What is Affray?
An affray charge is generally laid by the police when a person is involved in a brawl or fight in a public place. The offence most commonly occurs where a person behaves in a manner in public which would cause others to fear for their safety, however, the offence may also occur in private situations.
Affray is usually considered more serious than common assault and carries heavier penalties. The main difference between assault and affray is that other people fear for their safety.
If you are charged with affray, you will have to go to Court. If convicted by the Court, you will have a criminal record, and you may face imprisonment. The offence of affray carries a maximum penalty of 2 years imprisonment in the Local Court and 10 years imprisonment in the District Court.
A lawyer experienced in affray and public violence offences may be able to persuade the Courts not to record a conviction against you and have the matter dealt with by way of a “section 10” bond.
What are the elements of Affray?
To prove affray, the prosecution must show beyond reasonable doubt that –
- A person used or threatened to use unlawful violence toward another person, and
- That this person intended to use, or intended to threaten to use violence, and
- The actions would cause a person of reasonable firmness present at the scene to fear for their personal safety, and
- The person did so without lawful excuse.
It is worth noting that a person of reasonable firmness need not necessarily be present at the scene and that a threat cannot be made by the use of words alone.
What are some examples of Affray?
Examples of “Affray & Public Violence” include -
- Road rage
- Fighting inside a pub or bar
- Threatening to punch another person in public
- Participating in a violent public demonstration
The actions of the person being sentenced and the behaviour of any co-offender will both be considered when determining an appropriate sentence for an affray charge.
What is Violent Disorder?
Violent disorder offences involve a group of 3 or more people together who use or threaten unlawful violence that would cause a person of reasonable firmness to fear for their personal safety. A maximum penalty or 6 months imprisonment and/or a fine of $1,100 can be imposed for this offence.
Are Affray and Riot the same?
No. The offence of riot occurs where 12 or more persons are present together use or threaten unlawful violence for a common purpose and their conduct (as a group) is such that it would cause a person of reasonable firmness present at the scene to fear for their personal safety, each of the persons using unlawful violence for the common purpose is guilty of riot and liable to imprisonment for 15 years.
We are here to help
Fourtree Lawyers have extensive experience defending clients on the Central Coast facing affray and public disorder charges in Court. If you have been charged with affray and the police invite you to participate in a record of interview you should exercise your “right to silence” and call us immediately.
Your lawyer can explain and guide you through the entire Court process and work with you to minimise the legal ramifications of your offence.
If a section 10 is not appropriate, our affray and public disorder lawyers can help reduce any penalties, minimise any fines you may face and help you avoid or minimise a gaol term.
Contact our Central Coast Lawyers on 1300 529 444 as soon as possible. The earlier we can start building the strongest case possible, the higher your chance of getting the best outcome.
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I reached out to Fourtree Lawyers regarding an assault charge that could have destroyed my career if a conviction was laid. Kevin was so understanding and helpful, with no judgment on the matter and excellent communication the whole way through. I told him of what I was hoping to aim for as a charge, and he took that into account, and he achieved an exemplary outcome at court, exactly what I was hoping to get. The fees for Kevin’s services were extremely affordable, they understand that people don’t have a...