What is the Law on affray in West Virginia and What are the Punishments for it?
Affray is an offense because it involves unlawful fighting or disruption of public peace. In legal terms, it is an indictable offense. In order to prove the charge of affray, the prosecutor has to show that the accused was involved in a brawl or a fight that terrified a bystander of a reasonable firmness of mind. In other words, there was an unlawful use of force by the accused and the nature of the force was terrifying to a bystander. Affray is dealt under disorderly conduct in many U.S. States.
Just as other states have laws on disorderly conduct, West Virginia also has laws on this subject. The definition of disorderly conduct and the requirements for the same, however, varies from state to state. Generally, disorderly conduct is interpreted as obnoxious or unruly conduct in a public place.
Despite each states’ definition of disorderly conduct, the common elements in disorderly conduct can include public intoxication and disturbance of the peace. In Virginia, disorderly conduct may be found within the category of crimes that relate to the disturbance of peace and order. Within this category, there are several other crimes such as picketing of dwelling places, insulting and abusive language, riot and unlawful assembly and other crimes of similar nature.
Laws against Disorderly Conduct in West Virginia
The legal language is difficult to interpret for a layman. If you read the actual statute, you may not entirely comprehend because the language used in the statutes tends to be hard to understand with legal jargons. Therefore, we have summarized the statute in an easy to understand language so that you might understand the law better.
The important details on laws against disorderly conduct in West Virginia are summarized below. The Statute being referred to here is Virginia Code on Disorderly Conduct in Public Places under the Code Section 18.2-415.
Prohibitions Under the Code
A person in Virginia including West Virginia is prohibited to intentionally cause pubic public inconvenience or public alarm or public annoyance. They are also prohibited to create a risk recklessly while engaging in the acts identified below:
- Engage in conduct while in a public place that is directly likely to cause an act of violence by the people the act is directed at;
- Engage in an act intentionally or wilfully or while intoxicated that causes disruption of a place of worship, school, or a literary society, or a meeting of a government meeting, memorial service funeral or any lawful assembly in a way that either (1) interferes with the meeting, or memorial service, or the orderly conduct of the funeral or the lawful assembly or (2) is in the nature of direct tendency to cause an act of violence by the people, the disruption is targeted at.
- Engage in an act wilfully or intentionally or while intoxicated that disrupts a school or a school activity so that the orderly conduct of the school or the school-sponsored activity is disrupted or the act has a direct tendency to react with violence by the people the disruption is targeted at.
Punishments for Disorderly Conduct in West Virginia
Virginia’s including West Virginia’s disorderly conduct laws when violated results in Class 1 misdemeanor. This offense is punishable by a maximum of 12 month’s jail term and/or a maximum fine of $2,500.
Other Similar Statutes
In addition to the above Statute, there are other related Statutes in Virginia, including West Virginia. Riot and unlawful assembly are dealt under Section 18.2-404, abusive and insulting language is dealt under Section 18.2-416, picketing of dwelling places is dealt under Section 18.2-418, and activities tending to cause violence are dealt under Section 18.2-420.