What happens if you fight
January 14, 2008 9:04 AM   Subscribe

What are the repercussions for getting into a fist fight outside of a bar?

My friend was in a fight over the weekend, he was punched in the head then fought back and ended up hitting his attacker several times to the point the attacker was bleeding pretty good. I know it was my friend being an ass that started it but since he didn't throw the first punch and after a few punches on his attacker he backed away and walked away from the fright with the attacker now egging him on to fight. So what repercussions if any do you think he would face?

People in the fight were complete strangers
to my knowledge the police were not called
this fight happened in Milwaukee, WI
posted by hexxed to Law & Government (18 answers total)
no repercussions. No cops, nobody knows your name. I just wouldn't go back to that bar anytime soon.
posted by cosmicbandito at 9:11 AM on January 14, 2008

I'd assume the next time the guy will have a knife.
posted by smackfu at 9:13 AM on January 14, 2008

I got into a fight during college and wound up with a disorderly conduct. $300 and unsupervised parole.

Here's a tip - if you are in a fight and are questioned by a cop, do not admit to it while everyone else is lying. They'll charge you and let everyone else go.

/much more cynical now
posted by unixrat at 9:42 AM on January 14, 2008 [1 favorite]

If the cops weren't called and your friend got home safe, what kind of repercussions are you referencing?

He probably shouldn't expect the red carpet treatment at the bar, if he was being a jerk and basically instigated a fight. If the other guy was a regular at that bar, he just shouldn't go back at all.
posted by desuetude at 9:53 AM on January 14, 2008

If your friend was being an ass, you may want to avoid that bar for a while. Bar staff have long memories, and even if they don't call the cops, they won't be happy to see you or serve you again for a while. Find a new bar for a while.
posted by pdb at 9:55 AM on January 14, 2008

If he didn't throw the first punch, and only used reasonable force to stop his "attacker", even if charged with assault, he might have a defense. Maybe. But from the sounds of it, he'll probably never have to worry much about it.
posted by blue_beetle at 9:58 AM on January 14, 2008

Cosmicbandito has it, assuming you're right that the police were never involved. Including the part about not going back to that bar.

If the question is "what would happen if the police were interested," you'll want to ask a Wisconsin lawyer. The details of what is and isn't justifiable as self-defense vary state by state.
posted by Zed_Lopez at 9:58 AM on January 14, 2008

This is in Milwaukee? I doubt anything will happen. The police are way too busy to chase down someone involved in a bar fight. Unless your buddy wounded the other guy badly enough to go to the hospital, I wouldn't worry about the police knocking on his door.
posted by desjardins at 10:06 AM on January 14, 2008

Thank you everybody, I guess we will just have to wait and see if the police think he is worth tracking down. I highly doubt that any real harm was done just a bloody nose and maybe a small head wound. I could not quite tell if the guy was bleeding from his head or of that was just there from his bloody nose. Hopefully it will just be forgotten. The one guy didn't seem too hurt except his pride maybe.
posted by hexxed at 10:25 AM on January 14, 2008

if they were to track him down though, any ideas on how long that might take?
posted by hexxed at 10:32 AM on January 14, 2008

My local bar has about 5 fights a night and I've never heard of the cops showing up at someone's house a week later. Unless your friend killed the guy and didn't realise it I wouldn't worry too much.
posted by fshgrl at 10:42 AM on January 14, 2008

sore knuckles
posted by Caper's Ghost at 10:49 AM on January 14, 2008

any ideas on how long that might take?

if they don't know his name, it will likely be on the same timescale as the last cube of summer ice melting in the arctic ocean.
posted by bruce at 11:16 AM on January 14, 2008

Thank you everybody, I guess we will just have to wait and see if the police think he is worth tracking down.

I think he's safe. I mean, how do you envision the police tracking him down? Presumably the fighters didn't exchange business cards. The guy would have to call the cops and convince them to press charges for his bloody nose against "other dude in now-ended alleged bar fight."
posted by desuetude at 12:54 PM on January 14, 2008

Cross that bar (maybe even the neighborhood) off of places you'll go again. The staff will remember you, as will the other guy. If your buddy was being an ass inside the bar and the other guy's a respected regular, everyone will assume that your pal was the problem.

You don't know that the police weren't called after you left. Did he/you use a credit card or a check to pay the tab? Could they have seen your license plate as you drove away? If the answer to both of those questions is no, I'd say it's pretty unlikely that they'll find you.
posted by donpardo at 1:01 PM on January 14, 2008

What others have said above. Plus, your friend should write an account down of what he experienced from his perspective and date it, and perhaps have it notarized. Include all relevant details and the injuries he sustained. Take a photograph of any injuries. Sock it away, just in case.

The idea here is to make a contemporary record. If something were to happen, this contemporary account may become useful to his defense. It holds a greater perceptional weight than to just say, "Yeah, two weeks ago, something happened, it was all a blur and I forget it now."

If something happens, you can whip this out and go, "Immediately after the event, I wrote down that X, Y and Z happened while it was fresh in my mind, and look at the photo of the black eye I got..."
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 1:07 PM on January 14, 2008

Again, if you're in Wauwatosa or Mequon, I might be slightly concerned, but Milwaukee? Your friend would have to stab the guy and leave a business card before the cops would show up.
posted by desjardins at 1:15 PM on January 14, 2008

cool papa that is exactly what I should have told him to do. Thanks to everybody for their input.
posted by hexxed at 10:50 AM on January 22, 2008

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