This annoyed me enough that I did some research. https://www.quora.com/What-are-the-consequences-of-punching-someone-in-the-face-after-you-were-deliberately-provoked
"In the US, you would have no basis to hit someone who was pestering you. You would be expected to walk away. If you hit him, the greater pain could well be to your wallet when you get sued for whatever injuries he suffers. ...You could be arrested and convicted for battery.
Don’t get in fights with obnoxious people. The only thing that happens, besides trouble, when you get in a fight with a moron, is that you prove there are two morons involved."
"If there are witnesses, chances are you can go to jail.
The point is not what someone did ... but what you did, since you're presumed to be of sound mind and you're fully responsible for your actions. And as such, your responsibility for choosing to punch someone in the face without that person doing same for you is real.
No, you can't say that someone said something bad - if you did not suffer damages to your reputation and you can't prove any financial loss, then it means you chose to hurt the other person, since your life was not in danger."
"As others here have indicated, there is not justification in physically assaulting someone because you have been 'provoked,' or mocked, or insulted, or embarrassed, or got your feelings hurt.
Let people like that destroy themselves and their own reputation with their bad attitude, and stay your course to do the right thing."
"It is illegal to punch someone unless you had no choice and had to do so in self defense. You could face criminal prosecution and provokation will not make you less guilty of committing the act. ...
Bottom line: violence is never a good answer. In our modern day society it is not seen as the emotionally competent adults reaction when provoked. ... Punching someone is not a recommended technique ive ever heard of being reccommended or solving a problem."