Can bar patrons restrain a customer ?
2 attorney answers
Theoretically, there can be causes of action at civil law for assault and battery and perhaps negligence on the part of the bar owners, but you would have to prove it and collection might be difficult.
Use of force against another person is authorized under limited circumstances, set out in RCW 9A.16. 9A.16.020(3) states that use or offer to use force against another is not unlawful "Whenever used by a party about to be injured, or by another lawfully aiding him or her, in preventing or attempting to prevent an offense against his or her person....., in case the force is not more than is necessary." Whether the use was reasonable may be debated, but that is dependent on both the justification for the force and the force used. Think of it as a shield more than a sword. After reading up, you might consider your friend or your sister going to see a local attorney to discuss the situation. From your description, there may be criminal charges anyway, so they may need advice as to that possibility as well.
These comments do not establish an attorney-client relationship, and are intended to assist you in deciding whether to hire a personal attorney practicing in your area and this field of law.
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