Understanding the Nature of an Affray Charge in Australia
In Australia, affray is a criminal offence relating to an assault. The court classifies it as a more significant offence and can implement harsh sentences of up to 10 years. The person charged with affray must have caused an individual, or individuals or even bystanders to feel threatened due to either direct physical threats or acts of violence.
The primary goal of an affray charge is to protect public order and maintain peace. Most affray charges stem from public disorder, brawls, and riots. It’s important to note that you can still become charged with an affray in public and private places. Causing distress to a 3rd party is not a requirement.
It’s not uncommon for an affray charge to be issued when a different offence could become utilised that is less serious.
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What Constitutes An Affray Charge?
The Requirements and Elements of an Affray Charge in Australia
An affray charge in Australia is an offence that represents many factors. According to section 93C of the Crimes Act 1900, the requirements of an affray charge are the following.
- An individual that causes or threatens unlawful violence directed at another and has their behaviour cause other people of reasonable firmness in attendance at the location to fear for their safety.
- Suppose two or more individuals cause or threaten unlawful violence. In that case, both of their conduct are combined and judged accordingly by the previous factor.
- A threat cannot constitute from words alone.
- No individuals of reasonable firmness are required to be at the scene.
- Affray can become issued in private and public places.
To put it another way, you can become accused of affray by engaging in various acts. These activities include, but are not limited to, engaging in fights or road rage. Being involved in a public disturbance or riot, or even yelling at a friend with the threat of assault.
Factors That Influence The Severity Of An Affray Charge
Determining the Severity of an Affray Charge in Australia
The jury must examine every argument and evidence relating to the accused party. Here are some components that will determine the severity of your charge.
- Provocation of a fight.
- The essence of the fight and its results and its effects.
- The level of violence and the degree of any injury.
- Other modifying variables, such as weapons or intensity of verbal action.
- In group convictions, the amount of involvement and willingness to participate.
Penalties Involved In An Affray Charge
Penalties and Possible Defences for an Affray Charge in Australia
The punishment is greatly affected whether your case is managed by the local court or district court. Minor charges are generally handled in a local court and can see up to 2 years in prison. The district court handles more severe offences, with a maximum penalty of 10 years.
An affray is a drastic offence and will affect your criminal record, job, credit records, and visa status.
Besides prison, common sentences include an intensive correction order and community correction orders. An intensive correction order is a form of imprisonment similar to house arrest. A community correction order is close to a good behaviour bond.
It is possible to avert a criminal conviction. Either due to a trivial affray charge or a strong case.
What The Prosecution Must Prove
The Burden of Proof for the Prosecution in an Affray Charge
In most cases, there are a few things that the prosecution must prove to charge the prosecutor
- The actions were made of your own will.
- You threatened or inflicted violence on someone else.
- You were receptive that your actions could be viewed as threatening or violent.
- The degree of violence and threats was unlawful.
- The actions caused sound-minded individuals to fear for their safety.
- The prosecutor performed their actions without lawful excuse.
Pleading Innocent Or Guilty
The Consequences and Legal Implications of Affray
Before you decide to plead guilty, we advise that you get in contact with our lawyers experienced in affray cases.
When pleading guilty, there’s a chance that you are dealt a lighter sentence, as it shows repentance. It’s advisable to have good legal representation to ensure nothing goes wrong.
We will do everything possible on our behalf to ensure a lighter sentence with the prosecution. Many variables may provide a lighter sentence, and we will give you the best legal representation.
Defences To Affray
Defending Yourself Against an Affray Charge: Understanding Your Options
Our lawyers have vast experience in affray cases. We can explore many lines of defence and see which might benefit you the most.
- The allegations of violence only represent verbal threats.
- The violence was strictly between two groups, and there were no threats or violence directed at the public.
- The degree of violence that extended to the public was not to the degree that would cause fear to an individual of firm character.
- You felt forced to act in self-defence, to prevent bodily harm to yourself. Your activities were appropriate due to the factors you perceived at the time. This also extends to assisting in defence of another party.
- There was no use of violence or threats.
- Falsely accused of causing violence, despite another party being responsible.
What To Do When Charged With An Affray Charge?
Each case is different and requires a custom plan. Many variables might affect your plea and its outcome. It’s best to obtain legal counsel from one of our lawyers experienced in affray cases. It’s important to note that affray charges are frequently handed down erroneously and that the error can be remedied with skilled legal representation.
Give us a call at 02 8005 3075 for a free legal consultation! We’ll help you lay out your options and provide you with the best possible action plan for your case!
There are many defence routes that you can explore with a lawyer and see if it pertains to your scenario. Not every affray charge is correctly issued, with a deeper understanding, you can hopefully get a better understanding of the decision you will take. You may have a more lenient sentence when appealing as guilty with the help of our solid legal team.