If I am a minor and I was watching a fight, what could i possibly be charged with?

I gave a girl a ride because she said her boyfriend was getting in a fight so I felt obligated to do so. When I dropped her off I stayed a good distance from the fight but as the fight progressed the girls boyfriend was beat very badly and got a concussion. Instead of leaving at this time I decided to help keep him awake and wait for the ambulance and police to get there. I filled out a voluntary witness form for the police and answered their questions. They said that it was possible if there were permanent damages that the onlookers could be charged. What could I be charged with?

Asked on November 7, 2011 under Criminal Law, Kentucky


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

There is no crime for simply being an onlooker to a fight or a criminal event. However, there could be charges for being an accomplice, conspirator, or participant in some way, even if you did not yourself fight--that is, if the police believe the "onlookers" in some way were involved, such as by not letting one of the people leave or escape, or hiding the fight from view so that the authorities would not be called, then they could arrest you on that basis. So simply witnessing a fight is not a crime, even if there is permanent injury--but doing something to cause it to go ahead or interfere with the authorities could be.

That's not to say that the authorities, if they did charge you, would succeed in convicting you--they'd need to prove participation by evidence beyond a reasonable doubt. But if the feel they at least have some reasonble basis for thinking the "onlookers" were involved, they could try charging them to see if they could later prove it, or the onlookers would accept plea deals.

If charged, get a criminal defense attorney, and do not speak to the authorities until you talk to your lawyer (exercise your constitutional right against self incrimination, often called the "right to remain silent").

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