Domestic Family Violence Lawyers
Melbourne Domestic Violence Lawyers
Domestic violence and family violence are a particular category of violent crimes and often involves allegations of threats to assault and allegations of assault. Victoria takes cases involving domestic and family violence very seriously. Family violence cases are also given priority by the Courts, such that cases involving allegations of domestic and family violence move quickly through the system. Further to that when you are charged with such an offence the police almost always make an application for an intervention order against you. It is therefore important to engage the services of a lawyer as soon as you can after having been accused of or charged with a family violence offence so that we can assist you with both the criminal charges and the intervention order. At Stary Norton Halphen, we are well equipped to handle allegations of family violence. We are also here to give you a voice in a situation where we appreciate the complicated issues you are facing in having to defend criminal charges and an accompanying application for an intervention order.
We have a great deal of experience in cases involving violent offences, including domestic violence, enabling our lawyers to provide you with decisive advice and a comprehensive understanding of whether or not you have a viable defence, the strength of that defence, the costs of running your case, the legal implications of the decisions you make and the potential penalties you face in the event you are found or plead guilty.
What is Domestic Violence?
Domestic and family violence is a harmful behavior directed towards a partner or family member used to injure, threaten, or coerce that person and can include any behavior that makes that person fear for their physical safety and/or the wellbeing of their property or the physical safety and/or the wellbeing of another person.
The definition of family violence includes physical assault, such as hitting or attacking another person with a weapon; molestation; sexual abuse; emotional abuse; psychological abuse; economic abuse; coercion; controlling or dominating behavior causing a person to fear for their wellbeing or the wellbeing of another person; and/or damaging property owned by another or even jointly owned by you and another person..
It is also important to be aware that family violence includes conduct that causes a child to hear or witness, or otherwise be exposed to the effects of one of the aforementioned types of family violence. As a result, when it is alleged that a child has witnessed family violence, they will be included in an intervention order, even if the alleged offending behavior was not directed at them. The primary piece of legislation setting out the circumstances when an intervention order may be applied for and granted as well as outlining certain types of family violence offences such as breaching an intervention order is the Family Violence Protection Act 2008.
What We Can Do For You
When you are accused of family violence you will almost always be facing the prospect of being charged with a criminal offence and an application for an intervention order. Accordingly, it is imperative your lawyer has experience and expertise in dealing with both issues, as how you deal with one matter will often have an impact on the other.
Our team of criminal lawyers is committed to understanding the particular details of your case so as to ensure you understand your options, whether or not you have a defence, how strong that defence is and what the best possible outcome in your case is likely to be. We are here to guide you throughout the course of your matter and are well equipped to advise you about the likelihood of achieving a successful outcome if you contest your matter. We will also advise on whether it is possible to negotiate a resolution to a less serious charge and the steps to take to increase the likelihood of receiving a lighter penalty in the event you decide to plead guilty.
Am I Likely to Go to Jail?
All violent crimes are treated seriously by the courts and can and do carry significant sentences if you are found guilty. Cases involving violence against a family member or partner are viewed particularly dimly by the courts such that harsh penalties are imposed regularly, even to first time offenders. The likelihood of jail will depend on the individual circumstances of your case but make no mistake it is often a very real possibility when you are accused of family violence such that it is critical to engage a lawyer to help you prepare your case.
Some of the important matters Stary Norton Halphen’s lawyers will be able to help you understand include:
- Whether you have a defence and your prospects of successfully running that defence;
- When you have been charged with multiple offences and are amendable to pleading guilty to an offence, which charge you should you should consider offering to plead guilty to and the reasons why it is beneficial to you to take that course.
- How serious the charges you are facing are and the range of penalties you may receive in the event you plead guilty to a charge or a number of charges.
- If you do decide to plead guilty, the types of plea material you should obtain and the rehabilitative courses in which you can engage to give you the best opportunity to receive the lightest penalty possible.
- What impact contesting a charge will have on the application for an intervention order which you are facing?
- What impact pleading guilty to a charge will have on the application for an intervention order which you are facing?
- Whether the conditions of the intervention order you are facing can be negotiated to, as the case may be, allow you to return to the family home and/ or see your children.
Intervention Orders are court orders which restrict a person’s access to and interaction with another person or group of people. They are also known as Personal Safety Orders, Restraining Orders, Apprehended Violence Orders, Family Violence Orders and Domestic Violence Orders. They are routinely issued in cases involving allegations of domestic and family violence.
