A Domestic Violence Order (DVO) aims to prevent further violence occurring between two people in a ‘relevant relationship’.
DVOs are made in accordance with the Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act 2012 and they endeavour to maximise the safety of people subjected to domestic violence. They also ensure that perpetrators are held accountable for their behaviour and actions.
These orders are usually made at a Magistrates Court, and an Order will be made if the Court believes that violence has occurred and an Order is necessary to be made to prevent further violence.
If you breach a DVO, the consequences can be severe. Here, we’ll outline what the breach of a DVO in QLD 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.
If you’re charged with breaching a DVO, you will need to appear before a Court. If you’re found guilty, you’ll usually 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 of up to $14,136 or face a prison sentence of up to three years. If it is your second breach of a DVO, then the penalty is increased to five years’ imprisonment or a fine up to $28,272.
In some instances, when you commit a DVO breach in QLD, the Court may instead Order that you undertake community service. Alternatively, they may place you on a good behaviour bond. A breach of a DVO order in QLD may also result in a criminal record.
Ultimately, when deciding how to punish the breach of a DVO, the court will consider whether this is your first or second breach of a DVO, how serious the offence was and other circumstances surrounding the breach of the Order.
What if I’m a Protected Person and the DVO has been Breached?
If you believe you or your child is in immediate danger, then you should call 000 as soon as possible.
If you’re a protected person and the defendant has breached their DVO, then you should report the breach to the police as soon as you possibly can. 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 ro the Department of Child Safety, Youth & Women).
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 Can I do if I have Breached a DVO?
If you’ve been charged with breaching a DVO in QLD, then 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.
For example, you can only be in breach of a DVO in QLD if:
- You have been served with a copy of the order; or
- You were present in court when the order was made; or
- A police officer has informed you of the existence of the order (this includes if you’re notified via electronic means, such as a phone conversation or an email).
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 to Learn More About DVO Breaches
If you’ve been accused of a DVO breach in QLD, we can help by providing you with expert advice including with respect to the prospects of your case. To learn more about a Domestic Violence Order breach and the possible consequences, please call us on (07) 3837 5500 or get started online.