Distinction Between Affray, Riot, and Inciting a Riot!
There are many ways to violate the law in Georgia. For instance, did you know that if you are in a public place, fighting, you may be charged not only with assault and battery, but with affray as well? In Georgia, police officers and prosecutors like that stack as many crimes on a person as possible. Generally, we know much about assault and battery so this article is to familiarize you with the less known public order and safety crimes of Affray and Rioting.
What is affray?
Georgia code keeps the crime of Affray short and sweet. An affray is the fighting by two or more persons in some public place to the disturbance of the public tranquility. O.C.G.A. §16-11-32. This means that in order for the state to be successful of a crime of affray, they must prove that there was (1) an intent to fight, (2) by two or more people, and (3) in public. Singletary v. State, 310 Ga. App. 570, (2011), Watson v. State, 261 Ga. App. 562 (2003). Two important things to note is that in order to have satisfy the affray, there must be an intent to fight. Fighting in self-defense, or having a reflex would not satisfy Affray. O’Connor v. State, 255 Ga. App. 893, 567 S.E.2d 29 (2002). Also, the fighting must be in a public place; fighting inside of your private home is not affray.
What is a riot?
Just as affray, committing the offense of a riot is another offense to public order under Georgia’s criminal code. Riot, is very similar to affray, but has some significant differences. Riot occurs when any two or more persons who shall do an unlawful act of violence or any other act in a violent and tumultuous manner commit the offense of riot. O.C.G.A § 16-11-30. Therefore, to constitute riot, there must not only be a common intent to do an unlawful act on the part of two or more persons, or some act in a violent manner, but also concert of action. Jemley v. State, 121 Ga. 346, (1904), Coney v. State, 113 Ga. 1060, (1901);?Dixon v. State, 105 Ga. 787, 31 (1898); Walker v. State, 17 Ga.App. 525, (1916). Another essential difference between riot and his sister affray is that a riot can occur anywhere, in public or private, whereas affray cannot.
What is inciting a riot?
Inciting a riot is the adopted brother to riot. Inciting a riot is when a person who with intent to riot does an act or engages in conduct which urges, counsels, or advises others to riot, at a time and place and under circumstances which produce a clear and present danger of a riot, commits the offense of inciting to riot. O.C.G.A § 16-11-31. Simply put, inciting a riot occurs when a person instigates a riot.
Affray, riot, and inciting a riot are all misdemeanors. This mean the maximum penalty for these offenses are 1-12 months and/or a fine. If you have multiple convictions of either of these offenses, your punishment can increase to up to 5 years.
Charged with Affray, Riot, or Inciting a Riot?
Whatever your charge may be, you can expect no leniency, vigorous prosecution and, often, minimum mandatory terms of imprisonment. If you have been charged with any offense then you will greatly benefit from the legal assistance from a Bixon Law attorney. We are a criminal defense law firm that is dedicated to serving those who have been accused of criminal activities. We will be able to answer your questions regarding your case, discuss your options with you, advise you of the best legal action for you to take and provide you with aggressive representation of your case in court if you choose to work with us. Contact Bixon Law to discuss your charges and how our firm can help you.