Questions & Answers

We recently provided the general public the opportunity to ask us any questions on Facebook in relation to Family Law. Our team of expert legal professionals, led by Principal Glenn Thexton, provided the following responses to the questions:

1. Can the police enter a private residence without anyone home at the time?

Generally they can, only if they have a search warrant while they have reason to believe that a person is in the property and there is cause to arrest that person, but not for all offences.

2. Please explain if birth parents can be charged as criminals if they commit a criminal act against their children.

Birth parents or biological parents can be charged with criminal offending against their own children.

3. How do you have an order revoked?

You can apply to the court to have your order revoked.

4. Can I change my children’s last names without informing their father?

Only in very limited circumstances would this be possible.

5. If a person illegally enters a private property and is attacked by dogs on the premises, will the owner be forced to have them euthanized or have them declared dangerous? The above link is the answer and points to the fact that if the person being attacked was trespassing, this can in turn be used as a defence by the owner or person in charge of the dog at the time. In the event of a home invasion which for this act is defined as trespass, it is an exception or defence to usual consequences such as impoundment and euthanasia that may follow a dog attack by local council.

6. Why is it so easy for criminals to obtain bail so quickly?

Quite a broad question here, but I think a good general answer is that the courts exercise their role independent of public views for the most part.

7. If somebody enters private property unlawfully and threatens the lives of those inhabiting the premises, do said lives have the right to protect themselves by any means?

You have a right to defend yourself using reasonable force in order for it to be classed self-defence.

8. With repeat offenders in stalking, why are they given such a short amount of time in jail?

It is not correct to say that nothing is done to keep victims safe. Sentencing for breach of intervention order has increased dramatically over recent years and the courts do sentence people to terms of imprisonment for this offence. At times, what action is taken depends on the Police’s discretion and this is where problems arise when people do not take the behaviour as seriously as they ought to.

9. If someone breaches their good behaviour bond, can they be re-sentenced?

Quite often the breach of a good behaviour bond is not enforced. Strictly speaking, a person can be re-sentenced in respect of the original offence if they breach a good behaviour bond, but this does not always occur due to human factors.

10. Parking Fines!! They are seen as a criminal matter... how is this so and how does the justice system get away with this?

They can become part-criminal if a warrant is issued to enforce them and that is what can lead to jail. It is also possible to issue a civil warrant for arrest to bring a person to court and this is essentially how fines are enforced.

11. Is there any way to get my criminal history wiped or not show on a criminal history check?

Victoria Police have a policy in place called the information release policy that applies to requests for a person’s criminal conviction history. The Police policy states that it will not release details of prior offences if 10 years has passed since an adult was last found guilty of an offence, and a five-year waiting period applies to juvenile offending. After these periods the criminal history should not be released.

12. Is it against the law and a criminal act if someone forges my signature on a legal JSA (job safety act) document and hands the forms into work saying I've signed it after hurting myself at work?

I think this would be a breach of the relevant WorkCover legislation that may give rise to a criminal prosecution.

13. Are amendments after the original letter has been sent possible?

Yes, it is possible to amend orders.