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

Affray is a criminal offense which is the fight involving two or more people leading to the breach of peace. The origin of the offense is traced to Common Law. It has become a Statutory crime in some jurisdictions. Under the common law definition, an agreement to fight is not an element of a crime, but in some jurisdictions, an affray can take place only when two or more people agree to fight in a space that is public.

An affray is a part of the disorderly conduct leading to the breach of the peace. In other words, an affray is an act or a conduct that causes the breach of peace. An affray resulting in conviction is punishable with a prison term or a fine or both.

Vermont Disorderly Conduct

If you are obnoxiously drunk in public, it may not appear transgression to you and perhaps may not constitute an offense, if you maintain sobriety but if your behavior after getting obnoxiously drunk is likely to disturb public peace, it would result in the offense of disorderly conduct.

Vermont Affray Law
If you are in Vermont, and if your drinking behavior is a threat to public safety, it would be construed as a violation of public safety. According to Vermont disorderly conduct laws, it is a crime to intentionally annoy others or cause inconvenience to others in public. The Vermont police can apprehend you so as to keep you from causing this unruly conduct.

Vermont Disorderly Conduct: Different Degrees

In Vermont, there is not just a single disorderly conduct law, but also a law that punishes the aggravated level of crime. Under certain circumstances, the law on Vermont disorderly conduct is enhanced to an aggravated level of an aggravated disorderly conduct charge.

The punishment under “aggravated disorderly conduct” nearly doubles the jail term and fine, in comparison to the first time offenders. Even second offenders receive much stiffer sentences.

Code Sections

Disorderly Conduct: 13 V.S.A. §1026

Aggravated Disorderly Conduct: 13 V.S.A. §1026a:

Prohibitions under Vermont Disorderly Conduct Laws

Under Vermont disorderly conduct laws, there are certain conditions when a person is guilty of the offense of disorderly conduct.

Affray Law Vermont
When a person intentionally causes public inconvenience or annoyance by the following means, the person is said to have breached the public peace resulting in disorderly conduct:

  • Threatening behavior, engaging in violent behavior, engaging in fighting.
  • Causing unreasonable noise.
  • Use of abusive language or obscene language.
  • Causing disturbance to lawful assembly or meeting of a person without lawful authority.
  • Obstruction caused to pedestrian or vehicular traffic

Aggravated Disorderly Conduct

There is an enhanced version of this crime under Vermont disorderly conduct laws. A person can be found to be guilty of aggravated disorderly conduct if his or her conduct is specifically directed at someone and the intention of the offender is to cause the victim annoyance or inconvenience or the intention of the offender is to disturb the victim’s peace or right of privacy. The person engages in criminal behavior like:

  • Fighting or in violent behavior or threatening behavior
  • Creation of unreasonable noise
  • Use of abusive and obscene language in public, or
  • Making threats of bodily harm or injury including serious bodily injury or threatening to commit a violent felony crime
Affray Law

Penalties for Disorderly Conduct and Aggravated Disorderly Conduct

  • Someone convicted of disorderly conduct can land in prison for a maximum of 60days or fined an amount of up to $500 or both.
  • The imprisonment for aggravated disorderly conduct could extend up to 180 days while the fine amount can add up to $2000, and the punishment can include both incarceration and the fine.
  • The second or subsequent offender of the disorderly conduct may face punishment extending up to 120 days in prison, while their fine could be a maximum of $1000 and the offender may have to undergo the jail term as well as fine.
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