Will I be charged with assault?

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Will I be charged with assault?

Me and a friend where at a wedding both drinking.
On the way home I was punched 6/7 times then
when vehicle stopped taken to the ground I then
punched her back in self defense which resulted in a
bloody nose. She got up and tried to continue to
attack me. Will I be charged with assault?

Asked on June 21, 2018 under Criminal Law, Minnesota

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

You could be charged if the authorities believe either or both of:
1) You hit her after she had hitting you and posed no more threat--you can't retaliate for being hit, but can only use force to defend yourself and stop an attack, which means that if the attack has stopped before you use force, that is not self defense; and/or
2) It was fighting by "mutual consent": basically, if two people "agree" to fight or both engage in conduct leading to the fight, then regardless of who punched first and who second, both are considered to have committed assault--you cannot instigate a fight and then claim self defense when the fight you helped cause occurs.


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