Fighting by two or more people in a public place to the disturbance of the public tranquility is a misdemeanor offense in Georgia known as affray. All misdemeanor offenses carry a maximum penalty of 12 months in jail and/or a fine of $1,000.
Affray requires an intent to fight, so it is a highly defensible case if you simplt were a victim of the fight and had no intent to engage in the fight. The State must prove you were a willing participant. With that being said, self-defense is defense that can be explored and used in Affray cases. Even if you did engage in the fighting, but you did so in self-defense, this would be a full legal defense to the charge of Affray. Interestingly, automatic reflexes which including pushing back will also not rise to intent to fight.
Other defenses of Affray include focusing on where the fight occurred. Affray in Georgia requires it to have happened in a public place. Georgia law has held that jails and prisons are not public places for purposes of this statute. Likewise, fights at homes and other private property would not be unlawful under the Affray statute.
Affray, being a finger-printable offense, is one that remains on one’s criminal history forever. Paying a fine or pleading guilty will result in a lifetime criminal conviction. Given the various defenses that come into play wit Affray charges, it is important to consult with a skilled criminal defense lawyer who can advocate for you. Call us today for a FREE CONSULTATION at 404-581-0999 if you or a loved one has been charged with Affray in Georgia.