Sydney AVO Lawyers

Apprehended Violence orders (AVO)

It is important to seek legal advice from an experienced criminal defence lawyer when an Application for an AVO is being made against you. This is because an AVO can adversely affect your life, have consequences on your current or future career and restrict your ability to maintain contact with your family members.

It is important to that you obtain adequate advice from a one of our specialist criminal lawyers so that you understand your legal rights and obligations as a defendant. Here at Sydney Law Specialists, we fight to have unfair AVO applications withdrawn or revoked in court. Our team of lawyers deal with AVO matters on a daily basis throughout all courts in NSW and interstate courts.

What is an Apprehended Violence orders (AVO)

An Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) is an order made by the court that restricts certain behaviour of the defendant for the protection of another person(s). If you have children, the order may also extend to protect them.

The mandatory condition across all AVOs is that the defendant, must not assault, harass, threaten, stalk, or intimidate the protected person(s). The court may impose further conditions if warranted. Extra conditions may stop you from:

  • Approaching or contacting the protected person(s)
  • Going near the protected persons residence or place of work
  • Approaching the protected person(s)
  • Being in the company of the protected person(s) after drinking alcohol or taking illegal drugs
  • Any other conditions the court believes ins necessary for the safety and protecting of the protected person(s).

It is important to note that an AVO is not a criminal charge or conviction. However, details of an AVO are kept on a police data base. An AVO can have consequences on your security license or may affect your ability to work with children. There can be other consequences that flow on from an AVO which may not be apparent at first instance. We recommend you speak to one of our specialised criminal defence lawyers to discuss your concerns regarding how an AVO will affect you.

What is an Apprehended Domestic Violence Order (ADVO)?

Apprehended Domestic Violence Orders (ADVOs) are made where the people involved are related, living together or in or were in an intimate relationship. If police are contacted regrading a domestic incident, they may be legally required to make an application for an AVO if they believe that a domestic violence offence has been committed, being committed or likely to be committed. This occurs even if the victim in the matter expressly states that they do not want to apply for an AVO.

What is an Apprehended Domestic Violence Order (APVO)?

Apprehended Personal Violence Orders (APVOs) are made when there is no domestic relationship between the parties. In most cases APVOs are commenced by the applicant attending court and making an application through the register. This type of AVO is common between neighbours.

How do I apply for an AVO?

There are two ways you can apply for an AVO.

1. You can make a private application through your local court or through a lawyer. Our team specialises in AVOs. It is important that you speak to one of our specialised criminal lawyers if you wish to apply for a private AVO. We can provide you with expert knowledge and represent you court on your behalf to explain why the AVO is necessary. Our team will support you throughout the entire court process.

2. The police can make an application on your behalf. The police will be responsible for determining what AVO best suits your circumstances. If the police have fears for your safety, they can apply for a provisional AVO for your protection. This is a temporary AVO. The police will advise you regarding the AVO and tell you when to attend court. A police prosecutor will represent you in court.

Our team of lawyers appear in AVO matters daily in NSW courts as well as interstate courts. Our team can provide advice and assistance for ADVO applicants.

I want to defend the AVO- What is the process?

Court process

We recommend you speak to one of our Specialised Criminal Defence Lawyers immediately after being served an AVO. It is important to understand that defending AVO matters can be a lengthy and time-consuming process. We understand that AVOs can have a distressing impact on both you and your family, this is why we recommend you obtain legal advice early.

Upon receiving advice from one of our Specialised Criminal Defence Lawyers you decide to oppose an AVO, one of our lawyers will attend your first court appearance date and advise the Court of this. Your lawyer will request that the matter be timetabled.

The Magistrate will then adjourn your matter and advise both parties of the next court date (this is known as a compliance mention) and make orders in relation to serving evidence.

Prior to the second court date, both the defence lawyer and Prosecutor will have to file statements and evidence. One of our specialised lawyers will assist you in the preparation of your statement and any evidence you wish to rely upon in response to the application.

