Meaning: The term Affray is derived from the French word effrayer, meaning to frighten, scare, or terrorize. Affray can be defined as a brawl, clash, duel, tussle or fight between two persons or a group of persons in a public place so as to cause terror to the general public.
A person who engages in an affray is called an affrayer or brawler. It is seen as a criminal offense and punishes the affrayer by arresting and penalizing them under the concerned law. Affray results in the destruction of public peace. To qualify as an affray, the crime should contain three critical bits:
(1) that there was a clash/brawl among two or more persons
(2) that the brawl/clash occurred in a public place: In order to further qualify as a public place, the brawl should occur in-
(a) the places considered public by their nature of utility and maintained by either government or a private stakeholder. Such places include roads, shopping complexes, and public parks
(b) private property/holding that is situated in the vicinity of public passage for the general public to be the spectators of the brawl.
(3) that the brawl/clash terrorized the persons who qualify as members of the general public
General characteristics of Affray:
(1)Affray applies the charge on both the parties involved in the brawl (bilateral offense)
(2)The nature of affray is extremely grave and is considered criminal and thus it does not allow to go scot-free.
(3)Affray is considered as an easily detectable/identifiable offense
(4)A fight is a necessary constituent of an affray
General laws for affray/dueling in Rhode Island:
Section 11-12-1- Engaging in a duel (applies to every person who shall voluntarily engage in a duel)
Section 11-12-2 - Challenging or accepting the challenge to a duel (applies to every person who shall challenge another to fight a duel and every person who shall accept a challenge to fight such duel)
Section 11-12-3 - Duel without state resulting in death within state
Section 11-12-4 - Seconding fatal duel outside the state
Section 11-12-5 - Plea of former jeopardy. (the affrayer may plead a former conviction of the same offense in the country in which the duel was fought)
Section 11-12-6 - Fighting by appointment (applies to every person who shall, by the previous appointment meet another person and engage in a fight)
Section 11-12-7 - Aiding fight by appointment (applies to affrayer who aid, encourage and promote an affray)
Section 11-12-8 - Leaving state to fight by appointment (applies to affrayer who leave the state and engage in a fight with another person outside the limits of the state)
Section 11-12-9 - Arrest of fighters (immediate arrest of the person/s involved in affray by the police)
Penalties and punishments concerned with affray in Rhode Island:
Section 11-12-1: imprisonment not for not more than seven years nor less than one year.
Section 11-12-2: imprisonment not for not more than seven years nor less than one year.
Section 11-12-3: trial and conviction within the country which the death shall happen.
Section 11-12-4: trial and conviction within the country in which the death shall happen
Section 11-12-5: The offender may plead a former conviction of the same offense in the county in which the affray was fought, and that plea, if admitted, shall bar all further proceedings against the person for the same offense within this state.
Section 11-12-6: imprisonment for not more than ten years or be fined not exceeding five thousand dollars.
Section 11-12-7: imprisonment for not more than ten years or be fined not exceeding five thousand dollars.
Section 11-12-8: imprisonment not more than five years or be fined not exceeding five thousand dollars and shall be convicted and sentenced in any country in this state.
Section 11-12-9: immediate arrest and detainment of the offender until a warrant can be obtained for his arrest.