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Why a drunken fight at a bar or party lead to assault charges

On Behalf of | May 20, 2023 | Criminal Defense

Some people call alcohol a social lubricant because of the way it affects individuals’ behavior. People are often more outgoing and playful after consuming alcohol. They may also become more impulsive and emotional, which can sometimes have negative consequences.

Sports bars where people gather to watch major sporting events and parties where people may have deep conversations often see fights break out when inebriated patrons or party-goers let an argument escalate and do a physical fight. Sometimes, other people call the police. Other times, one of the people involved may file a police report about the incident later.

Given that everybody knows the way that alcohol affects people, some people assume that the state will not charge someone involved in an alcohol-fueled fistfight. However, Texas can and does charge people for assault in scenarios involving a physical altercation that occurred in no small part because one or both of them had too much to drink.

Impairment does not absolve someone of responsibility

Texas state statutes actually outline numerous scenarios in which a person can raise an affirmative defense. These situations involve someone asserting that although it may seem from one perspective that they broke the law, special circumstances mean that they did not.

Self-defense and insanity are both affirmative defenses. Voluntary intoxication, meaning a scenario in which someone knowingly consumes alcohol or drugs, is specifically excluded from the permitted affirmative defenses in Texas criminal code. In other words, just because someone was drunk enough for the alcohol to affect their judgment does not absolve them of the criminal culpability for their interactions after drinking.

There may be other defense options

Although claiming that intoxication led to someone making a bad choice is not a viable criminal defense strategy, asserting that someone acted to protect themselves because the other party threatened them or hit them first could be a viable option. There are usually multiple options available to those facing criminal charges in Texas if they want to go to trial to fight the allegations they face.

Reviewing what evidence the state has is often a good starting point for those hoping to fight assault charges in Texas.