It is no secret that people tend not to make the best decisions when they have been drinking, as alcohol impairs judgment. Some people are happy drunks, some do dumb but harmless things, and others get aggressive and contentious.

The combination of these various types in a setting where the prime activity is downing drink after drink often leads to bar fights. It may not seem like a big deal from an onlooker’s perspective, but there are serious legal penalties if you are involved in the brawl.

The range of bar fighting

Not all bar fights are the same in intensity. They can entail threatening language and shoving all the way to attempted murder, as was the case in an Appleton bar fight back in May. The amount of physical harm that you cause to someone else will determine the charges and penalties you may face. 

Wisconsin law on bar fights

Bar fights generally fall under disorderly conduct laws, which apply to behaviors meant to provoke a fight or cause violence or are unreasonably loud. Disorderly conduct is a misdemeanor that comes with different classes of severity. If the argument escalates, you may face charges of assault or battery, or worse if you used a weapon, inflicted great bodily harm or caused someone’s death. Even if you did not instigate the fight, there are still legal consequences.

Defense strategies

Cooperate with the police, but do not answer any questions without a lawyer present, especially if it is right after the incident and you are still drunk. Seek medical attention right away for an evaluation of any injuries you received from the other person(s). As with any crime, the best and most important action to take is to talk to a criminal defense attorney for assistance in reducing or eliminating charges and their effects on your life. Remember to be honest, as your lawyer can only help you in proportion to the information you provide.