Having an intervention order made against you can be a confronting experience. Aside from dealing with the emotional toll, there can also be a fair amount of uncertainty and confusion over what’s required and the options available to you.
Seeking sound advice from a lawyer familiar with this area is vital. At Daniel Taylor Lawyers, we can break down and explain the nuts and bolts of your particular intervention order. We’ll sit down with you and listen to the situation as you understand it, and then map a path that best suits you.
Let’s take a look at the avenues open to those who receive an intervention order.
Option 1 – Undertaking
Having an intervention order application made against you can be a confronting process, particularly if you don’t agree with the allegations made in the application. Rather than trying to contest the intervention order, it’s sometimes a better option is to propose an ‘undertaking’ in order to resolve the matter.
An undertaking is similar to an intervention order in that it is an agreement between yourself and the applicant that you will follow certain conditions, often including no contact with the applicant. The undertaking is signed by both parties and filed with the court.
Unlike an intervention order, it is not a criminal offence to breach a condition of an undertaking. However, any breach of an undertaking will likely make any future application for an intervention order successful. Often, an undertaking is a preferred option if both parties agree that they should no longer be in contact with one another.
A set of conditions for the undertaking may be agreed upon after discussions between your lawyer and the other party at court. In this case, a formal document will be drafted, signed and then filed with the court by your lawyer on your behalf. The application for any order (or any interim order in place) would then be withdrawn from court by the other party and would no longer be in existence. There is no formal record of an undertaking and it does not appear on your criminal record.
If an undertaking is not accepted, then there is the option to agree to an intervention order without admission of any wrongdoing (option 2) or fight the order and take the matter to a contested hearing (option 3).
Option 2 – Agree to Final Order without Admissions
You can agree to the intervention order without any ‘admissions’. An intervention order is a court order requiring you to follow a series of conditions in relation to the applicant, including that you have no contact with the applicant.
Sometimes, this is the simplest and most efficient way to finalise the matter (particularly if you have no need to contact the person again). In this process you can negotiate the conditions (for example, distance, if required) so you can carry on with your life as usual. You also get to finalise the case without admitting any wrongdoing and without having to give evidence and with none of the allegations made against you proven. In a sense, you get to finalise the matter quickly and within your control and timeframe . You effectively say, “It is a civil order only. If they want me to keep away from them I will, and I admit no wrongdoing and nothing is proven against me”.
Having an order taken out against you is not the same as being charged with a crime; you don’t have a criminal record simply because an order has been taken out against you. However, if you breach a condition of the order, you can be charged with a criminal offence.
You should note that, while an intervention is not a criminal matter and does not go on a criminal record, you will be declared a “Prohibited Person” for the purposes of the Firearms legislation. Broadly, a prohibited person must not possess firearms for five years. However, if you have good reason for having a firearm, you can apply to the Magistrates’ Court for an order declaring you to be a “Non-Prohibited Person”.
Otherwise, there is no criminal record. By agreeing to an order “without admissions”, none of the allegations made would be found to be true by the court and the matter would be finalised on the day on that basis.
Option 3 – Fighting the Application to a Contested Hearing
If you don’t agree with the intervention order, you have the option of going to the court hearing and arguing against the order or any of its conditions.
The first day at court is called the first mention date, and you generally won’t get the chance to tell the magistrate your version of events at this time. You will need to go back to court for a directions hearing, and then for a final contested hearing.
If you have an interim order against you, that order will usually continue until the date of the final contested hearing.
The final contested hearing will often be many months after your first mention date. However, a magistrate will only set a date for the contested hearing if both sides are ready for the final contested hearing.
Before the final contested hearing date, you need to arrange any witnesses who can support your version of events. They must have seen or heard something themselves, not just rely on what you or someone else has told them. We may need to send them a summons to get them to come to court.
At the final contested hearing, your lawyer will need to convince the magistrate that the claims made against you are false and you are not a future risk to the person asking for the order. The magistrate will hear sworn evidence in the witness box from each party’s witnesses, and each witness will then be cross-examined by the other party’s lawyer.
These cases often take a full day of court time, are inherently unpredictable and can often add substantial legal costs due to the time involved. If the fight is to occur, it’s vital that you have engaged the services of a lawyer familiar and experienced with intervention orders.
Get experience and expertise on your side
At Daniel Taylor Lawyers, we have skin in the game when it comes to intervention orders. Not only do we know the options available to you when confronted with an intervention order, we can also advise you on the best option for your situation. We know it can be a stressful and emotional process. The first thing to do is give us a call and get the answers and guidance you need.