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Spring Break Beach Brawl Video Goes Viral: 5 Legal Lessons

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By Christopher Coble, Esq. on March 13, 2015 11:37 AM

A sheriff's deputy took on two drunken Spring Breakers at a Florida beach brawl and, lucky for us, the whole thing was captured on shaky cellphone video (though not in Internet-approved sideways, smh).

As always, police encounters like this are teachable moments. So let's dive right into the video and break down where these two gentlemen went legally wrong:

1. Don't Go to Spring Break.

Kidding! You're young, naive, and full of not having any responsibilities or direction in your life whatsoever. You're gonna party. (And, it being March 13th already, you may not even be able to legally prepare before you embark on your Spring Break adventure.)

Just remember we told you so, when you've got Sgt. Bryan Bingham's meaty paw crushing your windpipe.

2. Don't Drink at Spring Break.

Also possibly overstated. Look, we all like to enjoy an adult beverage, especially on a sunny day at the beach. But public intoxication happens fast when you're up early, not hydrating properly, possibly not eating, and surrounded by friends in a party atmosphere.

As Messrs. Joshua McMahan and Justin Lewis so adequately demonstrate above, just because you're not getting a DUI doesn't mean you can't get into serious trouble.

3. Don't Fight at Spring Break.

Even if everyone were stone-cold sober in the video above, it was the 10- to 15-person brawl that drew Sgt. Bingham's attention from the Post Card Inn where he was working an off-duty detail and led him down to the beach.

We know it's hard to stay calm with all that Coors Light racing through your veins and equatorial heat beating down on your head, but the best way to avoid a disorderly conduct charge is to just chill, bro.

4. Don't Hit a Cop at Spring Break.

If you haven't followed Tips 1 through 3 on this list, please, by all means, do NOT strike a law enforcement officer. Officers, unsurprisingly, do not appreciate being punched in the arm, as McMahan did while Bingham was breaking up the brawl.

See, it's right there in Florida's state statutes, Section 784.07(2)(b): "Whenever any person is charged with knowingly committing an assault or battery upon a law enforcement officer ... the offense for which the person is charged shall be reclassified ... from a misdemeanor of the first degree to a felony of the third degree."

5. No Really, Don't Mess With a Cop at Spring Break.

Other things law enforcement officers don't appreciate? Being stood over, yelled at, shoved, and battled with while arresting you and your friend. And that's what Lewis did to earn himself a matching felony battery on a law enforcement officer charge, along with also being wrestled to the ground and subdued by the neck.

(You people kicking sand on the deputy? Y'all got off light.)

Seriously -- don't go to Spring Break.

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