The Mutual Combat Defense in Illinois

 Posted on March 06,2024 in Criminal Law

IL defense lawyerTwo adults in Illinois can willingly decide to fight. This is in fact, fairly common. In some cases, adults decide to fight for recreational purposes, and it is quite clear that both parties consented to the combat. For example, if you participate in an organized wrestling or martial arts competition, you probably have to sign a document agreeing to experience physical contact that would otherwise be considered criminal assault. In other cases, it is less clear whether both adults implicitly agreed to fight each other. Bar fights are a fairly common example of a physical struggle that may or may not have been consensual for all involved. Witness testimony or video footage might be required to support this affirmative defense. If you have been charged with assault or another violent crime, it is important to reach out to an experienced Rolling Meadows, IL, criminal defense attorney.

Mutual Combat Cannot Involve Deadly Force

Even if you were provoked, using deadly force or picking up a deadly weapon means you cannot use the defense of mutual combat. This defense is designed to avoid prosecuting people who choose to engage in hand-to-hand combat after a dispute, not those who have committed more serious violence that did or could have resulted in a death. If deadly force was used in self-defense during a non-consensual assault, you may have a different defense.

Consensual Fighting v. Assault and Battery

While the mutual consent defense can certainly be used if you actually agreed to fight each other verbally or in writing, you do not need to have established express consent. In some cases, the agreement can be implied by body language or in a few words during an argument. Imagine a typical bar fight. A few heated words are exchanged, and then two people stand facing each other with their fists for a few moments. Both parties step forward and start fighting at the same time. In this example, the court might believe that each party made the conscious decision to voluntarily engage in mutual combat.

Contrast this with a situation in which one of the parties stood with their fists raised and the other party stepped backward with their hands flat and their palms facing outwards in a “stop” gesture. The party with raised fists then steps forward and strikes the other. Only then does the second person fight back. This situation is more likely to be deemed a criminal assault and battery on one person’s behalf and lawful self-defense on the other’s.

Contact a Rolling Meadows, IL, Assault Attorney

If you may have a viable mutual combat defense, Scott F. Anderson, Attorney at Law will raise this defense on your behalf. Experienced Cook County violent crimes lawyer Scott Anderson will strive to use any defense you have available to avoid conviction. Contact us at 847-253-3400 for a complimentary consultation.

Share this post: