What Is Simple Affray?

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Within the realm of legal terminology, the term “simple affray” refers to a specific category of public disturbance or disorderly conduct that involves the engagement of individuals in a mutual fight or quarrel in a public place. This legal term, often encountered in discussions surrounding public order offenses, carries implications and consequences defined within the legal system. Let’s delve into the nuances of simple affray, its definition, legal context, and implications within the scope of public disturbance laws.

What Is Simple Affray?

Simple affray is a legal term that denotes a specific type of public disturbance characterized by mutual combat or physical altercation between two or more individuals in a public setting. The essence of this offense lies in the public nature of the altercation, distinguishing it from private quarrels or altercations.

Elements And Legal Definition:

  1. Mutual Combat: Simple affray involves the active participation of two or more individuals engaging in a physical altercation or fight, where each party contributes to the disturbance.
  2. Public Setting: The altercation must occur in a public place, such as a street, park, or any location accessible to the public, rather than within private premises.
  3. Absence of Serious Injury: Simple affray typically involves minor physical altercations without resulting in severe injury or harm, distinguishing it from more serious offenses.

Legal Implications And Consequences:

  1. Criminal Offense: Simple affray is considered a criminal offense in many jurisdictions, categorized as a misdemeanor or summary offense punishable by fines, community service, or, in some cases, imprisonment for a limited duration.
  2. Law Enforcement Intervention: Law enforcement authorities may intervene to de-escalate the situation, make arrests, or issue citations to individuals involved in simple affray to restore public order.

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Differentiation From Related Offenses:

  1. Assault or Battery: While assault and battery involve harmful or threatening actions against another individual, simple affray focuses on the public nature of the disturbance involving multiple individuals.
  2. Disturbing the Peace: Disturbing the peace encompasses a broader range of disruptive behaviors beyond physical altercations, including loud and disruptive conduct in public spaces.


Simple affray, as a legal term, encapsulates the notion of public disturbance arising from physical altercations involving multiple individuals in a public setting. Its classification as a misdemeanor underscores the legal significance of maintaining public order and safety. Understanding this legal term within the context of public disturbance laws aids in comprehending the legal ramifications and consequences associated with engaging in or witnessing such altercations in public spaces.


What Does Affray Charge Mean?

277, § 39: “Affray. – Fighting together of two or more persons in a public place to the terror of the persons lawfully there.” Lawful presence in the public place of the person placed in fear is a required element of proof of affray.

What Is An Example Of Affray?

While by no means an exhaustive list, examples of affray could include: Fighting in public. Participating in a violent protest. Setting off fireworks in a public place.

What Are The 3 Elements Of Affray?

Generally, the three elements required for an affray to occur include:

  • the occurrence of fighting and an intent to fight by at least two people.
  • the fighting takes place in a public space.
  • the fighting results in a breach of the peace and causes bystanders to fear for their safety.

What Is The Lowest Charge Of Assault?

The lowest form of assault is considered a Class C Misdemeanor. The highest penalty one can receive for a Class C Misdemeanor assault is a fine that can be no higher than $500.

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