AVO - Apprehended Violence Order
Apprehended Violence Orders are serious matters and come before the Courts frequently. Having an AVO taken out against you can lead to grave consequences.
Being the subject of an AVO can impact your close relationships, your reputation, your future job prospects and your ability to travel to some countries may also be impacted.
Having an Apprehended Violence Order in place against you does not mean you have a criminal record, however, to contravene or breach an AVO may lead to a criminal charge.
If you plead guilty or are found guilty of breaching an AVO it will result in a criminal record unless you receive the benefit of Section 10 or a non-conviction Conditional Release Order under the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act
Can I dispute an AVO?
Before going to Court, you should seek legal advice so that you fully understand what will happen if you consent to an Apprehended Violence Order and what will happen if you decide to dispute or defend the AVO application.
At the first Court date, you will be asked whether you consent to the orders being sought. If you wish to challenge the AVO, the matter will be adjourned to a later date for a “show cause” hearing. If the matter is defended an Interim Order will usually be put in place until the matter is finalised.
Can an AVO be dropped?
It depends if the AVO is a private AVO (made by the complainant) or a Police AVO. If a private AVO, then the complainant can withdraw the AVO. If the latter, it is in the Police hands and it cannot be withdrawn at the complainant’s request.
Can the Police withdraw an AVO?
Police policy requires the Police to press charges against an accused related to a domestic violence offence. The Police may press charges by using Police observations only and don’t necessarily require a statement from the person in need of protection. The Police can rely only on the 000 call (for example).
The reason for this is to protect legitimate victims of domestic violence who would then defend their abuser after the offence was committed. The victim could withdraw the AVO, only for the abuser to commit a domestic violence offence again. For this reason, the Police are empowered to act on behalf of the alleged victim. Unfortunately, this makes the situation difficult when a false or illegitimate complaint has been made
When may the Police drop an AVO?
- Where the protected person has not made a statement and/or where evidence is insufficient to substantiate making an AVO;
- Where the protected person has moved outside of NSW and has no more reason for an AVO;
- Where the protected person can be shown to be telling lies.
Note that it is not that easy to withdraw an AVO. The Police will not withdraw an AVO simply because the person in need of protection has changed their mind. Even if 1 of the above 3 circumstances are present, the AVO may still be made.
How do I withdraw an (Private) AVO?
You need to complete and lodge an “Application to Vary or Revoke Apprehended Violence Order” Form which is available from the Local Court (not available online).
After filing the form the Court Registry will list the application for a mention date when the Registrar or Magistrate will consider the Application.
What happens if the other party objects?
If the other party objects to the application to vary or revoke the Apprehended Violence Order you will be required to prepare written statements as to your position. The Application will then be listed for hearing where either you, the protected person and any witnesses will be able to give oral evidence.
What are the implications of an AVO?
If you have an AVO, you will not be able to hold a firearms licence for 10 years. You may also be prevented from working in the security industry and obtaining a security licence.
Will an AVO appear on my criminal record?
However, if there is an associated charge (e.g. common assault), then in the event that you are convicted on that charge you will receive a criminal record.
What happens if I breach an AVO?
If you have breached an AVO, you have two options.
1 - PLEAD NOT GUILTY. To be charged with this offence, the Police or applicant must prove that you knowingly contravened a restriction or prohibition specified in an AVO. If it cannot be proven beyond reasonable doubt that you knowingly breached the AVO, then you will be found “not guilty” of the offence.
Even if it can be proved that you knowingly contravened the AVO there are a number of defences available, and you may still be found “not guilty” if these can be established.
2 - PLEAD GUILTY. If you agree with the charges made against you, it is in your best interest to plead guilty. Pleading guilty will show remorse and contrition to the Court and may entitle you to a discount on your sentence.
The maximum penalties for breaching an AVO is 2 year’s imprisonment and/or a $5,500 fine, however, contravening an Apprehended Violence Order is often dealt with pursuant to Section 10 or Section 9 of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act with no conviction recorded.
If there are aggravating factors involved in the breach of AVO such as stalking, intimidation assault or violence, unless the Court orders otherwise, a jail term is not unusual.
We are here to help
Fourtree Lawyers have extensive experience assisting clients on the Central Coast with matters related to Apprehended Violence Orders in Court.
Our lawyers can explain and guide you through the entire Court process and work with you to minimise the legal ramifications of your offence.
Instructing a lawyer to act on your behalf will ensure you fully understand your position and your options and will assist you in getting the best possible results for your particular case.
Contact our Central Coast Lawyers on 1300 529 444 as soon as possible. The earlier we can start building a strong case for you, the higher your chance of getting a good outcome.
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In NSW the following penalties can be imposed by the Court for breaching an AVO:
- Section 10 (1)(a)
- Section 10 (1)(c)
- Conditional Release Order - without conviction
- Section 10A
- Fine of up to $5,500
- Conditional Release order - with conviction
- Community Correction Order
- Intensive Correction Order
- Up to 2 year’s imprisonment
To find out which likely penalties apply call our AVO specialists 0n 1300 529 444 for a free case assessment
If you have been charged with Contravene an AVO we will make submissions to the Court outlining the reasons for the breach including any exceptional circumstances particular to your case.
Possible defences for breaching an AVO may include.
