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Bar Fights: Does it Matter Who Started the Fight?

On Behalf of | Jul 5, 2021 | Assault, Criminal Law |

Bar fights can take away all the fun of a night out, mainly because of the possible consequences that can arrive afterward. If a person gets injured during a fight, they have the right to file a legal claim for assault against the other person involved. In such cases, the court does consider who threw the first blow and the reasons behind the action. The circumstances of the fight, and the severity of the victim’s injuries, will dictate the penal consequences of the offender.

First Degree Assault

The state of Colorado considers an assault to be of first degree —and a class 3 felony— if a person hurts another with a deadly weapon, such as a gun, knife or another harmful object. The injuries of the alleged victim need to be serious for an assault to be of first degree. Serious injuries include:

  • Permanent damage to a body part or organ
  • Destruction of a body part or organ
  • Amputation
  • Permanent disability of a body part or organ

If the person’s injury qualifies as a serious one, the court could send the attacker to prison for up to 24 years. The court could also impose up to a $750,000 fine on them.

Second Degree Assault

If the wounded person does not have serious injuries, the court will convict the offender with a second degree assault. Second degree assault is a class 4 felony in Colorado. Those found guilty of this degree of assault could spend up to 12 years in prison. They might also need to pay a maximum of $500,000 in fines.

How the Fight Unfolded Matters

If the victim insulted or provoked the offender before the offender injured them, then the offender might face a lesser sentence. In this case, the court would lower the attacker’s first degree assault to a class 5 felony, and a second degree assault to a class 6 felony. This means that the court would still punish the offender but to a lesser extent. The conviction will also be different if the person acted in self-defense or if someone forced them to harm the victim.

Doing Appropriate Justice

Harming a person will always have its consequences. However, the offender has the right for the criminal court to evaluate the situation and give them the appropriate sentence depending on why they attacked the other person in the first place.