At one time or another, you may find yourself in a situation where someone challenges you to a fight or involves you in a fight. When this happens in South Carolina, could you face charges of assault? That depends on the situation, but in general, fighting is against the law. The Code of Laws specifies that fighting or even enticing someone to fight is illegal. However, there is one detail to keep in mind. The fight must include the use of a deadly weapon.
This is not to say that fighting is not assault. The law actually says any physical contact with another person that causes bodily harm is assault. Fighting with a deadly weapon, though, is a different charge. It is a misdemeanor and comes with up to two years in prison.
Even being the messenger involves you in the crime. For example, if your friend, Steve, wants to fight Bob and you deliver the message to Bob that Steve challenges him to a fight, then you become the messenger. This is also a crime punishable by up to two years in prison.
If during the course of the fight, anyone suffers bodily injury, the charge of assault comes up. This is a different charge than fighting or dueling, as it is called under the law. Assault charges range from misdemeanors to felonies. You could face harsh penalties for assault charges depending on the nature of the incident and the injuries to the other person.
So, to sum up, fighting is not the same as assault under the law because they are two different charges. However, they often go hand in hand. This information is for educational use only. It is not legal advice.