- Duress - where the applicant threatens you to make contact and breach the AVO
- Necessity - where the breach of AVO happened to attend mediation or recover property
- Self-defence - where you needed to breach the AVO to defend your children or your property
To find out if any of these defences apply call our AVO specialists 0n 1300 529 444 for a free case assessment
Kevin and Jane are without a doubt 100% there to support you through Your whole ordeal reassuring you all the way My experience from finding Fourtree Lawyers on Google in a fairly unsure position, reading the reviews to the successful outcomes was the only referral I had, believe me when I say you will be happy with their experience in all fields of law which is insurmountable and they will obtain the best favourable outcome in any circumstance. Fourtree Lawyers are there for you to bring things back into perspective...
“Kevin and Jane were my “knights in shining armour.” I can’t thank these two people enough. They gave their everything and most important believed me when I told them my story. I am forever grateful for their professional attitude and for giving 100% to free me from my nightmare. I was able to plead guilty but also most importantly was not forced to lie and compromise my integrity and own personal values and standards. I was very happy with the outcome and the way I was treated. They communicated constantly...
Had the most amazing experience with Fourtree Lawyers kevin vierboom who represented my partner was helpful and understanding and we got a great result better then expected ? jane hogan, I was so blessed to have her by my side. They are an amazing team and i would recommend them to everyone also great value for money. Especially considering i only called the morning of the court case and they were all over it at my bek and call thankyou so much guys im so appreciative for all your help today
I was lucky enough to have Kevin take my case and am truly grateful for the services he and his team provided. From the outset, I was made to feel comfortable and knew from the first time meeting with them that they would go above and beyond to get the best possible outcome and that is exactly what they did. Fourtree Lawyers provides exceptional service with outstanding results and I would recommend Kevin to anyone and everyone who is in need of these services.
Section 10(1)(b) | 2 x Contravene prohibition/restriction in AVO | Gosford District Court
Our client, a 19-year-old male who lives on the Central Coast with his grandmother, was charged with 2 x Contravene prohibition/restriction in AVO. The maximum penalty for this offence is 2 years imprisonment and a fine of $5,500.
Our client grew up in a single parent household and suffered abuse when he visited his father every second weekend. Our client has taken extensive steps to try and recover from the abuse. Our client is now an active member in society holding down two jobs and studying at TAFE. His family and employers regard him to be a compassionate and kind person. Our client had initially represented himself in court and the Local Court Magistrate convicted our client and ordered a section 9 Good Behaviour Bond for a term of 2 years. He was most distressed to have a criminal conviction and came to us for help. We lodged a severity appeal to the District Court, Solicitor Kevin Vierboom made extensive submissions to support the appeal. Following consideration of these submissions, the Judge dismissed the charges and ordered a section 10(1)(b) Good Behaviour Bond for the term of 12 months.
Our client and his family were extremely relieved to have the original criminal conviction dismissed.
Charge Dismissed & AVO Withdrawn | Stalk/Intimidate | Gosford Local Court
Our client is a 26-year-old male who lives on the Central Coast. He is employed as a metal fabricator. He had been in a domestic relationship with a partner which had recently broken down.
After an evening out together in an attempt to reconcile the relationship a disagreement took place and the parties went their separate ways. It was alleged that later in the evening our client caused the other party to be fearful and he was charged with stalk/intimidate intend fear etc harm (domestic). This offence carries a maximum penalty of 2 years imprisonment and a $5,500 fine.
Our client instructed us that he was “not guilty” of this offence and the matter was set down for hearing. Solicitor Kevin Vierboom made submissions to the Magistrate that the Police had no evidence to support the allegations. The Police Prosecutor conceded that they had no evidence and the charge was dismissed and the AVO was withdrawn.
Our client was very happy to retain his clean criminal record and not have to deal with the consequences of an AVO.
Not Guilty, Charge dismissed | Contravene Apprehended Domestic Violence Order (ADVO) | Wyong Local Court
Our client, a Newcastle resident, was charged with contravene prohibition/restriction in AVO (domestic). The maximum penalty for this offence is 2 years imprisonment and a fine of $5,500.00.
Our Solicitor vigorously cross-examined the complainant as well as the Officer in Charge in this matter and, in his cross-examination, emphasised the lack of forensic evidence in relation to the alleged offence.
Following consideration of the matter, the Magistrate held that our client is not guilty, and the charge was dismissed. A Final AVO was made by consent on a without admission basis.
Our client was extremely relieved with the outcome of this case.
No conviction CRO | Stalk/Intimidate; Destroy or Damage Property | Gosford Local Court
Our client is a 30-year-old male who lives on the Central Coast. He is employed as a sports instructor for children with disabilities.
Our client’s partner ended their relationship abruptly. While attempting to collect his personal property in a carpark an altercation took place and our client was charged with destroying/damaging property and stalking/intimidation with intent to cause fear of physical/mental harm. These offences carry a maximum penalty of 5 years imprisonment. Solicitor Kevin Vierboom made submissions to the Magistrate that this was his first appearance before any court, our client's previous good character and his contribution to the community.
The Magistrate found our client guilty without recording a conviction and ordered that he enter a Conditional Release Order for 24 months. Our client was very relieved to retain an unblemished criminal record so that he could continue working with children.