I was accused of assaulting my mother, but the police took no further action after I was interviewed. When I was released from the police station I was handed a Domestic Violence Protection Notice. I am told that this means I cannot contact my mother. Is this legal? My mother has even told the police that she does not want this in place.
A DVPN can be issued if a relevant police officer has reasonable grounds for believing that a person has been violent towards another, and the DVPN is necessary to protect the other person from violence or threats.
The DVPN will usually prevent contact with the other person and ban you from their home address. There are many other possible conditions such as exclusion zones for a set period of time.
A DVPN cannot be authorised by a rank below a superintendent but can only be issued to a person over 18 if there are reasonable grounds for believing:-
- The person has been violent towards, or has threatened violence towards an associated person, and
- The issue of the DVPN is necessary to protect that person from violence or a threat of violence by the person.
If you do not comply with the DVPN conditions you can be arrested and brought into custody before the Magistrates Court which will hear an application to impose a Domestic Violence Protection Order (DVPO).
Within 48 hours of the DVPN being issued the police must make an application to the Magistrates Court for a DVPO (a court order replacing the notice) if they wish to extend the length of the conditions. The Order can be in place between 14 and 28 days and can include a variety of restrictions. A breach of the Order can result in a maximum fine of £5000 or 2 months imprisonment.
The Police must consider the opinion of the alleged victim before issuing the DVPN but can proceed even if they do not want it imposed. In effect these Orders can be made on the basis of mere suspicion without the normal rules of evidence required to secure a conviction.
Contact a solicitor immediately if you wish to challenge a DVPN or DVPO. Legal advice at the police station is free and representations can be made to police to seek to avoid a DVPN. Legal aid may also be available at court to challenge to DVPO.
Ben Hoare Bell LLP has specialist Criminal Defence solicitors across the North East. To speak to a solicitor please phone 0191 565 3112 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note that this advice was correct at the time of writing. However there may have been changes in the law or procedure since that date. If you are in doubt you should obtain up to date legal advice.