• By: Darryl Stallworth, Esq.
  • Published: February 1, 2022

Many people have a tendency to experience anger when others disagree with them. When two people get angry at each other and engage in a heated argument, things sometimes get out of control and turn into a fight. Before you know it, the other person is throwing punches at you or trying to harm you in another way. In that situation, self-defense is a normal reaction.

However, even if you are merely trying to defend yourself, you may still get arrested for getting in a fight. If you or someone you love is facing criminal charges for getting into a fight, contact a criminal defense lawyer right away. As an experienced criminal defense attorney in Oakland, California, I am dedicated to providing compassionate representation and helping people facing all kinds of fighting-related charges.

Can You Get Arrested For Fighting In California?

The short answer is, “Yes, you can get arrested for fighting in California.” Depending on the circumstances of the fight, you can be charged with disturbing the peace, assault, or battery.

  1. Disturbing the peace. Under California law, you can be convicted of disturbing the peace if the prosecution can prove that you willfully engaged in a fight against another person or challenged that person to fight you. Another requirement to secure a conviction is that the fight or challenge must occur in a public place.
  2. Assault. In California, people can be charged with assault for attempting to use force or violence against other people. For example, if you were involved in a fight and tried to throw a punch at another person but missed, you could face assault charges because there was intent to cause bodily injury, but no actual contact occurred.
  3. Battery. Unlike assault charges, which apply to situations in which there is no actual contact between the individuals engaged in a fight, battery refers to the deliberate and unlawful use of force or violence against another person.

Possible Defenses To Fighting-Related Charges

If you get arrested for getting into a fight, possible defenses that you may be able to assert depend on the circumstances of your fight and the charges you are facing. Possible defenses to fighting-related charges may include:

  • False accusations. You are falsely accused of fighting someone.
  • Mistaken identity. While the fight did occur, you were not the one who was fighting.
  • Alibi. You were somewhere else at the time the fight occurred, and there is someone who can vouch for your whereabouts.
  • Self-defense. You had to use physical force to protect yourself against someone who attacked you.
  • Defense of another person. You used reasonable force to defend another person, who was the victim, from the attacker.
  • Defense of property. You used physical force to protect your property from being stolen, invaded, or illegally withheld.
  • Provocation. While provocation is rarely a complete defense when getting into a fight, it can be used to mitigate the punishment.

Reach out to an experienced criminal defense attorney to review your particular case and determine the best defense strategy based on the circumstances of your offense.

Possible Penalties For Fighting In California

Possible penalties for fighting-related charges depend on the circumstances of the fight, your criminal history, and the type of charge you are facing. Distributing the peace can result in misdemeanor charges or an infraction, depending on your conduct and criminal record. A conviction will most likely remain on your record.

If the fight resulted in simple assault or battery charges, you could face a misdemeanor conviction, which is punishable by no more than six months in county jail, a fine, probation, and other penalties. However, if the alleged victim suffered bodily injury as a result of battery, the conviction could be elevated to a felony.

Hiring An Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney

As an experienced criminal defense attorney who has represented numerous people facing disturbing the peace, assault, and battery charges in Oakland, California, I understand that emotions can quickly get out of control and lead to a fight. I am not here to judge you for your actions. I am here to defend you and protect your freedom and reputation. I provide legal counsel to clients in Oakland, San Francisco, and throughout the Bay Area and Northern California. Schedule a case review today to discuss possible defense options.

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