AVO: A Restraining Order
Have you been in a fight with your partner, neighbour, relative, or anyone in a domestic environment? Have you ever been charged with a common assault and also have an Apprehended Violence Order (‘AVO’) taken out against you?
In many cases, it is common that an AVO and common assault charge are put on by police at the same time. This is because whilst an AVO does carry with it a binding authority for a person not to commit any acts of violence upon a person, an AVO itself is not a criminal offence.
Here is what you need to know about AVOs.
AVOs have a number of standard and additional conditions depending on the perceived seriousness of the domestic violence incident.
The standard conditions of an AVO relate to you refraining from doing the following to the victim or anyone they have a domestic relationship with:
- Assaulting or threatening;
- Stalking, harassing or intimidating; and
- Intentionally or recklessly destroying or damaging any property that belongs to or is in the possession of the victim.
This means that, along with the victim, you cannot do any of the above to their relatives, room-mates, children or anyone else who they may live with.
There are additional conditions that can be put on the AVO such as refraining you from:
- Residing at premises the victim also resides at, or other specified premises;
- Entering the victim’s premises, their workplace, or other specified premises;
- Going within a certain distance from the victim, their premises, workplace, or other specified premises;
- Approaching the victim within a certain time after consuming drugs and/or alcohol;
- Contacting the victim, except through a lawyer or as agreed to in writing or ordered by the court;
- Approaching the school or other premises at which the victim may go to for educational or childcare purposes; or
- Having firearms licences or related licences (eg. weapons licences);
AVO follows the event
A common phrase that the courts like to use is “an AVO follows the event”. This means that the substantive criminal matter must first be dealt with before a court considers whether or not to press the AVO.
If you are successful in defending your criminal charge, then a court may dismiss the AVO. However, if you are unsuccessful, or should you wish to plead guilty to the substantive criminal charge(s), then a court must deal with the AVO and decide the conditions of and length that the AVO is to apply.
An AVO is not a criminal charge. However, a breach of an AVO is a criminal offence. If you breach any condition of your AVO then a court may impose a maximum penalty of up to two (2) years imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $5,500.
If the breach involves any form of violence, then the law mandates provides that the mandatory punishment is a jail term.
If you find yourself charged with a criminal offence and/or an AVO taken out against you, JB Solicitors can help you. Do not hesitate to contact our office to discuss your next steps.