You Are Charged With Public Affray; What Now?

A group of people committing public affray.

Public affray is a misdemeanor assault and battery crime that occurs when two people engage in a fight in a public place, causing terror to the public. A conviction for public affray can have serious consequences, including jail time, fines, and a permanent mark on your criminal record.

What is the Crime of Simple Affray?

North Carolina defines the crime of public affray as a fight between two or more people that causes alarm or terror to others and is often charged when a fight breaks out.

To make out a case the prosecutor must prove:

  1. The defendant engaged in a fight with another person or persons;
  2. The fight occurred in a public place; and
  3. Members of the general public experienced terror because of the fight.

Examples of Public Affray

Charges are common after someone was involved in a fight at a concert, a bar, or somewhere people are gathered. While the crime is typically charged after a fight involving two or more people, you can also be charged with public affray if you were not directly involved in the fight but were inciting others to fight by “egging them on.”

What Is the Punishment for a Conviction for Public Affray?

Public affray is a class 2 misdemeanor, punishable by up to 60 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.

Additional Charges Often Follow Along

Depending on the circumstances that led to the public affray charges, you could face additional charges after a fight, including simple assault, assault with a deadly weapon, or assault by pointing a gun.

You can also face more serious penalties if the fight involved someone who is in a class of protected people identified by statute, which includes:

  • Females, when the assailant is a male over age 18;
  • Sports officials such as umpires, coaches, and referees at a sporting event;
  • State employees, including public transit operators or campus security officers; or
  • School employees or volunteers who are on school property, at a school event, or transporting students to and from school.

What To Do If You Were Charged with Public Affray

When facing charges, you should seek qualified legal counsel as quickly as possible. North Carolina criminal defense lawyer Ryan Stowe will analyze your situation, identify and obtain evidence that can be used to defend against the charges, and mount a vigorous legal defense.

It is often beneficial to identify and locate witnesses who can corroborate your version of events and provide additional information on what led to the altercation. For example, if a witness states they observed the altercation but were not scared by it, you can negate one element and overcome a public affray charge.

Your lawyer can also send a subpoena requesting video surveillance footage from the venue where the fight occurred. If the video surveillance supports your version of the events and affray did not occur, the case against you may be dropped.

How a North Carolina Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help

If you are facing public affray charges in North Carolina, the Stowe Law Firm, PLLC, can help.

Ryan Stowe has defended people accused of crimes throughout North Carolina since 2016 and is a courageous and tenacious advocate for the accused. He will analyze your situation, provide legal advice and counsel, and mount a vigorous defense. He will call and question witnesses on your behalf and argue for a reduction in charges, a reduced sentence, or dismissal of the charges.

To learn more about the Stowe Law Firm and how we can help, contact us today to schedule a confidential consultation to discuss your situation.

The Stowe Law Firm is based in Salisbury, North Carolina, and proudly represents people in Cabarrus, Davidson, Rowan, Davie, and Stanly counties.

Categories: Assault