Understanding Your Rights

Should You Claim Mutual Combat in an Assault Case?

If you were involved in a fight, you might be surprised if the other combatant decides to later press charges. In some cases, you might be right to object because some states have mutual combat laws on the books. When two individuals get into a fight that they both agree to, the defendant can use mutual combat as a defense.

Don't Place Your Freedom at Risk

No matter what the circumstances, if your freedom is in jeopardy because of a criminal charge, you must contact a violent crime defense attorney. Not only might you find yourself in prison for a long period of time, but you may also be unable to vote or possess a firearm in the future. Being charged with a violent crime can also limit your employment opportunities. 

The Mutual Combat Defense

To use the mutual combat defense, you must prove that both you and the other party agreed to the fight. If you did not agree to the fight but were engaging in self-defense, this is a different type of defense. For a self-defense case, the other party must be the initial aggressor. However, if you both agree to the fight, it doesn't matter which party placed their hands on the other.

Typically, for the fight to be considered mutual combat, both parties must understand the risk of bodily injury that is involved. Also, the fight should not cause serious bodily injury. For example, if one party uses a sharp object, this may lead to the mutual combat defense being thrown out. Even if you threaten the other party with a knife, but do not use it, you may lose the mutual combat case.

Ultimately, you must prove that the fight was fair, it didn't damage public property, and it didn't endanger any bystanders. Otherwise, you may face other charges as a result of the fight. A fight could easily lead to a disorderly conduct charge.

Other Legal Defenses Are Available

If you are considering using the mutual combat defense, it's important to speak to a violent crime defense attorney. A legal professional will allow you to explore your options and will allow you to craft the best defense. For example, mutual combat may not be the best defense if there is no evidence that you were even involved in the fight. However, with the help of legal counsel, you will be best positioned to have your charges reduced or dismissed.