LEGAL EAGLE: ‘Police are applying for court order do I need a solicitor?’
I was recently arrested following false allegations that I threatened my partner.
When I was released the police gave me a document named Domestic Violence Protection Notice which mentions a court hearing. The police say I don’t need to go but they are applying for some sort of court order. What should I do? Do I need a solicitor?
The police may issue a Domestic Violence Protection Notice (DVPN) following an arrest for a domestic violence allegation. This usually occurs when there is insufficient evidence to allow for a prosecution and is intended to allow a “cooling off period” between you and your partner. DVPNs and DVPOs have complex legal consequences and you are absolutely right to consider arranging representation.
The DVPN must be served on you personally and it lasts up to a maximum of 48 hours. It can place a number of restrictions on you including not allowing you to go home. The police can do this even if you and your partner don’t agree to the DVPN.
The police must apply to a Magistrates Court within 48 hours (excluding Sundays, Bank Holidays, Good Friday and Christmas Day) to make the Notice into an Order. If during this time you breach the Notice you can be arrested and brought before the court in custody for the application to be made earlier. Breach of a DVPN is not an offence but the police will likely put you before the court earlier for the DVPO to be considered where they suspect such a breach.
When considering making a Domestic Violence Protection Order (DVPO) the court must consider the following legal test: That it is reasonably believed that violence has been used or threatened by you towards the alleged victim; and the order is necessary to protect the alleged victim from further violence/threat of violence.
An order can be made for a minimum of 14 and a maximum of 28 days and can prohibit you from returning home or contacting your partner. If you have children together, the DVPO could also have an impact on your contact with them.
The court will consider your views and your partners views but can make an order even if neither of you want one. Breach of a DVPO is an offence for which you can be arrested, detained and produced before a court, and can result in a fine and/or imprisonment.
This is clearly a significant infringement on your rights to go about your private life and you should seriously consider arranging legal representation.