What can happen if you get into a fight with another parent, umpire, or anyone else at your child’s sporting event?

Recently in Colorado, a viral video captured parents engaging in a brawl by choking, shoving, and throwing punches at each other. The viral video depicts an adult choking another, followed by several others rushing toward the fence where the initial conflict began. All of this occurred at an elementary school among 7-year-old children participating in a youth baseball game. The fights are alleged to stem from a call made by the umpire who is only 13 years of age. This brawl resulted in several injuries, citations for disorderly conduct and fighting in public, and ongoing investigations for several parents involved.

In Florida, a brawl of this nature is likely to lead to battery charges. Florida law defines battery as actually and intentionally touching or striking another person against their will or intentionally causing bodily harm to another person. A battery charge is a misdemeanor of the first-degree and a person convicted of such charge can be sentenced up to one-year imprisonment and imposed fines. If a parent involved in a brawl as portrayed in the video has prior battery or aggravated battery convictions, the battery charge can be increased to a felony battery. Felony battery is a third-degree crime. Conviction of such a crime can result in up to five years imprisonment and imposed fines.

In addition to the battery, a person participating in a brawl at a sporting event may receive assault or disorderly conduct charges. Assault is defined by Florida law as an intentional, unlawful threat by word or act to do violence to the person of another, with the apparent ability to do so, and creates a well-founded fear in such other person that violence is imminent. Disorderly conduct is defined by Florida law as acts that corrupt public morals, outrage the sense of public decency, or affect the peace and quiet of persons who may witness them or engage in brawling or fighting. A conviction of assault or disorderly conduct is considered second-degree misdemeanors which can carry up to sixty days in jail and fines.

Although there is no excuse for getting into a fight at a youth sporting event, there may be some defenses that may help you. These include self-defense and defense of others. However, mere wounds alone cannot legally justify punching someone. If your behavior is questionable or if it is in self-defense, we may look into past encounters you may have had with the other person to establish you may have been in fear of them.

Should you find yourself receiving a battery, assault, or disorderly conduct charge, resulting from an altercation at a youth sporting event or involved in a brawl similar to the viral video from Colorado, it is important to consult with an attorney. An experienced attorney will be able to plan a course of action which may include defenses and the possibility to reduce pending charges.

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I would like thank my attorney Thomas Luka. I knew from the beginning I had the right guy in my corner. While celebrating with family and friends at a Public Park in Seminole County, a fight broke out among various people. Myself, and a good friend, broke up the fight and the instigators left. Six months later, I was wrongly accused as the person who started the fight. The first attorney I hired could not even get a response from the State Attorney handling the case. Someone referred me to Tom and I felt comfortable at his demeanor and reactions.

After conversations with Tom, who knew I would settle for nothing less than a FULL DISMISSAL due to my innocence, I hired him. His firm of Adams and Luka did the due diligence by interviewing witnesses and the police who were on the scene, as well as starting a dialogue with the State Attorney. After gathering statements from witnesses, Tom was able to present a strong argument on my behalf to the State Attorney on why the case should be dismissed. If the State Attorney was not willing to dismiss the case, Tom was ready to take the case to trial.

The result by Thomas Luka: Case Dismissed.

I am 53 years old with a spotless record and glad to keep it that way thanks to the time, effort, hard work, and professionalism of the Adams and Luka and Tom Luka.

Earl from Mesquite
Thomas Luka left a life-long great impression of lawyers. He was always professional, on time, and answered things honestly. From the start and during the 14 months it went on - Tom was very upfront and honest with me about the possible outcomes. The result was better than I had hoped for. Tom really over-delivered. HIGHLY RECCOMEND. Marcela Giorgi
Adams and Luka were very professional and savvy in the courtroom. When you're in court with Mr. Luka you will think you have the best attorney there. I recommend this law firm. Pioneer Tech
Rich Adams is an outstanding criminal attorney. I have had the opportunity to refer several friends and clients to his practice for handling of criminal matters, and on every occasion he has produced an excellent result. Rich practices with attention to detail, a thorough knowledge of the law, and a passion to defend his clients. I will continue to refer clients to Rich Adams, and would strongly recommend him for your legal needs. Brian Pink
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