It is important to obtain legal advice in relation to your defence as any materials filed and served to the court cannot be changed.

All parties will return to court on the second court date (compliance mention). The Court will ensure that the parties have complied with the orders to serve their evidence. If there has been no compliance by either party, the Court will adjourn your matter and set a further compliance mention.

If both parties have complied with the orders, your matter will be allocated a hearing date.

On the hearing date, the Court will read the evidence provided by both parties. Both parties may call witnesses to give evidence. These witnesses will be cross examined by other party.

The court will then determine whether a final apprehended violence order is appropriate or whether the case should be dismissed. To make a final apprehended violence order the court must be satisfied on the balance of probabilities that the protected person(s) has reasonable grounds to fear you and the court believes there is reasonable likelihood of an offence occurring again.

We recommend you speak to one of our Specialised Criminal Defence Lawyers to discuss evidence that may be presented to court. Our lawyers will focus on presenting evidence such as phone records, texts, audio messages, CCTV footage ect; to the court to prove that the protected person(s) does not have reasonable grounds to fear you and there is no likelihood of an offence occurring again. By presenting such evidence, our specialised lawyers will argue that an AVO is not required as the original complaint made was trivial in nature and not serious enough to justify the making of an AVO.

How to Vary an AVO

You can apply to the Local Court to vary the conditions of the AVO. In order to apply for an AVO all parties including the Police, protected person(s) and defendant must be put on notice that an application has been made. The local court will then allocate a date on which the application will be heard before a Magistrate.

We recommend that you speak to one of our Specialised Criminal Lawyers prior to making an application to vary an AVO. Our team can provide advice and assistance in relation to the variation application. We may also prepare submissions to address any legal issues that may prevent you from varying the AVO.

Can I Revoke an AVO?

You can apply to the Local Court to revoke an AVO even if a final AVO has been made. In order to apply for an AVO all parties including the Police, protected person(s) and defendant must be put on notice that an application has been made. As part of the application, you must establish a change in circumstance and justify the reason as to why the AVO should be revoked. It is then up to the Court to decide whether the change is significant enough to revoke the AVO. We recommend discussing your circumstances with one of our Specialised Criminal Lawyers prior to making an application.

What happens if I breach an AVO.

It is a criminal offence to breach an Apprehended Violence Order (AVO). It is a serious offence and carries a maximum penalty of 2 years imprisonment and a fine of $5,500.  A defendant breaches an AVO when they knowingly do something that the AVO says they are not allowed to do. The police have the power to arrest the defendant and charge them with the criminal offence of contravening the AVO (breaching the AVO).

If you have breached an AVO by committing a crime, the police may also charge you with further criminal offences such as assault, stalk/intimidate or malicious damage. You will have to attend court for the breach and additional offences if laid.


We recommend you seek legal advice as soon as you can if you have breached an AVO. Our team of specialised criminal lawyers can assist and guide you through the process. 

Types of AVOs

A provisional AVO is an order made by a police officer ad granted by a court once an allegation of domestic violence is made. Police will make a an order if they believe the PINIP requires immediate protection. A provisional AVO will contain all mandatory orders and may also have additional orders, which tell you what you can and can’t do. A future court date will also be present on the provisional AVO.

An Interim Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) is an order made by the Court either extending a Provisional AVO or where the Court agrees that it is necessary or appropriate for someone to have temporary protection. Typically, a provisional AVO is amended to an Interim AVO after the first court mention. The order is enforced until it is either revoked, dismissed or a final order is made.

You can consent (to a Final AVO without admission on your first court appearance. This is known as ‘consenting without admissions’. It means you agree to the orders made on the AVO without admitting or agreeing to the grounds of the application.

If you choose to contest the AVO and upon hearing evidence the magistrate is satisfied on the balance of probabilities that the protected person(s) has reasonable grounds to fear you and the court believes there is reasonable likelihood of an offence occurring again- the court must make a final apprehended violence order.

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