When the founding fathers were drafting the Constitution of the United States, they did not appear to be shot gunning a beer or taking shots of whiskey (although that could have made things real interesting). When intoxicated individuals get together at a local tavern, they are usually not solving the world’s problems (even if they think they are). Instead, intoxication more often leads to an acceleration of debate and hostility. What started as a casual conversation can quickly turn into an all-out bar fight.
Taking part in a bar fight can drastically change your life. On the night of May 27, 2017, Darren Patterson knocked a man unconscious after being kicked out of Hotel Donaldson in Fargo, North Dakota. More than a week after the altercation, James Grant, the victim, passed away from his injuries. In June of 2018, Darren Patterson pled guilty to negligent homicide and aggravated assault and was sentenced to 18 months in prison.
While bar fights resulting in death are rare, simple assault charges are not. According to N.D.C.C. § 12.1-17-01, a person is guilty of simple assault when an individual willfully causes bodily injury to another human being; or negligently causes bodily injury to one by means of a firearm, destructive device, or other weapon, the use of which against a human being is likely to cause death or serious bodily injury. This charge is classified as a class B misdemeanor, for which a maximum penalty of 30 days in jail, a fine of $1,500, or both, may be imposed. If the victim of the simple assault is a peace officer, the charge becomes a class C felony, for which a maximum penalty of 5 years in jail, a fine of $10,000, or both, may be imposed.
In a bar fight, you may also be charged with assault under N.D.C.C. § 12.1-17-01.1 if you willfully caused substantial bodily injury to another human being; or negligently cause substantial bodily injury to another human being by means of a firearm, destructive device, or other weapon, the use of which against a human being is likely to cause death or serious bodily injury. The difference between simple assault and assault is the implementation of the word “substantial” in the statutory language of assault. Assault is a class A misdemeanor, for which a maximum penalty of imprisonment for 360 days in jail, a fine of $3,000, or both, may be imposed. If the victim is under the age of 12, in which case the offense is a class C felony. The victim being under twelve years of age, however, is unlikely given the 21+ environment that a bar requires.
If you or someone you know was involved in a bar fight where someone was injured, contacting an attorney may be in your best interest as they can help protect your legal rights throughout the process. Do not hesitate to contact Rosenquist Law Office at (701) 775-0654 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule your free consultation.
*The information contained in this article and on this website is for informational purposes only. This information is not legal advice and should not be relied upon as so.