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Been arrested for a public brawl? A brief sentencing guide from our criminal solicitor at ABV

07 December 2020


Associated with sports events, concerts and protests, affray is quite a serious offence in the UK.

Defined as a group fighting in a public place that disturbs the peace, the definition of an affray has been changed to also include threats of violence from one group of people to another.

Therefore, if you and a group of your friends get a bit carried away after some alcoholic drinks and a football match, you may need some legal advice surrounding the sentencing and how serious your offence is.

At ABV solicitors, our criminal solicitor will be able to advise you on the most likely outcome of your affray charge. Bear in mind that this will include a myriad of factors being taken into accounts, such as the severity of the disruption, any injuries caused by you and any damage to public or private property. However, we have helped many clients accused of this crime and can help you too!

So, what exactly is the sentencing in the UK for an affray? Our criminal solicitor outlines the guidelines below.

Offence category

First and foremost, our criminal solicitor will advise you on which offence category your affray falls into.

In the UK, there are 3 groups of affray offences which assess culpability and harm posed to the other group. If a weapon was used, then it is counted as a Class A, which is the most serious and carries the stronger of the penalties.


In the UK, the offence category is weighed against the harm that was actually caused to others.

Once again, this is broken down into 3 groups which assess the severity of the personal injuries that were caused by you and your group.

Category 1 highlights serious harm caused by you or your groups, such as physical injuries or psychological distress. Category 3 represents when there is little to no physical harm caused to others, with Category 2 being in the middle.

Extenuating circumstances in this area will include the use/threat of using a weapon, which pushes all incidents up to a Category 1.


If our team determines that your affray offences fall into Class A for culpability and Category 1 for harm, then you can expect to serve a custodial sentence.

Typically, the length of the sentence will range from 18 months to 2 years and 9 months as a starting point. In this case, our team will push to have your sentence reduced based on your overall level of perceived danger to the public and whether we believe that the sentence is just.

If your affray falls into the lower band of seriousness, such as Class C and Category 3, then you can expect to receive a fine and high-level community order.

Once again, factors that will be included in the length/ severity of your community order will include the threat posed during the affray and the risk that you as an individual may pose to the public in the future and any rehabilitation opportunities.

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