A Domestic Violence Order made against is you no minor matter
The ramifications of an order being made can be extremely serious and expose you to being charged with a criminal offence for any alleged breaches. If you have an application made against you, it is imperative that you immediately seek legal advice.
At BouchierKhan Lawyers our experienced team can assist you in:
- Challenging an application for a protection order made against you
- Applying to vary the conditions of a protection order
- Breach of domestic violence order*
- Understanding your rights and obligations regarding any order made against you.
What is a DVO?
A DVO is a Domestic Violence Order, and can be issued to protect both men and women. They are designed to protect people from violence, harassment, and intimidation. The law says that every person has the right to feel safe in their own home. This is what DVOs are for, they make it clear that a certain person in your life cannot behave in a violent way around you. If someone is accused of abusing another person whether it’s emotionally or physically then a DVO will let them know they need to know that there will be serious consequences for their actions. The police and the law take domestic violence very seriously in all of South-East Queensland. Court cases in relation to breaches of DVOs are common in Brisbane, Toowoomba and Ipswich.
When a person applies to have a DVO put in place they go through a screening process where the Magistrates Court checks that they are telling the truth about their situation and if it’s valid then it will be issued as an temporary protection order, this means that there won’t be a final order given out until there is another court hearing which involves both parties so that everyone has an opportunity to state their case properly and prove themselves without any bias against them whatsoever. It is important to be aware that should you behave in an improper way while subject to a temporary protection order you may be charged with a criminal offence and
fined, or if the breach involves violence, imprisoned.
If someone breaches their DVO then this is classed as an offence and they could face penalties like a fine or even be charged with criminal offences such as Contempt Of Court. If someone lodges an application for a domestic violence order against you, you are the ‘respondent’ to the order. A police officer will give you a copy of the application, they may attend your address or contact you and ask you to attend a police station. Once you have been served a copy of the application, you should read the application carefully. The application will include all the allegations made against you by the aggrieved and a date and time that you are required to attend court.
If you receive an application and fail to attend court, the court is able to make a protection order or a temporary protection order against you in your absence. A Magistrate may also issue a warrant for the police to arrest you and bring you to court.
You can object to a Domestic Violence Order being made against you and have the matter adjourned for legal advice or for a Final Hearing at a later date.
Your options on the first mention for a DVO charge are:
- Ask for an adjournment while you seek legal advice, in which case a Temporary DVO will most likely be made to protect the aggrieved until the next court date;
- Consent to the DVO being made, without admitting to the facts alleged against you or that you have committed domestic violence;
- Disagree with making the protection order, in which case the Magistrate will list the matter for a Hearing to determine the application. A Temporary DVO may be made until the Final Hearing:
- If the other party agrees to withdraw their application, you can sign an undertaking (promise) to the court which can be on the same or similar conditions to the protection Order.
The last option is the best option in the case that a protection order application is filed against you as it means the protection order application is withdrawn. Breach of an undertaking also does not have the same severe consequences as breach of a DVO.
What if I have been charged with breaching a DVO?
A breach of a domestic violence order is a criminal offence under section 177 of the Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act 2012 and is taken very seriously by the courts. If you’re found guilty, you may face a fine or you could potentially face imprisonment. On the first breach of a DVO in QLD, you may be liable to pay a fine, or face a prison sentence of up to three years, this may be increased to five years for any further breach.
Seek legal advice immediately. We can discuss the allegations and help you decide whether to plead ‘guilty’ or ‘not guilty’, our trained lawyers will look carefully into your situation to see whether there are any possible defenses you can raise.
For example, you can only be in breach of a DVO in Queensland if:
- You have been served with a copy of the order – whether by phone, electronically or in person; or
- You were present in court when the order was made; or
- A police officer has informed you of the existence of the order, whether by phone or in person.
If you were not aware of the existence of the order, you can appeal on these grounds. In this instance, the police will be responsible for proving beyond reasonable doubt that they informed you of the order’s existence. You may also be able to prove that you breached the order because of an extraordinary emergency. If you are alleged to have committed a DVO breach in QLD, we can:
- Attend police interviews with you;
- Advise you regarding the merits and potential consequences of the allegations;
- Appear on your behalf at any interim court appearances; and
- Appear at any defended hearing or sentence.
Contact us today to discuss your options and the best way forward.
At the first mention of an application, the Court will determine whether a temporary order should be made. Our experienced lawyers are able to appear with you at all stages of proceedings and ensure that your interests are protected.