We are here to help if you’ve been charged with affray. We are committed to helping you obtain the best possible outcome for your case.

Definition of Affray

An affray is when two or more people engage in conduct, or threats, that would cause fear to anyone who observed the conduct.

The conduct can be words alone. Therefore, no physical contact needs to occur. Additionally, there does not actually need to be someone at the scene observing the incident. The offence can be proven if the person’s conduct would cause another to fear for their safety, whether or not that person was in fact present at the time. 


This charge will usually be laid when there is a group of people involved in a fight or melee in a public place. A common example is when there is a fight in a pub or at a sports game.

Can I avoid a criminal record for affray?

A court will usually record a conviction for this offence. Depending of the seriousness of the offence, the most common penalty for first time offenders is a conditional release order or community correction order. First time offenders can be sentenced to imprisonment if the circumstances of the offence are serious.

However, it is possible to avoid a criminal conviction. The likelihood of this outcome depends on the degree of violence, the circumstances of the offence, and the subjective circumstances of the offender. 

Will I go to jail?

This offence carries a maximum penalty of 5 years imprisonment. Therefore, for serious examples of this offence, the court can consider a term of imprisonment. This includes first time offenders. 

If I defend the charge, what must be proved?

The prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that you:

1. Threatened unlawful violence to another; and

2. Your conduct would cause another person of ‘reasonable firmness’ present at the scene to fear for their safety

If the prosecution is unable to prove these elements, or you can establish that you acted in self-defence, then you may be acquitted of the charge. 

We can help 

We have successfully defended charges of affray. In addition, we have had the charge withdrawn by negotiating with police. However, if you wish to plead guilty, we will work with you to ensure you prepare a strong subjective case in order to seek leniency from the court.

Contact us today on 0421 700 497 for a free initial consultation. 

criminal lawyer discussing with a client about his offense

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