Apprehended Violence Orders (AVOs) Lawyers in NSW
Our Criminal Law Team can assist you with matters related to apprehended violence orders (AVOs), we have the experience and expertise necessary to ensure you receive the best possible outcome.
We’ve been defending the people of Newcastle, Lake Macquarie, Central Coast and the Hunter region since 1969 and have helped our clients to achieve the best possible outcomes in all Criminal Law matters.
We are used to dealing with the Police and know all the ‘ins and outs’ of the Courts and Justice system.
If you are applying for an AVO, or defending one, contact our Criminal Law Team today to book a teleconference or appointment. We’ll fight vigorously to protect your freedom and rights.
What is an Apprehended Violence Order (AVO)?
An apprehended violence order (AVO) could refer to a:
- Apprehended Domestic Violence Order (ADVO); or
- Apprehended Personal Violence Order (APVO)
What is an Apprehended Domestic Violence Order (ADVO)?
An AVO that is issued when there is an existing family or domestic relationship between the Applicant and Defendant, i.e. spouse, parent, child or relative.
What is an Apprehended Personal Violence Order (APVO)?
An AVO that is issued when there is no existing family or domestic relationship between the Applicant and Defendant, i.e. co-worker, neighbour, acquaintance or friend.
What must be satisfied before applying for an AVO?
Prior to the Court making an ADVO or APVO, the Court must be satisfied:
That on the balance of probabilities the person in need of protection (PINOP) has reasonable grounds to fear and in fact fears:
- That the Defendant will commit a personal violence offence upon them; or
- That the Defendant will undertake conduct which intimidates or involves stalking that person or a person with whom he or she has a domestic relationship; and…
- Such conduct in the opinion of the Court is sufficient to warrant the making of the order.
The Court has no power to make orders against the PINOP unless the Defendant files a cross-application naming that person as a Defendant in a second Application. If this is done both matters will normally be heard by the Court at the same time.
An AVO hearing is not a criminal proceeding.
The protected person only needs to prove their case on the balance of probabilities, which is a lower standard than the criminal standard of beyond reasonable doubt.
The Court will not make an AVO unless they are satisfied on the balance of probabilities that the PINOP has:
- reasonable grounds to fear that they have been stalked or intimidated or have been the victim of a personal violence offence; and
- that that fear is reasonable in the circumstances; and
- the conduct that is feared justifies the making of an AVO.
Therefore if a defendant to an AVO wishes to contest the making of an AVO they must provide evidence to the Court that either:
- The PINOP does not fear the defendant, the PINOP has not been stalked by the Defendant and the PINOP has not been the victim of a personal violence offence; or
- The PINOP has no reasonable fear; or
- That the act relied upon by the PINOP does not justify the making of an AVO.
The Court will hear the evidence of both parties before making a determination about whether an AVO is necessary. All matters are determined on a case by case basis.
What happens if a Defendant is convicted of associated violence?
If a Defendant to an AVO is convicted of any associated violence, stalking or intimidation charge against the person seeking an AVO, the Court must make an AVO for the protection of that person.
A Court may also make an interim Order if the Court finds that it is “necessary or appropriate” to do so until a matter reaches a Final Hearing.
Will an AVO appear on a criminal history check?
As an AVO is not a criminal matter it will not normally appear on any criminal history check. It is however a criminal offence to breach an Interim or Final AVO. If you breach an AVO you face a maximum fine of $5,500 or imprisonment for two years, or both.
If you breach an AVO and that breach involved violence towards the protected person, the Court must firstly consider a sentence of imprisonment.
There are some other very significant consequences that come from an AVO, for example, defendants can be prevented from residing in, or restricted in approaching, their homes. Defendants must dispose of any firearms in their possession or surrender them to the police and a licence or a permit to possess a firearm must not be issued to a person who is, or who has, at any time within 10 years before the licence or permit application was made, been subject to an apprehended violence order (AVO). A firearms licence or a permit is also automatically suspended when an interim AVO is taken out against the licence or permit holder and automatically revoked if the interim AVO becomes final. This will be significant where the defendant requires a firearms licence for work, for example, defendants in rural areas or those who work as security guards. A defendant is also disqualified from serving on a jury for the duration of the AVO.
What happens when I am successful in AVO proceedings? Who pays the costs?
If you are successful in APVO proceedings, the Court may award a Costs Order against the other party for such costs that are just and reasonable.
What happens if I am named as a Defendant in an AVO?
If you are named as a Defendant in an AVO you will normally have the following options:
- Oppose the orders sought and the matter will be listed for a Hearing (a ‘show cause hearing’); or
- Accept the Orders sought without making any admissions to the allegations contained within the application (often referred to as ‘consenting without admissions’); or
- Negotiate ‘undertakings’ with the consent of the applicant whereby no formal AVO is made but you make certain promises to the Court about your future behaviour; or
- Make an application that your matter be referred to Mediation before the Community Justice Centre.
How will AVO matters proceed before a Court?
The NSW Government have prepared an overview of the AVO process.
A standard AVO will take three appearances before the Court.
On the first mention date, if the apprehended violence order is being contested the Applicant will be ordered to file with the Court copies of the Applicant’s own written statement, and any written statements of witnesses from whom the Applicant intends to call to give evidence at Hearing within two weeks.
The Defendant is then ordered to file copies of the Defendant’s own written statement, and any written statements of witnesses from whom the Defendant intends to call to give evidence at Hearing normally two weeks after the Applicant is ordered to file their statements.
The matter is then listed for a second mention to check that all statements have been filed. The second mention is normally one week after the Defendant is ordered to file their statements.
Subject to the interests of justice, on the second mention:
- If the Applicant has failed to comply with these directions the application may be struck out, or the Court may order the filing of the outstanding statements.
- If the Defendant has failed to comply with these directions, the matter may proceed on the evidence filed by the Applicant alone on the mention day, or the Court may order the filing of the outstanding statements.
- If neither party has complied with these directions the application may be dismissed.
- The Applicant must attend otherwise the application may be dismissed.
- The Defendant must attend otherwise an Order may be made against him/her.
- If both parties have complied with these directions the matter will be listed for hearing.
If all matters have been complied with, the matter will then be listed for a contested Hearing.
If you are an Applicant or a Defendant in an apprehended violence order (AVO), you should immediately obtain legal advice about your rights and the best way to progress your matter before the Court.
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If you are looking for further information on apprehended violence orders (AVOs), we hope the following links will help.
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