Two men prepare to fight

I Was Arrested for Fighting but I Didn’t Throw the First Punch

Faussette & Faussette Sept. 3, 2021

You got into a heated argument with someone who hits you. You hit back and before you know it, you’re arrested for fighting. What will happen now?

Between 35,000 and 40,000 arrests are made each year in Arizona for simple assault and disorderly conduct. If you are one of them, you are certainly not alone. Maybe hitting back was not the smartest decision, or maybe you were simply defending yourself or someone else. Whatever the circumstances, make a smarter decision now and talk to a criminal defense attorney because what you have been arrested for is a criminal offense in Arizona.

At Faussette & Faussette, we have represented clients like you throughout the greater Phoenix, Arizona area who found themselves arrested for throwing a punch. We can assess the details of your case, present your options, and work with you to build a strategic defense strategy. Contact us today for a free consultation.

What Are the Different Charges I Might Face if I Have Been Arrested for Fighting?

The charges you face if you have been arrested for fighting will vary, based on the unique circumstances of the occurrence. However, two common charges are disorderly conduct and assault.

Someone can be arrested for disorderly conduct under Arizona law if they intend to disturb the peace of a person, family, or neighborhood by:

  • Fighting, being violent or seriously disruptive

  • Making an unreasonable amount of noise

  • Using abusive or offensive language or gestures likely to provoke someone

  • Taking actions in an attempt to disrupt meetings and other gatherings

  • Refusing lawful orders to disperse for safety reasons near a fire or other hazard or emergency situation

  • Having a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument in the course of the conduct

Assault in Arizona is causing physical injury to someone, placing them in fear of imminent injury, or touching someone intending to injure or provoke them.

What Possible Defenses Can I Use?

The defenses you can use against the charges brought against you will also depend on the circumstances of the incident. Four common charges include self-defense, defense of others, defense of property, and provocation.

If you did not throw the first punch but instead hit back to defend yourself against someone who hit you first, your attorney could use this as a defense against disorderly conduct or assault charges. The same may apply if you fought to protect someone else from harm or to protect someone else from harming property you own.

If someone else provoked you into fighting by, for example, taunting you, you could also use this to defend your actions in court.

These defenses are not as clear-cut as they may appear. Note that the disorderly conduct statute applies to someone who “engages in fighting.” It makes no distinction about who threw the first punch.

What Penalties Am I Facing?

Disorderly conduct is a class 1 misdemeanor except when a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument is involved. In that case, it is a class 6 felony. Class 1 is the most serious misdemeanor charge, punishable by up to six months in jail, probation for up to five years, and a fine of up to $2,500. A class 6 felony conviction could result in a jail term of up to one year.

An assault conviction for intentionally causing physical injury is a class 1 misdemeanor. Placing another person in fear of imminent harm is a class 2 misdemeanor, punishable by up to four months in jail. Touching someone intending to harm or provoke them is a class 3 misdemeanor, punishable by up to 30 days in jail.

These penalties are presumptive; however, if there are aggravating circumstances, the judge can increase the penalties. If there are mitigating circumstances, the judge can reduce them. Also in Arizona, any conviction for a felony or misdemeanor remains on your criminal record until you turn age 99.

Hiring an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney

If you have been charged with disorderly conduct or assault after fighting, you don’t have to face the charges on your own. In fact, you should have a criminal defense attorney representing you. Because physical violence is inherent in any of these charges, even a misdemeanor conviction for fighting negatively impacts your employment, housing options, and your ability to work in certain places.

At Faussette & Faussette, we stand with our clients. We are tough negotiators with the prosecution and aggressive defenders in the courtroom. We provide stellar criminal defense for clients in Phoenix, Scottsdale, Gilbert, Tempe, Mesa, Peoria, Goodyear, Chandler, Glendale, and throughout Arizona.

If you have been charged with a crime for fighting, put us in your corner. Call now.