Professional basketball player Matt Barnes is facing criminal charges in connection with an altercation in December in New York City. Barnes, who is a forward for the Sacramento Kings, is mounting a criminal defense against misdemeanor assault charges for his alleged involvement in the incident, which happened at a night club in Chelsea. Barnes, age 36, and his teammate DeMarcus Cousins are both implicated in the assault charges. Authorities say the fight occurred after Barnes bumped into a woman and she slapped him. Cousins and Barnes allegedly began beating a male victim after that initial encounter.

Two people were injured in the brawl, and they have filed a lawsuit for assault, battery and emotional distress. So far, Barnes and his attorney have declined comment to New York media sources. Barnes committed to turning himself in at the end of a road stint in Pennsylvania.

It is not clear exactly what the penalties will look like for Barnes if he is convicted of the assault charges. These criminal charges could have serious long-term consequences for Barnes’ career and his future, making mounting an effective criminal defense particularly important. Criminal defendants should know that they are not exempt from facing formal allegations simply because they are famous or have some kind of acclaim; the criminal justice system is designed to address all types of violations.

Defendants who are facing assault charges may benefit from the input of a qualified criminal defense attorney. These defendants need help understanding the potential penalties associated with the criminal charges. A criminal law expert can educate and assist defendants, helping them make the best decisions for their future after they are formally accused of committing assault.

Source: Sporting News, “Matt Barnes reportedly plans to turn himself in on misdemeanor assault charges,” Arthur Weinstein, Jan. 27, 2017