In NSW, affray carries a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment. People are typically charged with affray if they’ve acted violently or threateningly around other people.
A person can be charged with affray if they use or threaten to use unlawful violence towards another person. This means that a person can be charged if they use physical force against another person, such as punching, shoving or kicking them, or if they threaten to do so. These acts of violence or threats of violence must be serious enough to cause a person of reasonable firmness to fear for their personal safety. In other words, the acts or threats must be serious enough to make an ordinary bystander scared of being injured or harmed by the person charged. This is a question of degree – the more aggressive the threats or the more serious the violence the more likely it is that a person of reasonable firmness would be concerned for their safety.
An offence such as affray can result in sentences that include imprisonment even where an individual has no previous convictions. It is important to get legal advice at an early stage to ascertain precisely what the consequences of a conviction may be and whether you have a defence to the charge. It is very important that you obtain legal advice before you take part in any police record of interview.
How can I defend against Affray charges?
Affray charges are often difficult to prove. Self defence can often be raised to as a defence to an affray charge. We have successfully defended many affray charges and know the sentencing principles impacting the offence of affray very well.