First offence penalties for Affray

First offence Affray charge – Often the offence of affray is committed by people with no criminal record.  Most of the people involved in the Cronulla riots were charged with affray and were first time offenders. 

Generally the penalties imposed by a court for a first offence affray charge are less than for previous offenders. The reasons for a reduction in penalty may include:

  • Good character
  • Need for rehabilitation
  • Greater remorse
  • Extra curial punishment – The effect that a harsh penalty may have upon someone’s employment, travel and membership with associations

It is possible for all offenders charged with affray and public violence to avoid a criminal conviction if the court makes an order under section 10 Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act. However, a first offender is far more likely to receive a section 10 than a repeat offender.

The table below outlines the percentage of section 10’s issued to first offenders for affray and public violence type offences against all other penalties imposed. Obviously, the more serious the offence the lower the percentage.

For more serious offences, where a section 10 is unlikely or unavailable, we have listed the average jail term for first offences.


Offence Percentage of first offenders who get a section 10 Average jail term for first offenders
Affray 25%
Start Bushfire 12-18 months
Violent Disorder 41%

If you would like us to advise you on your chances of obtaining a section 10 for an affray and public violence offence, please contact us.


If you suspect that you may be under investigation, or if you have been charged with an offence, it is vital to get competent legal advice as early as possible. Our lawyers are highly specialised in criminal law and will be able to guide you through the process while dealing with the various authorities related to your matter.


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