Breach of Restraining Order or Police Order

On this page, you can find information about offences of breaching the 4 different types of Orders:
i) Beach of a Violence Restraining Order (“VRO”)
ii) Breach of a Family Violence Restraining Order (“FVRO”)
iii) Breach of a Conduct Agreement Order (“CAO”)
iv) Breach of a Police Order

The process and penalty for breaching a Misconduct Restraining order is entirely different and can be found under Misconduct Restraining Orders page. Andrews Legal can assist with submission, strength of the case, potential defences, likely sentence, how to optmise your position at sentencing, negotiate facts, mitigating and aggravating factors etc.

What happens if the Person Protected reports an alleged breach?

Before speaking with the person who has allegedly breached the order, Police will gather any available evidence to corroborate the complaint. Police will then contact the person accused of breaching the order for a Police video recorded interview. If the person refuses to attend the Police Station for an interview, Police have the power to arrest the person and take them to the Police Station.

Once the person attends the Police Station, they may be placed under arrest. They will be told their rights prior to being interviewed. During the Police Interview, it is best to make no comment whatsoever in relation to any questions the Police ask you. A Court cannot infer guilt from your exercise of your right to silence. Upon the conclusion of the interview, you will either be released without charge, released to appear in Court on a later date or remanded in custody to apply for bail. It is usually best to attend the Police Station for an interview in the early morning to ensure that if Police bail is refused and you are required to appear in Court, the appearance will be the same day and you won’t be required to spend the night in the lockup.

You are entitled to a copy of the Prosecution Notice, which initiates the charge in the Magistrates Court, the Statement of Material Facts which details the particulars of the charge and a copy of your Criminal History. When you attend Court, the Magistrate will ask if you wish to plead guilty or not guilty. On the first Court date, the Magistrate will allow you to request a 4-week adjournment in order to obtain legal advice. If you plead guilty the Court will proceed to sentence you on the basis of the particulars in the Statement of Material Facts. If you plead not guilty, the Court will list the matter for trial. The trial will generally take place between 3 – 9 months from when you enter your plea. You are entitled to a copy of all of the evidence which the Prosecution will rely upon to prove the charge against you at least 28-days prior to trial.

If you have objected to an interim VRO or FVRO, the Court will always finalise the Breach charge before the trial of the Application for a VRO/FVRO. The reasons for this are: i) your right to silence in relation to the criminal charge would be infringed if the Application were tried first, and ii) the outcome of the criminal charge will bear upon the outcome of the VRO/FVRO Application.

If am found not guilty and acquitted or the charge is dismissed, can I recover costs?

Yes, you are entitled to recover legal costs.

What is the penalty for breaching a VRO, FVRO, CAO or Police Order?

A breach of any of the above orders is potentially a serious criminal offence. The statutory maximum penalty is a $10,000 fine or 2 years imprisonment or both. The same penalty applies regardless of whether an Order is interim or final. It is not a defence to a charge that the VRO/FVRO Application lacked merit or was ultimately withdrawn or dismissed after trial.

In most cases, a person being dealt with for a first offence of Breach of VRO, FVRO, CAO or Police Order will receive a fine, if no other offence has been committed and the offending is not at the most serious end of the spectrum. The person will also receive a criminal conviction on their record for the offence, unless the court grants a spent conviction order. To learn more about spent convictions, visit the spent convictions page.

Court to impose imprisonment for a “third strike”.

The Court must impose a sentence that is or includes imprisonment for a breach which is a “third strike”. A person is considered to have committed a “third strike” if at the time of being convicted of any of the following offences:
i) Beach of a Violence Restraining Order (“VRO”)
ii) Breach of a Family Violence Restraining Order (“FVRO”)
iii) Breach of a Conduct Agreement Order (“CAO”)
iv) Breach of a Police Order

The person had on their record 2 or more convictions for any of the above offences, occurring on at least 2 separate dates. 2 or more offences committed on the same day are treated as a single conviction.

Where a person is liable to imprisonment for a “third strike” the Court may be persuaded to impose a term of imprisonment that is suspended either with or without conditions. Alternatively, the Court may impose a sentence other than imprisonment if persuaded that imprisonment would be “clearly unjust” in the circumstances; and the person is unlikely to pose a threat to the safety of the person protected or the community generally.

Why choose Andrews Legal?

Our defence lawyers are highly experienced and specialise exclusively in criminal law. If you have been charged with breaching a VRO, FVRO or MRO, arrange for an initial consultation with one of our defence lawyers in Perth by contacting us at Andrews Legal today on (08) 9221 2991.

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