What To Do When Faced with Affray Charges?

The origin of the word “Affray” lies in the French word “Affraier”. This word implies “to terrify”. It is considered a public offense that causes terror to the public or people, leading to legal complications. If faced with this charge, you need the best criminal defence lawyers for your case. 

What is Affray?

“Affray” is a violent and threatening behaviour executed in public and, in some cases (jurisdictions), privately. It must be disturbing the local peace or the decorum of the region where the incident takes place. 

Just a single person or more than one person can commit this. In essence, this is a criminal offence involving threatening or violent anti-social behaviour. But drunken or disorderly behaviour is not included in this. 

The “word” essentially means “to frighten”. Consequently, to prove that someone has committed an affray does not just include the behaviour of the participants alone. 

A charge of affray is feasible only when the accused’s behaviour causes a person of good grit at the scene to be afraid of his or her safety. Therefore, to prove the charge, both the effect of the behaviour and the behaviour itself have to be considered. 

Actions That Constitute Affray

Common Affray examples are –

  1. Threatening or yelling to punch someone 
  2. Fighting in front of one or more people
  3. Participating in any riots
  4. Road rage

What Must the Police Prove?

For proving that a person is guilty of affray, the police should be able to prove every element of the offense without any reasonable doubt – 

  1. The act is committed by the accused 
  2. That they engaged in relevant conduct 
  3. That it was directed towards another person
  4. That the conduct involved violence or threat
  5. That any person with a rational mind in a similar situation would fear for their safety because of the conduct

Possible Defences That You Can Use Against Affray

There are some ways in which one can defend the charge of affray. Here are some of the ways of doing it –

  • Argue that you didn’t threaten or use any violence
  • Argue that you acted because of self-defence while under duress or out of necessity 
  • Maintain the innocence against the alleged acts
  • Argue that you did not intend to threaten to use violence
  • Argue that nobody with reasonable emotional or psychological health would have feared for their safety because of the actions

An affray carries a maximum of 2 -10 years penalty. But there can be outcomes other than the penalty, too. A criminal conviction can have dire consequences, especially on your work or service life. A criminal offense can prevent you from working in a bank, with children, in a hospital, or as a security guard.

Potential employers will always prefer people with no convictions over one, even with a minor affray charge. An affray charge can also prevent people from obtaining a criminal conviction. Appointing efficient and experienced criminal defence lawyers can assist you in defending and coming out of this situation. 

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