What happens if you have taken out an AVO, and then decide you don’t need it any more?
Or, what if the police have taken out an AVO on your behalf, which you don’t believe is necessary?
Once it is in effect, withdrawing an AVO can be difficult, and if you want to be successful, you will probably need the help of a skilled and experienced criminal lawyer.
Ramifications of an AVO
An AVO is a court-issued order that is intended to protect a person against violence or harassment from another person.
This is done by limiting or restricting the amount of contact the AVO defendant can have with the person in need of protection (PINOP).
Many of the restrictions of an AVO can make day-to-day life extremely difficult, particularly if you are in a domestic relationship with the subject of the order.
In many cases, the defendant will need to move out and find alternative living arrangements. Other restrictions can limit contact with children, and prevent the subject of the AVO contacting you through any means.
An AVO also has a significant impact on the defendant.
Although having an AVO taken out against them doesn’t mean they will have a criminal record, there are legal ramifications if they breach the terms of the order.
Having an AVO or having had one can also affect the subject’s ability to find employment in certain areas, particularly in working with children or in law enforcement or security occupations.
Anyone who has had an AVO taken out against them is also required to hand in any firearms they possess, and they will not be allowed to hold a firearms licence for 10 years after the AVO has ended.
Withdrawing an AVO
If you want to withdraw an AVO, you can make a request in writing to the Local Area Commander of the police station where the order was taken out.
Withdrawing an AVO can be challenging, and requires help from a criminal lawyer who has experience in these sorts of matters, and can advise you on the best way to proceed.
For example, you may be able to have an AVO withdrawn on the basis that you are moving out of NSW, and no longer feel the order is necessary.
But, it is generally not enough to apply to withdraw an AVO on the grounds it has caused family disruption, or that you suddenly no longer feel at risk.
In many AVO cases, you will need to provide evidence that you are not at risk, particularly in cases where the AVO was taken out due to the possibility of domestic violence.
If police have taken out an AVO on your behalf, it can be even more difficult to have it withdrawn. Police in NSW take a proactive approach to applying for AVOs, and it is not enough for you to be against taking out the AVO to have it withdrawn.
There are a few circumstances where police will apply to withdraw an AVO, including:
- You did not provide a statement, and there is no other evidence to suggest that you are at risk of harassment or violence from the defendant.
- They find proof that you lied on the AVO application.
Once you or the police have applied to have an AVO withdrawn, it takes 4-6 weeks for the application to be processed.