Affray Key Facts

Maximum Penalty

  • 3-5 years imprisonment

Possible Defences

  • Acting in self-defence

What Is Affray?

A person commits the offence of affray if they use, or threaten to use, unlawful violence towards another and their conduct would cause a person of reasonable firmness present at the scene to fear for their personal safety.

Affray is an offence against section 83C of the Criminal Law Consolidation Act 1935. Affray may be committed in a private or public place.

A public place includes:

  • a place that the public is entitled to use whether or not for payment; or
  • a place that an occupier allows members of the public to enter whether or not for payment.

Affray may be committed by one person acting alone, however, if two or more persons are involved it is their conduct taken together that will be considered in determining its effect on a person. Further, the offence will be an aggravated offence when committed in company.

For the purposes of this offence a threat must be actual conduct – the use of words alone is not sufficient. Further, no person need actually be, or be likely to be, present at the scene.

An example of affray is a fight between two or more people with a level of violence that causes an innocent bystander to fear (not just be concerned) for their safety.

Our experienced criminal lawyers at Caldicott Lawyers are experts in all criminal matters, including the offence of affray.

What Is The Maximum Penalty For Affray?

  • The maximum penalty for a basic offence is 3 years imprisonment.
  • The maximum penalty for an aggravated offence is 5 years imprisonment.

An offence is aggravated if you:

  • deliberately and systematically inflicted severe pain on the victim;
  • used, or threatened to use, an offensive weapon;
  • committed the offence against a police or prison officer;
  • tried to dissuade a victim from participating in legal proceedings;
  • knew the victim was under 12 years of age;
  • knew the victim was over 60 years of age;
  • committed the offence against a former spouse/partner;
  • committed the offence against your child or a child of your former spouse/partner;
  • committed the offence in company with another person;
  • abused a position of trust or authority;
  • committed the offence against a disabled person;
  • committed the offence against a person who was vulnerable because of their employment; or
  • committed the offence in contravention of a court order (e.g., a bail agreement or restraining order).

What Are The Possible Defences For Affray Charges?

It may be a defence to a charge if you were:

  • acting in self-defence

The requirement that the violence be unlawful indicates that self-defence may be raised in relation to an offence of affray.

  • acting in defence of another
  • under duress, or
  • suffering from a mental impairment.

What The Prosecution Must Prove

The prosecution must prove that:

  1. you used violence, or threatened to use violence, against a person;
  2. you intended to use violence or threaten violence, or you were aware that your conduct may be violent or threatening violence;
  3. your conduct was voluntary;
  4. the violence used or threatened to be used was unlawful;
  5. the conduct was such that it would have caused a person of reasonable firmness present at the scene to fear for their personal safety.

Come and see the professional team at Caldicott Lawyers for assistance in your affray matter.

What Court will Hear the Matter

This offence will be dealt with in the Magistrates Court of South Australia.

However, if the Court finds that a person found should be sentenced to a term of imprisonment exceeding 2 years the matter will be dealt with in the District Court of South Australia.

Case Studies For Similar Offences

We have defended thousands of criminal cases over many decades and constantly achieve outstanding results for our clients. Please view our results by clicking the cases below:

Resist Arrest and Offensive Language

Resist Arrest and Offensive Language

Disorderly Conduct/Hinder Police/Refuse to Leave Licensed Premises

Disorderly Conduct/Hinder Police/Refuse to Leave Licensed Premises

Disorderly Behaviour, Refuse to Leave Licensed Premises, Resist Arrest

Disorderly Behaviour, Refuse to Leave Licensed Premises, Resist Arrest

Disorderly Behaviour

Disorderly Behaviour

Reference: 1500061

Disobey Reasonable Direction

Disobey Reasonable Direction

Affray

Affray

Reference: 1300232

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