Affray is the most serious public order offence that does not require an element of group activity. It is defined by Section 3 of the Public Order Act 1986.
If you are accused of an affray, the prosecution must prove that:
- You have used or threatened unlawful violence towards another person, and
- Your behaviour would have caused a reasonable person to fear for their personal safety
Affray is an either way offence, and so it can be dealt with in either the Magistrates Court or the Crown Court. The maximum sentence available in the Magistrates Court is 6 months imprisonment, while the Crown Court can impose up to 3 years custody.
Commonly, affray is used as an alternative charge to resolve a disputed assault allegation. When a fight is alleged to have occurred in a public area and the defendant denies assault, it is sometimes possible to resolve the issue by offering a plea to the offence of affray. This however is an issue that should always be considered with the benefit of expert legal advice from a solicitor.
If you are accused of being involved in an affray, it is crucial that you have expert advice from a specialist criminal defence lawyer. Contact us to see if we can help you find an experienced solicitor or barrister for your case.
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