If you have been served with an intervention order, you might have many questions about what comes next. What does the process look like? How do you respond? Will you now have a criminal record?
Slades & Parsons can answer these questions for you and help you navigate the court process.
An intervention order is an order made by a magistrate to protect a person from physical or mental harm caused by someone else. An intervention order contains several ‘conditions’, about how the respondent (the person the order is made against) can behave towards the applicant or protected person (the person the order protects). The respondent must obey all conditions of the order. If the protected person and respondent are family members, you need a family violence intervention order instead.
If you are the person that an intervention order has been made against, the police will send you copies of the application, a court summons and copies of any interim orders that may have already been made.
It is important to obtain legal advice at this stage. You have several options available to you once you have been served by police which a lawyer can explain to you in further detail. You can:
- Consent to the order without admissions to the conduct that is alleged
- Contest the order
- Offer an undertaking, if the applicant agrees to do this
If the protected person agrees, you can also try and resolve the dispute by mediation.
An intervention order is a civil process, provided that you comply with the conditions of the order, this process will not result in a criminal record.
However, breaching the conditions of the intervention has serious consequences and is considered a criminal matter. If you are charged and found guilty or plead guilty to breaching an intervention order, you will get a criminal record.
On some occasions, the conduct that gives rise to an intervention order application will be charged as a criminal offence, if you are found guilty of this offence, you will have a criminal record, however, the intervention order itself is not a criminal matter unless it is breached.
What happens at court during an intervention order hearing will depend on how the respondent responds to the intervention order application.
The respondent may:
- Consent to the intervention order being made (with or without admissions to the alleged conduct). The respondent can agree to all or parts of the application including its duration and proposed conditions. This must be agreed to by the applicant before the court makes any final order.
- Negotiate an undertaking to behave in an agreed manner rather than proceed with the intervention order. An undertaking is a written promise to the applicant to follow certain conditions. Again, this course must be agreed to by the applicant.
- Contest the order. If you wish to contest the order, future hearing dates will be required such as a Directions Hearing and a Contested Hearing. Evidence is not heard by the court until the Contested Hearing is reached. Legal representation is essential.
- Not go to court
It is important to get legal advice prior to proceeding with any of these options.
The courts take intervention order breaches very seriously. A breach can be constituted by any conduct that is in contravention of the conditions of the order, you can even be charged with breaching an intervention order if you are alleged to have asked someone else to behave in a way that is contrary to the intervention order.
For example, getting another person to email the protected person or even driving past the protected person’s house can be a breach if a person has been ordered not to go within 200 metres of the address.
If it is alleged that you breached an intervention order you will be charged and required to attend court. A breach can also be charged with other offences (e.g. Assault or Threaten to Kill) if other criminal conduct is alleged to have taken place at the time of the breach.
If a person has a history of breaching intervention orders, then it is likely that police will arrest and remand that person in custody.