As a defendant, you will breach an Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) if you do something that the AVO says you are not allowed to do.
If you breach an AVO the police have the power to arrest and charge you with the criminal offence of contravening the AVO (breaching the AVO). You could also be charged with other criminal offences, such as assault or malicious damage. This will mean that you will have to go to court to answer the criminal charges.
You can't be charged with breaching an AVO if you have not been served with a Provisional, Interim or Final AVO (unless you were in court when the order was made).
From 25 November 2017 all Domestic Violence Orders (DVOs) are automatically nationally recognised and enforceable. This means that NSW Police can enforce Domestic Violence Orders (DVOs) made in other Australian states and territories. Other states and territories can also enforce NSW ADVOs.
From 25 November 2017 a registered foreign order will automatically be recognised in other states and territories.
If you breach a DVO, NSW Police will check the following:
If you were not in NSW when the order was breached, NSW Police may refer the incident to the jurisdiction where you were located at the time of the breach for further investigation.
If you breach an AVO you may be arrested and charged with contravening the AVO. The police may give you a Court Attendance Notice and you will have to attend court.
A breach of an AVO is a criminal offence. If the court convicts you of breaching an AVO, you can be fined $5,500 and/or imprisoned for up to two years. If the breach involves violence, it is considered a serious offence and there is a strong chance you will be sent to prison.
Any conviction will appear on your criminal record.
If you have been charged with a criminal offence, you should get
For more information about facing a charge in court, see the
Driving offences and crime topic.
In certain circumstances you may find that you have accidentally breached the terms of an AVO, for example, if you enter a building without knowing the protected person is inside.
If you do something that an AVO says you can't do, the police may decide to charge you with the offence of contravening an AVO. However, you can't be found guilty of contravening an AVO unless you knowingly do something that an AVO says you are not allowed to do.
If you have been charged with breaching an AVO, you should get
Sometimes a protected person may call you or ask you to meet somewhere. If the AVO states that you are not to contact the protected person, you can still be charged with breaching the AVO even though the protected person starts the contact.
If the protected person wants you to do something that the AVO restricts you from doing, you should get
Case study - Lino and Daniel
Lino has an ADVO against Daniel for two years. The ADVO says that Daniel must not:
1. a. Assault, molest, harass, threaten or otherwise interfere with the protected person or a person with whom the protected person has a domestic relationship,
b. Engage in any other conduct that intimidates the protected person or a person with whom the protected person has a domestic relationship,
c. Stalk the protected person or a person with whom the protected person has a domestic relationship.
4. Go within 200 metres of the premises where the protected person may from time to time reside or work, or other specified premises.
Over the last month, Lino has noticed Daniel standing across the road, watching his house. Last night, Lino thought he saw Daniel in his front yard and he called the Police.
The Police found Daniel hiding in Lino's neighbour's yard.
In this case, the police can arrest Daniel for breaching conditions 1 and 4 of the ADVO. The police may charge Daniel with a criminal offence, and he will have to go to court to answer the charges. If Daniel is convicted of the offence he can be fined or imprisoned or both.
If Daniel does not plead guilty to the charge of breaching the AVO, at the hearing the prosecutor will have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he breached the AVO and intended to breach the AVO.