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What is the Law on affray in Nebraska and What are the Punishments for it?

English law defines affray broadly as an offense coming under public order where ordinary citizens get terrified due to the fighting between two or more persons. In most states of the USA, the law on affray is the same as the English common law. However, certain states had brought in statutes during the course of time to make amendments that suit a modern democracy.

The state statutes consider affray as a petty misdemeanor which carries a maximum penalty of ten years of imprisonment. At the same time, it is worth noting that, in most cases where a person is charged with affray is accompanied by sections pertaining to unlawful assembly, riot, and assault.

If you are charged with an act of affray it comes with a supplementary element to prove the mental state of the aggravator. That proof is evidence that the defender was aware that his or her actions will cause violence or cause to be a violent threat to the general public at large.

Nebraska Affray Law

Difference between riot and affray

Whereas riots are preplanned affray occurs spontaneously. The law clearly states that, when two or more persons who met during an innocent or lawful occasion and situations led to an altercation, they cannot be charged with rioting.

In such an event, only the actual persons who engaged in a fight are guilty of affray and not the entire gathering or onlookers. The goes on further to state that the act of such persons in a public place which caused disturbance to peace is guilty of affray and are punishable under the relevant statutes.    

Types of offenders for affray

1. In most charges of affray, the perpetrators were engaging in criminal activity for the first time. Therefore, if the charges of affray are proved, it will be considered as a ‘first offense.' A typical example often quoted by law circles is the Cronulla riots. Majority of the people who were arrested and produced before a court of law had no previous criminal records and were first-time offenders. So the courts will be lenient on the punishments due to the following reasons:
  • The necessity for rehabilitation.
  • The adverse effect, punishment may have on the person's social life and career.
  • Good character and social standing
  • Genuine remorse on the part of the offender.
Affray Law Nebraska

In the case of first-time offenders, the courts can pass a judgment under section 10 of the sentencing procedure to give a lesser sentence to a first time offender as compared to a repeat offender. 

2. Repeat charge of affray - Although most first time offenders of affray will not get a jail term, tables usually turn when the offense is repeated. As has been mentioned in the beginning, the maximum penalty for committing an instance of affray is ten years in jail.

Evidence for having committed an act of affray

The prosecution produces the following pieces of evidence to prove the charges of affray:

  • The offender's presence at the crime scene.
  • The offender's involvement in the crime.

The common defenses used by people charged with affray are as defined below:

  • The offender was under duress. This argument requires the defense to prove that you were forced by another party to commit the crime.
  • Self-defense is another argument used when defending acts of affray. The offender needs to prove that he or she was being assaulted which prompted the act of crime.
Affray Law

Before charging a person with affray, law enforcement agencies are open to negotiation due to the nature of arrests being a "catch-all" situation. Police are ready for negotiation in cases of affray as they are aware that this is not a very serious crime and that it is better to avoid long and complicated legal proceedings.

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