UNDER WHAT CIRCUMSTANCES CAN A DEFENSE OF MUTUAL COMBAT BE USED TO JUSTIFY A PERSON’S ACTIONS RELATED TO A CRIMINAL CASE IN LOS ANGELES?
The term “mutual combat” usually comes up related to a physical altercation, where both parties (or all parties, depending on how many people were involved) agree to fight and everyone acts within the bounds of reason during the fight. Under this scenario, all persons involved in the agreed upon fight should not be charged with a crime. However, what will usually occur is that one of the parties to the fight will become injured and then cry foul and not admit or acknowledge they actually agreed to the fight. Depending on what evidence is available and what the witnesses say, the police will have to decide whether to arrest someone or not. Usually they error on the side of arresting the person they perceive as the aggressor and let the prosecutors decide whether to proceed with the case or not.
Another issue that comes up all the time in this situation is that one of the parties will allegedly use too much force or an unreasonable type of force during the incident. This can also lead to criminal charges being filed. For example, it would be inappropriate to use a weapon during a hand to hand fight, unless one was being overwhelmed or there was more than one person fighting against them. In my experience, whenever deadly force is used, the police and prosecutors will usually get involved and charged the offending party with a crime. This is not always warranted and I find myself defending these type of cases all the time. The prosecutors are particularly tough when there is a serious injury to a party to the altercation.
It is crucial that you have a seasoned criminal defense attorney by your side when it comes to defending a violent crime. The stakes are high and the consequences can be grave, depending on the circumstances of the given case and the strategy that is employed. In my opinion, you should hire your own attorney from the beginning, be truthful with them and follow their advice. Feel free to call us 24/7 at (866) 986-2092 or fill out contact form.
LEARN WHAT IS REASONABLE IN A MUTUAL COMBAT SITUATION
If you want to be able to argue that you were engaged in mutual combat related to a physical altercation that you are charged criminally with, then your attorney is going to have to show that your actions related to the altercation were reasonable under the circumstances. In other words, what ever force you used was under the umbrella of the original agreement between you and the other party when you both decide to fight. When weapons become involved or you use too much force to deal with the other party, this is where I see criminal charges being filed by the police.
Of course the party who loses the fight is typically the one crying foul and looking to have you arrested and prosecuted for winning the fight. Witnesses on your side is always a good thing when trying to convince the prosecutors, a judge and even a jury that you acted within your rights related to a fight and mutual combat claim.
I have defended many cases over the past 25 years by way of arguing that my client was engaged in mutual combat and therefore should not be convicted of a criminal offense. And, what it always boils down to is whether the trier of fact believes that the other party was part of the fight and agreed to a physical altercation. If the other side agreed to fight and simply lost the fight, then it is not fair that someone must be charged criminal.