What are Apprehended Violence Orders?

An Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) is an order made by the court that prohibits certain behavior of the person against whom the AVO is sought. An Apprehended Violence Order is designed to protect the person making the complaint from future harassment, intimidation, stalking or violence.

There are 2 types of Apprehended Violence Orders:

Apprehended Domestic Violence Order (ADVO)

An order taken against someone that you have or had a close intimate relationship with. These types of relationships are indicated by the use of the term ‘domestic’. These types of order are usually taken against a family member, spouse or ex spouse or other type of intimate partner

Apprehended Personal Violence Order (APVO)

Is used for protection from someone other than family members or current or former spouses, such as, neighbours, work colleagues or strangers.

Further reference to AVO includes both these types.

An Apprehended Violence Order often states that the person cannot assault, harass, threaten, stalk, intimidate, or go within a certain distance of the home or workplace of the person lodging the complaint.  But these limitations are not limited. The court can also impose any orders it deems necessary.

How long does an AVO last?

An AVO will last for the specified period and this period will be expressed on the AVO. The Magistrate can impose an AVO for as long as they see fit for the protection of the complainant. The typical duration periods for AVOs are 6 months, 1 year or 2 years.

What should I do if someone is seeking an AVO against me?

A private complainant must appear under oath before a Chamber Registrar and explain why an AVO is required. The Chamber Registrar may refuse to issue a summons for an AVO if they believe that the complainant’s case is frivolous, vexatious or has no reasonable prospect of success. If the Chamber Registrar believes an AVO may be required, they will issue a summons, which can be served by the police.

A police officer can be a complainant and seek an AVO on behalf of another person, such as the spouse in a claim of domestic violence. When a complainant seeks an AVO against you, you will receive a summons to appear before the local court.

If you receive a summons to appear in the local court regarding an AVO, it is important that you attend. If you fail to attend on the required day, without an acceptable reason, the court may grant the AVO in your absence.

When you appear in court, you may consent to the AVO, without admitting you have done anything wrong. This simply means you need to comply with the conditions set by the court. If you do not consent to the AVO, your matter will be adjourned until the court can hear evidence from both sides and determine whether an AVO should in fact be granted.

At the hearing, you may bring witnesses to support your arguments that an AVO should not be granted. The complainant, or police officer on behalf of the complainant, will need to prove that the protected person fears physical violence, harassment, intimidation or stalking by the person against whom the AVO is sought and that it is reasonable for them to be fearful under the circumstances.

The burden of proof is lower for an application for an AVO than for other criminal matters. Instead of the complainant having to prove their fear beyond reasonable doubt, they need to prove it on the balance of probabilities.

Any witnesses for the complainant can be cross-examined by yourself or you legal team. This process is the same for any witnesses that you may bring to court to support your argument; they can be cross-examined by the police prosecutor or complainant’s solicitor. Once all the evidence has been presented and submissions made, the magistrate will then decide whether or not to grant an AVO on the basis of the evidence. Court costs may be awarded to the unsuccessful party.

When an AVO is granted it is important to remember that you do not have a criminal conviction or criminal record. Instead, a record of the AVO is kept on a police database for future reference during the time period that the AVO is in force.

What happens if I breach an AVO?

A breach of an AVO occurs when you engage in any conduct which the AVO expressly prohibits. If this occurs the police can arrest you for the breach.

Contravening an Apprehended Violence Order NSW or anywhere in Australia is a serious criminal offence with the possibility of a gaol sentence. As a result, you may need legal representation from criminal lawyers who have expertise in the laws surrounding AVOs and know how they will apply to you.

Penalty for breaching an AVO

The maximum penalty for breaching an AVO is a fine of $5 500 and/or imprisonment for up to two years.

Having an AVO against you may become a significant limitation on your freedom and should not be taken lightly. Arrange a meeting with a partner at Benjamin & Leonardo Criminal Defence Lawyers and get you first conference FREE!

An AVO may not be a problem now, but it might become one in the future if you are found to breach an AVO. You may not realize at the time how it affects you, but it can have devastating consequences. To make sure you understand everything, seek a legal representation who can explain everything to you step-by-step.

If an AVO is issued that says you may not approach the protected person, or their workplace or place of residence and the protected person invites you into their home, while the AVO is still in place, you can be found to breach the AVO, which is a criminal offence.

This shows that having a legal representative explain such details to you can prevent any future problems.

Benjamin & Leonardo have experience and expertise in defending clients against AVOs and for the breach of AVOs. Benjamin & Leonardo Criminal Defence Lawyers will be able to give you honest and reliable legal advice. Contact our office today and arrange a FREE conference regarding your case.

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