Affray charges can potentially damage your life or career to some degree as they may raise a criminal record against you. This, in turn, would affect your work and travel. New South Wales laws take affray charges seriously. To defend yourself against any affray charges against you, always seek help by going to https://criminal-lawyer.com.au/.
Activities Considered Affray in Sydney
By definition, Affray is any instance of public fight or verbal abuse that threatens the safety of the local public and disturbs the peace. In Sydney and New South Wales in general, the Section 93C of the Crimes Act of 1900 deals with acts of Affray.
In general, Affray is where you employ unlawful violence, both physical and verbal, against another person, which a third person present at the scene will fear for personal safety. Therefore, such charges are often made by people who you never threatened directly. Also, the law is the same for both public and private premises. Because there’s such a broad scope, the charges are more common than you might think.
You could be guilty of Affray even if the third person weren’t present at the scene to have witnessed the violent act. But he/she has enough evidence to raise the Affray charges against you at a court in Sydney.
Affray charges are also severe, more than the assault charges. Since these endanger public safety and peace, you can face up to 10 years of imprisonment. In juxtaposition, an assault charge comes with a maximum imprisonment term of 5 years.
Police Misuse of Affray
Since the scope for an Affray event is large, it is often misunderstood and hence misused. Affray charges are, in fact, more common than assault. In case of assault, the police need to prove the actual victim, gather witnesses, and prove the absence of consent. With the lack of victim and/or witness, police will not be able to prove the charges against you.
But in the case of Affray, the police or the accuser doesn’t need to produce a victim, nor a witness who will testify the alleged violence in front of the judge. In most cases, video footage of you harassing or harming a second person is more than enough to hold you guilty of Affray. Thus, it’s not uncommon for police to register an Affray charge instead of assault.
Your Rights in an Affray Charge
Under New South Wales legislation, you can defend yourself from Affray charges raised against you. By hiring a Sydney criminal lawyer, you need to prove one of the following things to the court to invalidate the allegations:
- You were engaged in a violent or threatening act, but it was not up to the degree that would have caused terror to the general public or the third person in question.
- The violence was limited to verbal, and there was no physical part involved.
- Your action of violence was in self-defense, where you did what you did to protect yourself. In other words, you intended to protect yourself, not to terrorize anyone. Click here to learn more about self-defense laws in NSW.
- Your act was under duress.
By working with a Sydney criminal lawyer, you can convert the affray charge to an assault charge or even eliminate the charges.