Can state police arrest you and bring you to court for fighting?

I have a charge for fighting another girl
who admitted to hitting me first. The
charges are for breach of peace and
threatening in the second degree. Do I
need lawyer?

Asked on December 30, 2017 under Criminal Law, Connecticut

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you can be arrested and charged for fighting: there is no legal right or privilege to fight. Even if the other girl hit you first, if you kept fighting her past any need to defend yourself, that is illegal: self-defense stops once you no longer need to defend yourself.
Example: she punched you, then tried to punch you again; you hit her first to stop the second punch, then stopped hitting her when she backed off--this self defense and you did not commit a crime.
But say she hit you once, then did not punch you again, but you hit her to "teach her a lesson" or in revenge; or you initially started defending yourself, but then continued fighting once you could have stopped--that is not self defense, but is  crime.


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