Criminal Offences

Apprehended Domestic Violence Order

Apprehended Domestic Violence Order (ADVO) is a type of Apprehended Violence Order (AVO), which is issued by the Court in order to protect the complainant from future harassment, abuse (verbal, physical, emotional), stalking, intimidation with an intent to harm, and any such behaviour of the offender. ADVO is issued against someone that you have or have shared a close relationship with. These types of orders are usually taken against family members, spouse, ex-spouse, or any other intimate partner.

If you have been charged with domestic violence offence, the magistrate will issue a temporary ADVO against you. If your charge is proven by the Court, meaning, if you’re found guilty in the Court, the magistrate will finalise ADVO against you. This final ADVO move will include below listed three mandatory conditions:

  1. The offender must not assault or threaten the person for whom an ADVO (protection) is granted.
  2. The offender must not stalk, harass or intimidate the protected person.
  3. The offender must not destroy or cause any damage to the property of the protected person.

What’s important here is to note that aside from the victim, the aforementioned three conditions will cover anyone who has a ‘domestic relationship’ – with the victim. Also, one must know that the Court’s orders aren’t limited to only these conditions and may also include prohibitions and restrictions like:

  1. Going near the victim protected under ADVO.
  2. Going near the victim’s household or their workplace.
  3. Going near the protected person within 12 hours of consuming alcohol or other illicit substances.
  4. Contacting or communicating with them through any direct or indirect means, or tracking their movements.

The Court can declare any orders and conditions that is deemed necessary to maintain the protection and continued safety of the victim. However, the person against whom the ADVO is issued must know that under Sect 14 of Crimes (Domestic And Personal Violence) Act 2007, contravening an Apprehended Domestic Violence Order or Apprehended Violence Order is a criminal offence as it is a breach of a Court order.

Also, note that if a person receives a summons to appear before the Local Court regarding an ADVO, it is imperative that the person attends the court on that day. Failing to do so without any acceptable reason might result in court granting an ADVO in the absence of the person against whom the order is sought.

For more information in relation to AVO or AVDOs, contact our Sydney based AVO lawyers to schedule a consultation.


Contravening an ADVO by engaging in any unlawful activities prohibited in the ADVO issued against you. While an ADVO is not a criminal charge, breaching this Court order in NSW is a serious criminal offence which can result in a gaol sentence. Should you find yourself in this situation, you will need the help of best criminal defence lawyers in Sydney with expertise in AVO laws to work out the options that best apply to your case.

Breaching an ADVO/AVO can lead to the maximum penalty of $5,500 fine and/or imprisonment for up to 2 years. Needless to say, being issued with an ADVO puts limitations on your freedom and hence and shouldn’t be taken lightly.

However, there are other types of penalties that are less severe in nature as well that the Court may decide to grant. Some of these types of penalties include a Section 10 dismissal in which no criminal conviction is recorded, home detention, suspended sentence, good behaviour bonds, Conditional Release Order (CRO), fines, Community Correction Order (CCO) or an Intensive Correction Order (ICO).

If you or anyone you know has been charged with breaching and ADVO or ADVO, it is advisable to speak to an experienced AVO lawyer at an early stage to benefit from realistic advice and practical steps.

Reach out to the expert team of criminal defence lawyers at Benjamin Leonardo –The Defenders to schedule a consultation.


In order to be found guilty of breach of ADVO, the prosecution will have to prove the following beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • You knowingly broke a restriction or prohibition specified in the ADVO issued to you by the court.
  • You must have been served a copy of the ADVO or were present in the court when the ADVO was made.
  • The ADVO is nationally recognised.
  • Either one or both parties were present in NSW at the time of the breach. In case you weren’t in NSW at the time of order breach, then your case would be referred to the jurisdiction of the place you were located at the time of the breach by NSW police.

Contravening an Apprehended Domestic Violence Order or Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) is regarded as a serious criminal offence in the Court chiefly because it is a breach of Court order, which makes the accused a threat not only to the person needing protection but also to the community at large.

If you have been charged with the criminal offence of breaching an ADVO, contact Benjamin Leonardo – The Defenders for a consultation.


If you plead not guilty to the breach of the ADVO, you will have to prove that you weren’t aware of the terms of the ADVO. The prosecution will do its job of prove without a reasonable doubt that you did commit the breach of the order “knowingly”. If the prosecution successfully proves its charges, then you will be penalised accordingly.

However, at Benjamin Leonardo – The Defenders, our Sydney based team of criminal defence lawyers have achieved positive results for clients in such situations. To keep you protected from conviction, our domestic violence lawyers will use their rich experience of 29 years to challenge the allegations made against you with the below-explained defence strategies. If our lawyers are successful at securing you a win, there are chances the Court may completely dismiss the charges against you, and you may no longer be penalised. It may also reduce the severity of penalties or downgrade the entire case to a less significant charge which will prove favourable than imprisonment.


Some of the defence strategies that usually apply to the matters relating to the breach of ADVO are:

Self-Defence: Self-Defence is a defence strategy whereby the person accused needs to prove before the Court that they caused the breach to defend themselves, or fearing the safety of their property or another person.

Duress: Duress is a defence strategy legally defined as unlawful coercion, which means that a third party was forcefully made to partake in an activity (a breach in this case) that they would normally not participate in, by use of harmful threats and force.

Necessity: A difficult to prove defence strategy, Necessity is applicable only if the person accused of the offence successfully proves that they acted out of fearing an imminent danger to their life, or severe bodily harm. What’s also important to note here is that the act of the offence committed must be in proportion to the threat of the danger faced by the person accused.

Inadvertently (Accidentally) breached: If you were not aware of the terms of the ADVO, or have accidentally breached the ADVO issued against you, for example- if you walked in to a property or a public place without knowing that the protected person is also present in the place, then it would be a suitable defence strategy.


Domestic Violence Offence and ADVO cases are generally dealt with in a Local Court. While we are a Parramatta and Sydney based criminal law firm, Benjamin Leonardo – The Defenders have a wealth of experience in defending criminal cases all over NSW. Therefore, we are able to effectively represent our clients regardless of the location. For a full list of Local Courts and to find the closest to you, click here.