Affray is a criminal offence which deals with behaviour that endangers the personal safety of a person who is not involved in the incident, essentially the public.
It is a hypothetical person, as such, it does not need to be proven that an actual person was present, or likely to be, at the time.
No actual physical harm needs to have been caused to the person by the offender, only that the person feared for their safety.
The behaviour of the offender must involve some physical aspect, mere words is not enough to amount to endangering behaviour.
It does not matter whether the incident occurred in a public or private setting.
An example of Affray occurs when there is a fight between two people, and bystanders, who are not involved, fear for their personal safety.
Law on Affray in NSW
In NSW, “Affray” is an offence that is established under section:
In accordance with the legislation, for you to be guilty of this offence, it must be proven that your conduct:
- Was used or threatened unlawful violence towards another; and
- Words alone cannot amount to a threat, there must be some form of physical violence involved.
- Could cause a person of reasonable firmness to fear for their personal safety.
- However, no actual person needs to be proven to actually be, or likely to be, present.
Additionally, the it must be shown that you:
- Intended to use violence; or
- Threatened to use violence; or
- Was aware that your conduct may be violent or threaten violence.
It is also important to consider the following:
- If two or more people are involved, it is the conduct of them taken together that must be considered.
- Affray may be committed in either a public or private setting.
Affray is categorised as an indictable offence; therefore, the maximum penalty varies depending on the Court in which you are convicted.
At the District Court level and above, you may be liable for imprisonment up to ten (10) years if you are convicted.
However, at the Local Court level, there is a jurisdictional limit imposed on the Magistrate, therefore the maximum penalty for imprisonment is two (2) years if you are convicted.
Whether your Affray charge is dealt with at the Local Court level or above will be dependent on a broad range of factors, which is why it is important that you seek legal help to understand all the options that may be available to you.
It is also possible to receive a penalty with no imprisonment, but it will depend on various factors including, but not limited, the nature and seriousness of the conduct involved.
Charged with Affray – How We Can Help!
There may be a defence that is applicable to your case, which is why it is crucial that you speak with an experienced lawyer to assist you with your matter.
JB Solicitors are highly skilled and experienced lawyers and understand the great deal of stress that comes with criminal charges. We will guide you through your difficult situation with accurate legal advice and provide you with practical solutions to achieve the best possible outcome for you.
If you have been charged with Affray, JB Solicitors eagerly awaits your call.