Affray Charges

What are affray charges?

Affray is a charge that is laid by police in circumstances where, generally, a person behaves in a manner in public that would cause others to fear for their safety. Affray is usually considered more serious than a common assault, and carries a heavier penalty.

Your options:


Plead not guilty:


In order to be convicted of this offence, the police must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:

  1. You used or threatened unlawful violence towards another person;
  2. Your conduct would cause a person of reasonable firmness present at the scene to fear for their safety.

If any of the above elements cannot be proven beyond reasonable doubt, then you will be found not guilty of the offence.

If the above elements can be proven beyond reasonable doubt, you will still be found not guilty if any of the following defences can be established:

Our experienced criminal lawyers will advise you of your prospects of successfully defending any charge brought against you and fight to have you found not guilty of the offence.


Plead guilty:


If you agree with what the police are alleging against you, the way to get the best result is often to plead guilty as it demonstrates remorse and contrition as well as meaning that you will be entitled to a discount on your sentence.

Alternatively, it may be the case that one of our experienced solicitors can negotiate with prosecutors for you to plead guilty to a less serious charge.

What is the penalty for Affray?

The offence of Affray carries a maximum penalty of 2 years imprisonment in the Local Court and 10 years imprisonment in the District Court.

Affray is an offence that may in some circumstances be dealt with pursuant to section 10 of the Crimes (Sentence Procedure) Act, meaning no conviction will be recorded, there is no other penalty and you will have no criminal record. To find out more about a section 10, click here.


Generally, penalties that a court can impose for any criminal offence in NSW are:

Case Study - Affray and Self Defence
Our client was charged with affray after a late night fight he was involved in outside a nightclub in Sydney City.The whole incident was captured on CCTV that was provided to the us by the police as part of the brief of evidence.

Our client insisted that he only got involved in the fight after fearing for his friend’s safety. After analysing the case thoroughly, stringently viewing every view of the CCTV footage, obtaining statements from our client’s friends, we took the case to a defended hearing at the Downing Centre Local Court in February 2011.

Our argument was that our client’s actions were lawful, in that he acted the way he did only in self defence of his friend.

After a long hearing, our client gave evidence. Ultimately Magistrate Favretto agreed that the charge should be dismissed.

Case Study - Affray and Community Service Order
Our client appeared unrepresented without a lawyer at Waverley Court and was convicted of affray following a fight with another patron at a pub. At the time he committed the assault he was on a good behaviour bond for a similar offence.

The Magistrate ordered he complete 150 hours of community service for the Affray and re-sentenced him for the breach of the bond, by imposing another good behaviour bond for a further two years.

Within 4 months the client breached the Community Service Order and sought the advice of LY Lawyers when another solicitor told him he would likely receive a term of imprisonment.

LY Lawyers appeared on his behalf and argued that the breach of the Community Service Order did not mean the court had to impose a penalty harsher.

Our solicitor provided a context to the Affray that the client had failed to do when he appeared for himself.

The Magistrate accepted that the conduct of the client was not objectively serious enough to warrant a sentence of imprisonment, suspended or otherwise, and in the circumstances the matter could appropriately be dealt with by way of a Section 9 Good Behaviour bond.

This meant, despite breaching the Community Service Order, he received a lighter sentence than when he had represented himself.

Case Study - Charged with Affray on a second occasion: receives community service.
Our client was charged affray. CCTV footage captured the incident which involved a 10 person brawl at a racecourse. Our client was previously charged with a similar type of affray three years earlier and was placed on a suspended sentence on that occasion. The footage clearly showed our client violently participating in the affray.

Our solicitors successfully negotiated the police facts to reduce our client’s criminality. Further on our advice our client sought the assistance of a counsellor and participated in anger management course.

The matter proceeded to sentence at Waverley Local Court. Our solicitor argued that our client only became involved after once of his friends was assaulted. Further the court accepted our client had good prospects of rehabilitation and showed significant remorse. The court ordered that our client perform 100 hours community service.
Case Study - Kneeing Victim in head whilst he was on the ground- From full-time jail to 100 hours CSO, lengthy criminal record of violence
Our client was self-represented in the Local Court and pleaded guilty to affray without properly instructing a lawyer.

On the day which his case was listed for sentence Chief Magistrate Henson told our client that he would without any doubt be going to jail and he should get a lawyer quickly.

Our client had lost his job as a result of the criminal proceedings and was now facing prison.

The charges were very serious and included a fight where our client kneed the victim 3 times in the head whilst he was on the floor, splitting the victim’s head open.

Our solicitor prepared our client for sentencing and ensured that the case was expertly prepared, presented and argued.

Our client was sentenced before Her Honour Magistrate Gilmore at the Downing Centre Local Court in April 2015. Her Honour took into account the fact that he had previously been convicted of violent offences but that he was someone who was very remorseful and capable of changing his ways for the better.

He was sentenced to 100 hours of community service. This was an excellent result for our client.

He was very relieved that he was not going to jail.

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