Have you recently been served with an AVO?
AVOs are surprisingly common and they can be taken out for a variety of reasons.
If you are facing an AVO it is a good idea to think carefully before accepting it without question.
AVOs can be falsely taken out, including on the basis of malice and revenge, and unfortunately an AVO can have a serious impact on your future.
Should I defend myself against an AVO?
Although accepting the terms of an AVO doesn’t mean that you agree to any allegations made against you, these orders can be onerous and extremely disruptive to you and your family.
Being the recipient of an AVO can also restrict you in certain ways in the future, particularly if you want to get a firearms licence, or work in certain occupations.
Defending an AVO can be challenging, but with the right legal help you will have a good chance of successfully defend an AVO, and avoid having to undergo the restrictions that you would otherwise face.
Some of the restrictions that are common with an AVO include rules about where you live and how close you live to the person taking out the AVO.
If your partner or someone you live with has applied for an AVO against you, this means that you may have to move.
You may also have your access to any children that reside with your partner restricted.
Other terms that are often included in an AVO restrict a person’s movements by not allowing them to come within a certain distance of the alleged person in need of protection (PINOP), and their place of work or residence.
If you yourself live or work near these places, you may find it difficult to do your normal daily activities without being in breach of the terms of the AVO.
If you currently own a firearms licence or any firearms you will be required to relinquish them when the AVO is granted.
If you work in an occupation that requires you to have a firearms licence, such as certain security occupations, your ability to work will be seriously limited.
Being the subject of an AVO also leaves you vulnerable in the future.
The person taking out the AVO might allege that you breached the conditions, and this can lead to a criminal conviction and a lifelong criminal record.
If there is any doubt as to the truth of the allegations against you, it is important to seek accurate legal advice before you agree to the terms of an AVO.
How do I defend an AVO?
Getting legal representation can increase your chances of successfully defending an AVO, particularly in situations where police believe that there is a risk of domestic violence and are adamant that an AVO should be ordered against you.
In many cases, the police will go ahead with an AVO even if both parties are against it, so seeking legal advice is essential.
Defending an AVO often amounts to one person’s word against another, but there are a few things you can do to help increase your chances of success.
These include gathering any statements from witnesses who may have been present when alleged incidents took place, bringing those witnesses with you to the hearing, getting phone records that back-up what you say, getting photos of any injuries that you sustained etc.
The AVO will be dismissed if the applicant is unable to prove that:
(a) he or she fears that you will engage in certain types of conduct towards the PINOP, such as assault, molestation, harassment, threats or other types of prohibited conduct; and
(b) that their fears are warranted in all of the circumstances.
A good criminal defence lawyer will be able to maximise your chances of getting the AVO against you dismissed.