The term ‘AVO’ is the common abbreviation for Apprehended Violence Order. It is essentially an order put in place to protect an individual from another violent, abusive or threatening person towards them.
The purpose of this article is to discuss some of the most commonly asked questions regarding AVO’s – such as ‘What Is An AVO?, and How To Get An AVO?’
What Is An AVO?
An apprehended violence order, or ‘AVO’ for short, is an instrument put in place against an individual to restrict or prohibit them from contacting, coming near, or doing other things to the person who requires the protection of the order. An AVO comes in the form of either a private AVO or police AVO, and the person served with one is required to appear in Court, whereas a police prosecutor represents the protected person.
What Does An AVO Practically Accomplish?
The first step in answering the question of ‘How to get an AVO’ is determining whether you meet the eligibility requirements to obtain an Apprehended Violence Order.
Where domestic relationships are concerned, the standard terms of an Apprehended Violence Order will restrain someone from doing the following:
- Stalking, harassing or intimidating
- Making threats or committing an assault
- Damaging or destroying property that belongs to the victim
These are the main objectives of an AVO. These are all already crimes – however, having an AVO in place will make it so that the consequences of a breach of these conditions will result in more significant penalties for the offender.
Additional Consequences Of An Apprehended Violence Order
In addition to the main objectives highlighted above, an AVO will also restrict an individual from the following:
- Residing with the victim.
- Approaching the victim whilst under the influence of any substances, such as drugs and alcohol.
- Directly contacting the victim. The only exception to this rule is that they may be contacted through a lawyer or as set out in terms of the order.
- Going within a specified radius of the victim’s place of work, residence and anywhere else specified in terms of the AVO.
Although none of these restrictions are crimes, if they are terms in your AVO, a breach of them will be regarded as a criminal offence that will attract criminal proceedings.
Having An AVO in place against you can have detrimental effects on your life beyond having to refrain from doing certain things such as contacting or approaching a person.
For instance, an AVO will negatively impact your prospects of success in child custody disputes, as the Court considers exposing parents with an AVO in place against them to children a risk. Beyond this, other things will also be impacted, such as working with clearance checks required for specific workplaces may not be approved, firearms/licenses and permits may be revoked, and even tenancy agreements may be impacted.
These are all reasons why you may be wondering how to get an AVO dropped.
How To Get An AVO
To get an AVO, all that is required is to demonstrate reasonable grounds or reasons for you to fear the defendant. If you are scared or in immediate danger, you should speak to the police as soon as possible, and a provision AVO may be implemented on your behalf. This can be done either after the police have taken an incident report or by physically going to a police station yourself.
Eventually, after some formalities are achieved – you will need to go to Court, where the police apply for the AVO on your behalf, and you are represented by a police prosecutor. If you would like any more information regarding this, please feel free to contact us today.
How To Get An AVO Dropped?
There are multiple ways to get an AVO dismissed or dropped in Court:
Negotiating with undertaking: This is the ideal outcome. In this situation, parties will agree to drop the AVO contingent on the defendant covering to provide a signed and dated written undertaking to abide by the same order/conditions provided in the AVO. This undertaking is not legally enforceable or court-ordered, and a breach will not necessarily result in criminal charges.
However, the undertaking can be relied upon later to take out another AVO if the defendant breaches it.
Negotiating without undertaking: In this situation, the defendant’s lawyer writes to the opposing side, highlighting the inconsistencies and holes in their evidence with an offer not to seek the defendant’s legal costs if the AVO is withdrawn.
Successfully defending an AVO in Court: The Court will dismiss the order if it believes that on the balance of probabilities (whether it is more likely than not), either applicant has no reasonable basis to fear and does not fear the defendant committing personal violence offence or intimidating or stalking conduct.
If the Court forms the view that the orders are not necessary for the protection and safety of the person protected by the AVO.
The ‘protected person’ does not hold any fears: If the protected person provides evidence in Court that they have no fear of the defendant, the Court may dismiss it.
The other side does not comply with court orders: In the event the other side fails to comply with the court orders to serve their evidence on time, the Court may dismiss it.
The other party fails to appear in Court: If the person protected by the Apprehended Violence Order does not appear in Court on the hearing day, the Court may dismiss it.
Baseless allegations: The Court can dismiss the order if it is shown that the evidence to prove the allegations is insufficient.
Importance of Seeking Legal Advice
It is important to note when questions such as ‘How to get an AVO?’ and ‘How to get an AVO dropped?’ arise that you seek out the assistance of an experienced family lawyer to help guide you through the process to ensure everything is done correctly.
Here at JB Solicitors, we’ll make the process as pain-free as possible. We have fixed-fee pricing for family law, giving you a clear sense of the costs from the start, and we will be sure to help you out every step of the way. With years of experience under our belt, we pride ourselves on making each client’s family law experience as positive as possible.
Contact JB Solicitors today to speak with one of our friendly and experienced family lawyers.
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