If you are named as a defendant in an apprehend violence matter, you should speak with a criminal defence lawyer as soon as possible for advice on your legal position and the best steps to take to ensure your rights are protected. George Sten & Co have decades of experience in defending people charged with crimes as well as AVO matters.
If there is a history of violence between you and the person for whom an application for an AVO is filed to protect, the court will take this into consideration in deciding whether or not to make an AVO.
If an application for an AVO is filed and a court makes the AVO, this does not mean that you have a criminal conviction or criminal record. An apprehended violence matter is not a criminal matter but a civil matter. AVO matters do not become criminal matters unless the AVO is breached by you/the person against whom the AVO is made.
There are however two relevant effects of an AVO being made against you. Firstly, if you are working or apply for a position in child related employment, the employer must do a ‘working with children’ check. If you have an AVO made against you, this will show up in the working with children check and may affect your employment or employment prospects.
Further, if an AVO is made against you, you will be unable to obtain or have a firearms license for the duration of the AVO and for 10 years after the AVO has elapsed. This may therefore effect those who work in a position where it is a requirement to carry or be able to carry a firearm.
There are 3 ways in which an application can be filed in a court for an Apprehended Violence Order (AVO). Firstly, a person who fears for their own safety may make an application for an AVO. Secondly, a guardian of a person for whose protection the order would be made can make an application. Thirdly, an application can be filed by a police officer.
Contravening an AVO
Whilst there is no conviction recorded if an AVO is made against you, if you breach the conditions of the AVO, the police may arrest you and charge you with a criminal offence. Contravening an Apprehended Violence Order is an offence under Section 14 of the Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act 2007. Under this Act, if you knowingly contravene a prohibition or restriction specified in an AVO made against you, you will be guilty of an offence and liable to 2 years imprisonment or 50 penalty units ($5,500), or both.
If however you were not served with a copy of the AVO and were not present in court when the order was made, you may not be guilty of contravening the AVO.
If you had to contravene an AVO in order to attend mediation relevant to the AVO, you may also not be guilty of contravening the AVO. You may also not be guilty if contravening the AVO was done in compliance with the terms of a property recovery order.
If you have been charged with contravening an AVO, it is essential to speak with a criminal defence lawyer as soon as possible.
Contravene or attempt to Contravene AVO – Violent Act
If you are convicted of contravening an AVO and the act which constituted the contravention was an act of violence against a person, the court is obligated to send you to prison. This won’t apply however if at the time of the act you were under the age of 18. Even attempting to commit an offence which would constitute a contravention of an AVO amounts to an offence of contravening an AVO.
The Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act refers to ‘serious offences’. A serious offence in this context refers to:
If you are charged with any of the above ‘serious offences’ the court will make an order against you for the protection of the person against whom the offence appears to have been committed whether or not an application for an AVO has been made. In other words, if you are charged with any of the above offences, the court will order that you be at least restricted from being in any form of contact with the person against whom the offence is alleged to have been committed.
For more information and to speak with an expert criminal defence lawyer, call George Sten & Co Criminal Lawyers on (02) 9261 8640 or 0412 423 569. We are available 24 hours a day and can assist with your matter.