As both an attorney and MMA fan, I thought I would write an article about the recent legal troubles of UFC Superstar, Conor McGregor. For a fun, yet informative article, let’s assume Conor did not commit the alleged acts in Brooklyn, New York. But instead, he committed the acts in Cass County, North Dakota, at the FargoDome.
According to various news reports and various videos, Conor McGregor threw a dolly onto a parked bus, shattering a bus window, and injuring three people, including two fellow UFC fighters. One fighter had multiple lacerations on his face and had to go to the hospital. The other two had minor injuries. In New York, he was charged with three misdemeanor counts of assault and a felony count of criminal mischief.
He would be looking at four similar charges here in Cass County, North Dakota. He likely would be looking at two simple assault charges. A simple assault is when a person “willfully causes bodily injury to another human being.” N.D.C.C. § 12.1-17-01(1)(a) A simple assault is a class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to 30 days in jail, a $1,500.00 fine, or both. He would also likely be looking at one class A misdemeanor assault charge for the injuries involving the lacerations requiring medical attention. A class A misdemeanor is when a person “willfully causes substantial bodily injury to another human being.” A class A misdemeanor is punishable by up to 365 days in jail, a $3,000.00 fine, or both. Conor would also likely be charged with one count of criminal mischief. I am assuming the damage to the bus and dolly was over $2,000.00, but less than $10,000.00. See N.D.C.C. 12.1-21-05 §. Therefore, Conor would be looking at a C felony criminal mischief charge.
Conor’s legal situation is complicated because he is not a United States citizen, and criminal convictions, especially a felony conviction puts his ability to fight or work in the United States in grave danger. Additionally, due to his net worth of over $80,000,000, he is facing several civil lawsuits arising out of the incident. It is unclear what, if any, prior criminal convictions Conor has. For purposes of this hypothetical, I am assuming he has no prior criminal convictions.
As I read the media reports, I laughed out loud when a sports reporter indicated that Conor hired an attorney who was an experienced “litigator.” Attorneys are not magicians. The whole incident was caught on video in front of dozens of witnesses. This case is not going to trial. However, there is still plenty of work to be done!
This is what a good criminal defense attorney would do for Conor in Cass County, North Dakota. The first thing to do is have Conor complete an anger management evaluation, and follow through with classes or the recommendations. If Conor’s behavior was caused by drug or alcohol consumption, then he would be advised to complete a chemical dependency evaluation, and follow through with the counselor’s recommendations. In response to Dana White’s theory, Conor denied he was under the influence of any drugs or alcohol.
Conor’s attorney would then find out the amount of restitution that is owed to the multiple victims. Presumably, the UFC employee and two fighters have medical insurance. However, there may be a deductible that is required as well as other losses they suffered. You always get a better deal if restitution is paid in full prior to any change of plea and sentencing hearing. Therefore, Conor’s attorney would ensure that the victims were all made whole (at least in regard to restitution) prior to a plea hearing. Ideally, if possible, Conor should settle any civil lawsuits with the victims before the plea hearing. Happy victims increase the likelihood of a lesser sentence!
Based on my 21 years of experience, assuming arguendo that Conor did all of the aforementioned and due to the possible immigration consequences, this would be a very realistic disposition in Cass County, ND. The State would agree to dismiss the two counts of class B misdemeanor simple assaults. The State would amend the class A misdemeanor assault to a class B misdemeanor simple assault and would amend the felony criminal mischief to a class B misdemeanor criminal mischief. Conor would be looking at a fine and legislative fee in the amount of $1,500.00 to $1,900.00 A realistic sentence would be thirty days in jail, with all but five days suspended. He would get credit for one day of previous custody. In lieu of the four remaining days in jail, Conor would be ordered to perform 40 hours of community service.
In theory, Conor would be eligible to get a deferred imposition of sentence IF he had no prior criminal convictions. However, due to the video and the favorable disposition, based on my experience, it is unlikely this would happen.
As a celebrity, Conor would not be treated any differently than any other defendants who are in a similar situation. Defendants who have the financial resources but lack criminal history, and quality legal representation would get a similar disposition, assuming they did all the proactive things Conor did.