As experienced family and domestic violence lawyers, Stary Norton Halphen’s criminal law professionals routinely deal with cases involving different types of intervention orders. We have many years of experience defending and applying for intervention orders on our clients’ behalf and are here to provide you with the best possible advice when dealing with intervention orders.
For more information, please visit our dedicated Intervention Orders section.
Get in Touch
If you are facing charges related to domestic or family violence and wish to seek legal representation, get in touch with Stary Norton Halphen by calling us on 1800 449 550 or through our online enquiry form. For After Hours enquiries, please call 0407 410 821.
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What is assault?
As defined by the law, assault is either the application of force to another or causing another to fear / apprehend the use of force. A person does not necessarily have to lay a hand on another person in order to have committed an assault. They only need to have threatened to do so. If the police can prove either of these two things, a person will be charged with a summary assault. Although such a charge is the least serious of all assault charges, it still has a maximum penalty of imprisonment—3 months for summary assault and 6 months for an aggravated summary assault (e.g. where the victim is a female or a weapon has been used to effect the assault or the assault occurs in the company of others).
More serious examples of assault always require the police to prove the actual application of force. Furthermore, they must also prove the alleged victim has suffered an injury or numerous injuries and that you have caused them. In circumstances where the police allege you have assaulted a person and caused them an injury, you will be charged with either or both intentionally causing injury or recklessly causing injury. Should the injuries to the victim be numerous or significant, you may well be charged with either or both of intentionally causing serious injury or recklessly causing serious injury.
Causing injury to another is viewed seriously by the Courts and while the penalties vary significantly depending on what you have been charged with, the circumstances in which the allegations arise and whether or not you have a criminal history, once you are charged with one of these offences, in the absence of a viable defence, you are in most instances at risk of a term of imprisonment. In cases involving serious injury charges, in most instances you are at risk of a term of imprisonment of some length.
How serious is my case?
As violent crime covers a broad spectrum of incidents, the seriousness of your case and any subsequent sentencing will depend on the nature of the offence with which you are charged, any aggravating features of your offence and your level of culpability, with regard to the circumstances of your offending and the extent of your involvement in an offence.
Some important matters our criminal lawyers will help you understand include:
What the specific charge levelled against you is?
If multiple charges have been laid, the difference between those charges and whether you have a defence to one or all of the charges, your prospect of successfully defending one or all of the charges and whether or not it would be prudent of you to make a plea offer to one of the charges you are facing?
Whether there is evidence of the alleged crime—were there any witnesses? CCTV footage? Is there DNA evidence?
If you are amenable to pleading guilty the types of plea material you should obtain and the types of rehabilitative courses and treatement in which you should engage to give yourself the best opportunity of receiving the best possible penalty in the circumstances of your case.
What is an Intervention Order?
Intervention Orders, also known as Personal Safety Orders, Restraining Orders, Apprehended Violence Orders, Family Violence Orders and Domestic Violence Orders are court orders restricting a person’s access to and interaction with another person or group of people.
You can find more information in our dedicated Intervention Orders section.
I’ve been charged with a violent offence—what do I do?
The most important thing to do when charged with any offence is to engage an experienced criminal lawyer as soon as possible so that they are able to provide you with advice as to the process you are facing, how to approach your matter, whether or not you have an arguable defence, the various options available to you and what you can do while your case is progressing through the Courts so as to assist you in bettering your own position.
You can call Stary Norton Halphen at their Melbourne office on 1800 449 550 or reach us through our online enquiry form. For all After Hours enquiries, call 0407 410 821.
Am I likely to go to jail?
Violent crimes are treated very seriously by the courts and serious injury charges can and often do carry significant sentences of imprisonment if you are found guilty. Whether or not you go to jail will often depend on the nature of the charge before the Court and the circumstances of the offence. These matters are often the subject of negotiation with police and prosecutors.
When facing a charge of assault, be it because of a fight in public or an allegation of domestic violence, it is of the utmost importance you engage an experienced law firm who can advise you on your case and inform you of the potential outcomes, negotiate with the police or the office of public prosecutions in a strategic way to benefit you, and advocate and defend you forcefully in Court.
Advice from a competent and experienced criminal lawyer before you are interviewed can and often does have a meaningful impact on the outcome of your case and in some instances, is the difference between whether or not your matter proceeds to court or not.
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