No matter whether you’re a protected person, or whether you’ve been charged with a DVO breach in Queensland, you should seek professional legal advice.
For those seeking assistance with matters surrounding domestic violence, please contact 1800 RESPECT or Lifeline on 13 11 14. If you or someone you know needs immediate assistance, please call 000.
If you breach a Domestic Violence Order (DVO) in Queensland, the consequences can be severe. We’ll outline what the breach of a DVO means and the process the courts follow.
We’ll also cover the steps you can take if someone you’ve taken a DVO against breaches it.
What happens if I breach a Domestic Violence Order?
If you breach a DVO, you have committed a criminal offence under section 177 of the Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act 2012. The steps that follow through the courts vary, but if you’re charged with having breached a DVO, you will need to appear before a Court.
If you’re found guilty, penalties may vary depending on whether it’s your first or second breach, and/or the severity of the breach:
- On first breaches of a DVO in Qld, you may be liable for a fine of up to $14,136 or up to three years’ imprisonment
- On second breaches of a DVO in Qld, you may be liable for a fine of up to $28,272 or up to five years’ imprisonment
- Breaches of a DVO may also result in a criminal record
- In some instances of being found guilty of breaching a DVO, the Court may order that you undertake community service, or place you on a good behaviour bond.
What can I do if I have breached a DVO?
If you’ve been charged with breaching a DVO in QLD, you should seek legal advice immediately.
As well as helping you decide whether to plead ‘guilty’ or ‘not guilty’, our trained lawyers can also help tell you whether there are any possible defences you can raise.
Generally, there are two common defences for someone who isn’t guilty of a breach:
- You weren’t aware of the existence of the order – You might be able to defend yourself by claiming you weren’t reasonably aware of the order. In receiving a DVO, you are required to have been:
- served with a copy of the order; or
- present in court when the order was made; or
- informed by a police officer of the existence of the order (this includes if you’re notified via electronic means, such as a phone conversation or an email).
- There was an extraordinary emergency – This can be difficult to prove, but in events of severe and extraordinary emergencies, you may have a defence against breaching a DVO. The courts will consider the situation, the nature of the breach, the behaviour of parties involved, and decide whether the conditions exonerate the person charged.
You should discuss your options and plea with a professional before taking any action in court. Even if you have an instinct to take one plea over the other, a lawyer’s advice might help guide you toward a better outcome.
How We Can Help
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.
Can a protected person breach an intervention order?
It might not be illegal for a protected person to “breach” the orders, but it is almost never the right thing to do.
If you’re a protected person, it’s also important that you follow the conditions set out in the Domestic Violence Order. This way, you may find it easier to prove that the defendant has breached the Order.
What if I’m a protected person and a DVO has been breached?
If you believe you or your child could be in immediate danger, you should call 000 immediately.
If you’re a protected person and the defendant has breached their DVO, you should report the breach to the police as soon as possible. The police will want to know:
- What happened;
- When the alleged breach occurred;
- Where the alleged breach occurred;
- Whether anyone else witnessed the event;
- Whether the event was reported to any other third parties (such as a hospital, a doctor or the Department of Child Safety, Youth & Women).
You are always one decision away from a totally different life.