We offer you a free 20 minute no obligation consultation that includes case evaluation and cost estimate.

Please call us on 02 8539 7475 or email us for a call back.


Breach of AVO

This brief article explains the crime of breaching an apprehended violence order (AVO), including an overview of what are AVO conditions, what are the consequences of not following them and possible defences.

Definition of AVO

There are two types of AVOs:

  • Apprehended Domestic Violence Order (ADVO); and
  • Apprehended Personal Violence Order (APVO)

In summary, an ADVO protects a person or people from someone else where a domestic relationship exists between the parties (such as a family member, a partner, or a housemate).  A domestic relationship includes a current or former partner, people living in the same household or residential facility and relatives.  For more information, please see our dedicated article on ADVO.

An APVO on the other hand, protects a person or people from someone else where there is not a domestic relationship between the parties.  This includes relationships such as a neighbour, a co-worker, or a former friend.

The Conditions of an AVO

An AVO has a number of conditions, or in other words, things you can or cannot do in relation to the protected person. It is very important that if you do have an AVO against you, you carefully read and understand what conditions are in place and what they mean.

Mandatory Condition

All AVOs will have the mandatory condition, also known as condition 1.  These are, that you cannot do any of the following to the protected person or anyone that they share a domestic relationship with:

  • Assault or threaten them
  • Stalk, harass or intimidate them
  • Intentionally or recklessly destroy or damage property belonging to them

Further Conditions

Depending on the circumstances of the person needing protection, the AVO can also include a number of additional conditions such as you can’t:

  • Visit where the protected person/people live or work;
  • Approach or contact the protected person/people except through a lawyer;
  • Possess any firearms or prohibited weapons;
  • Try to locate the protected person/people; and
  • Be around the protected person/people for a certain period of time after taking alcohol and drugs.

Breach of AVO

A breach occurs if you do not follow any of the AVO’s conditions. Breaching an AVO can have serious consequences, with a maximum penalty of 2 years imprisonment and/or a fine of $5,500. This is especially true if the AVO breach involved violence.  The actual penalty, however, will depend on a number of factors such as the circumstances of the breach, the defendant’s criminal history and other factors set out in 21A of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999 (NSW).

A common way that people are found to be in breach of  an AVO is through police compliance checks.  These checks may involve police visiting your home to check if you’ve been in contact with the protected person or alternatively, visiting the protected person to see if there have been any recent incidents involving you.

It is important to note that it is illegal to breach an AVO even if the protected person says that you can.  For example, if a protected person says that you can visit them, you may still be charged for a breach of the AVO if you do.  It is ultimately your responsibility to comply with the conditions of the AVO.

Possible Defences to a Breach of AVO

Accidental Breaches

If you can demonstrate that you genuinely did not know that you were breaching a condition of your AVO.  For instance, if  you visit a place without knowing that the protected person is there.

Property Recovery Orders

If you have an ADVO and you have left behind your personal items with a protected person, you can apply for a Property Recovery Order to lawfully retrieve your items. The order will contain a number of conditions that you have to follow.

Why BSM Lawyers?

Our highly experienced criminal team understand that being charged with breaching an AVO is stressful. Our lawyers will represent you, carefully reviewing the police statements and negotiating with the prosecution.  The criminal lawyers at Brander Smith McKnight regularly appear in the Local and District Courts and achieve excellent outcomes for our clients.

Our expert criminal defence team are able to run most court matters without the added expense of a barrister.  However, for serious criminal matters we have a panel of expert barristers who we can engage.

Call us to arrange a free 20 minute no obligation consultation that includes case evaluation and cost estimate.

Brander Smith McKnight has offices located in Sutherland, Sydney CBD, Parramatta and Wollongong.

Head Office

phone close