A person commits the offence of affray when they use or threaten violence towards another and their conduct would cause a person to fear for their personal safety.

Affray may involve more than one person and in those circumstances the behaviour of all people is taken into consideration when determining its effect.

Which court will hear this matter

The offence of affray will be dealt with in the Magistrates Court of South Australia. However, if the Court finds that a person should be sentenced to a term of imprisonment exceeding 2 years, the case will be dealt with in the District Court of South Australia.

What the prosecution must prove

The prosecution must prove that you had the intention to threaten violence or you were aware that your conduct might be violent or threaten violence. Words alone can not constitute a threat for this charge.


There are a range of possible defences including, but not limited to, the following:

  • you acted in self-defence;
  • you acted in defence of another;
  • duress; or
  • mental impairment.


The maximum penalty for a basic offence is 3 years imprisonment and for an aggravated offence is 5 years imprisonment.

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