Here at JD Solicitors, we understand how upsetting and stressful it can be to be charged with affray. Fortunately, our experience criminal defence team are expert in defending affray charges and can help maximise the opportunity of a positive outcome in your case.
Read on for more information about Affray, and the penalties it can incur and how we can help you in your case.
Affray is one of the more complex offences to define and understand. It is defined by section 3 Public Order Act 1986 as: ‘using or threatening unlawful violence towards another, where such conduct would cause a person of reasonable firmness present at the scene to fear for his personal safety.’
It can be confusing because it’s not enough for the prosecution to show unlawful violence was been used only on the victim. This would be assault ( or in some cases ABH, or GBH) Instead, in an affray case the violence needs to be of a type that a bystander would also fear for their safety.
The confusing part for many people is that there doesn’t actually have to be a bystander that feared for their safety for the charge of affray to be brought. Instead, the bystander is hypothetical, meaning if a person’s actions would have caused someone other than the victim to fear for their safety, were they present, they can be charged with affray.
Further complicating the definition of affray is the fact that the hypothetical bystander must be assumed to be a person of reasonable firmness, meaning they cannot be unreasonably intimidated.
Lastly, to be charged with affray you do not have to have committed violence in a public place. Affray can be committed in private as well.
One way to make the charge of affray a little easier to understand is to prove some example of the type of behaviour that would count under this offence.
First of all, those armed with a weapon that shows it and threatens to use it against an individual or a bystander may be charged with affray.
Secondly, those fighting in a public place where those other people fighting would significantly fear for their safety can be charged with affray.
Lastly, objects being thrown in an indiscriminate way that could cause people to fear for their safety can be counted as affray.
If a person is convicted of affray the maximum prison sentence they can receive is three years. They may also get an unlimited fine. Although in some cases judges will impose one or the other.
If a person is given a summary affray conviction then they could get a fine up to level 5 and/or 6 months incarceration.
Need rapid advice, or have you been arrested on suspicion of affray and require urgent representation? Contact the experts on JD Solicitors’ criminal formidable defence team for support, today.
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