What is the Law on affray in Kentucky and what are the Punishments for it?
Every member of society is expected to behave responsibly, value civic order and public property and honor the value systems and law of the land. Thus, he/she is prohibited from certain acts and activities. Some of these prohibited activities are identified as disorderly conduct which disturbs public peace.
Such disorderly conduct also includes the offense of affray i.e. a common law term of the colonial era which represents the forbidden act of two or more people fighting in a public place causing terror to people. In codified law, there is no such word as affray, but the misdemeanor of fighting in a public place. In Kentucky, fighting in public is further classified into three types of misdemeanors under three different statutes for disorderly conduct, namely:
Though, not explicitly drafted, fighting is public does fall in this category in an unambiguous manner and replaces the need to prove the feeling of terror to the likelihood of inconvenience and alarm of the people. This statute also takes into account the proximity of the fighting to a funeral procession, cemetery, memorial service or a funeral home within the window of one hour prior or after the service.
Should the fighting in a public place get prosecuted as a 1st Degree disorderly conduct, it is punishable as a Class A misdemeanor comprising of imprisonment for a maximum term of 12 months with or without a fine of up to $500.
2. Kentucky Revised Statute section 525.060 recognizes a type of Second-Degree Disorderly Conduct as intentional fighting, violent behavior or threatening stance in a public place to the alarm, inconvenience or annoyance of the public creating physically hazardous or dangerous conditions without any legitimate purpose.
Herein, if the location does not specify a 1st-degree conviction, it is treated as a 2nd-degree conviction i.e. a Class B misdemeanor punishable by a prison term no more than 90 days with or without a fine of up to $250.
3. The State of Kentucky also stipulates statutes for the crime of public intoxication, a Class B misdemeanor, wherein:
- An individual is guilty of the said offense if he/she is clearly under the influence of a controlled or intoxicating substance other than alcohol that is not therapeutically administered but taken by some other means.
- The said individual acts in a way that endangers himself/herself, other people, property, or that unreasonably annoys people around him/her. This also includes fighting in a public place.
In Kentucky, apart from self-defense from assault, an individual may also claim defense from repeated harassment which is covered under Statute 525.070. Herein, a person may be deemed guilty of harassment if they do any of the following with the intent to intimidate, harass, annoy, or alarm another individual:
- Repeated threats which may or may not be accompanied with unwarranted physical contact.
- Use of provocative offensive language and gestures in a public place.
- Following the other person around with the likelihood of being a stalker. If the certainty of stalking is proven, it is covered in another statute.
- Create a hostile environment which instills a fear of humiliation, intimidation or physical harm.