable person would believe
- Approaching someone in a menacing manner
- Shoving someone
- Brandishing a weapon
With any of these actions, you must have the intention to cause fear or to harm someone even if no physical harm resulted.
On the other hand, battery is a physical confrontation with another person. If someone in the bar has accused you of touching him or her without permission in a way that caused harm or offense, you are likely facing battery charges. This does not have to be intentional but may still be battery if the action occurred through your recklessness or negligence.
Notice that the charge involves causing harm or offense. In other words, you may not have punched someone and broken his jaw. However, if your actions caused offense, such as spitting on another person, authorities may consider it battery.
As with many offenses, the charges of assault and battery can intensify with the severity of the actions. For example, if you harm a child or a police officer, or if the person with whom you had the confrontation suffers serious or fatal injuries, you can expect the charges against you to be much more severe.
This is not a situation to leave to chance. Even a misdemeanor for a violent crime on your record can jeopardize your future. Seeking the counsel of a criminal defense attorney is a wise move.