New South Wales and Queensland law allow people in certain types of relationships to obtain restrictive orders against others when prescribed preconditions are met.
In NSW, these orders are called Apprehended Violence Orders (AVO), and in QLD it called Domestic Violence Orders (DVO).
Although having one of these orders made against you is not a criminal offence if you are subject to one your life is completely controlled by the person in whose favour that order is made. If you are not careful, they can manipulate the system to their advantage. For example, it is quite common to hear stories of one party to a broken relationship seeking an order against the other so that he or she might gain custody of the children or sole occupancy of the family home.
The pain doesn't stop there though. Domestic violence offences are now being treated very seriously by courts. In New South Wales section 14(4) of the Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act 2007 states that if you are charged with breaching an Apprehended Violence Order and you are alleged to have used violence when breaching that order, imprisonment must be imposed - regardless of whether or not its your first time before the courts. In Queensland, in the case of R v Fairbrother  QCA 105 the Court of Appeal has said:
"Perpetrators of serious acts of domestic violence must know that society will not tolerate such behaviour. They can expect the courts to impose significant sentences of imprisonment."
Of course, these issues only arise once bail has been granted, and that will often be difficult to obtain in such matters.
Has a DVO or AVO been made against you?
So what do you do? Well if you are served with any type of application for an AVO or DVO it must be dealt with forcefully. Being an experienced lawyer, I always conduct detailed preparation for the first court appearance because it is then that the court will decide whether or not to make a temporary or interim order until the hearing occurs to determine whether a final order should be imposed. That final hearing might take many months to occur. If a temporary order is made prohibiting your contact with your children for that long, your relationship with them may be irreparably damaged.
Breach of DVO / AVO
If you are charged with a breach of an order, imprisonment can only be avoided through the use of an experienced criminal lawyer who can encourage the court to find the offending less serious than alleged, or simply defeat the charge completely.
Speak to an experienced lawyer
Don't delay, you need to speak with a lawyer experienced in domestic violence matters as soon as possible to protect your rights. Contact McMillan Criminal Law today. Call or book an appointment for our Brisbane or Gold Coast office.