Being charged with affray can be a distressing experience, however understanding what the law says is important if you want to get the best outcome in your case.
Section 93C of the Crimes Act says that it is an offence to take part in an affray.
An affray is where you use or threaten to use unlawful violence towards another. The violent conduct must also be seen to cause an ordinary person to fear for their safety.
‘Unlawful violence’ means illegal and harmful conduct. It can include damage caused to property, injuries suffered by people, and any conduct that has the potential to cause damage or injury, such as throwing objects at other people. However, words alone won’t be enough to constitute ‘unlawful violence.’
If there are two or more people involved in the affray, the court will consider their conduct as a whole when determining whether ‘unlawful violence’ has been committed.
However, the law also says that you can only be charged with affray where you deliberately used violence, or where you were aware that your conduct could be violent.
This means that if you can prove that your actions were accidental, or that they were not supposed to result in violence, you may be found ‘not guilty.’
An affray can be committed in a public or a private place, which means that you can be charged with this offence even if you are on private property, such as a bar or nightclub.
If you’re worried about how an affray charge could affect you, it’s best to get in touch with an experienced criminal lawyer.
Sections 93C and D of the Crimes Act deal with ‘affray’ and read as follows:
(1) A person who uses or threatens unlawful violence towards another and whose conduct is such as would cause a person of reasonable firmness present at the scene to fear for his or her personal safety is guilty of affray and liable to imprisonment for 10 years.
(2) If 2 or more persons use or threaten the unlawful violence, it is the conduct of them taken together that must be considered for the purposes of subsection (1).
(3) For the purposes of this section, a threat cannot be made by the use of words alone.
(4) No person of reasonable firmness need actually be, or be likely to be, present at the scene.
(5) Affray may be committed in private as well as in public places.
93D Mental element under sections 93B and 93C
(1) A person is guilty of riot only if the person intends to use violence or is aware that his or her conduct may be violent.
(2) A person is guilty of affray only if the person intends to use or threaten violence or is aware that his or her conduct may be violent or threaten violence.
(3) Subsection (1) does not affect the determination for the purposes of riot of the number of persons who use or threaten violence.
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It can be hard to know what steps to take when you have been charged with a criminal offence such as affray, however the criminal law specialists at Sydney Criminal Lawyers® have the knowledge and experience to advise you of the best course of action in your circumstances.
Our expert lawyers have helped countless clients achieve a positive outcome in affray cases by finding problems with the prosecution evidence and pushing to have the charges dropped, or raising a defence to explain why someone acted in a particular way.
We are passionate about protecting our clients’ interests and innocence and, should the matter proceed to court, we will fight hard to have the charges dismissed by raising all relevant evidence and examining all witnesses in a compelling manner.
Unlike other law firms, we also guarantee that you will only be represented by one of our senior criminal defence lawyers at all major court dates. These legal experts have been recognised as specialists in their field due to their experience and in-depth knowledge of the law.
So don’t waste time with an inexperienced lawyer. Call us now on (02) 9261 8881 and get the experts on your side today.