Restriction on movement orders
As an alternative to imposing a custodial sentence, the courts can impose restrictions on the movements of those convicted of some minor offences. These restrictions are known as restriction on movement orders and were introduced under Section 101 of the Criminal Justice Act 2006.
A restriction on movement order only applies where someone aged 18 years or over has been convicted by the court and sentenced to a term of imprisonment of 3 months or more. The court cannot impose a restriction on movement order for a period longer than 6 months.
What restrictions can the order impose on me?
The order can restrict your movements as the court considers appropriate and may include a curfew element. This would oblige you to be in a particular place for a particular period. For example, you may be required to be at your home between the hours of 8pm and 8am.
Similarly, the order could include a prohibition forbidding you from being in a particular place for a particular period. For example, you may be required to stay away from a certain named street or premises between 8pm and 8am.
An order cannot require you to remain in a place or places for more than 12 hours in a day.
Before making an order, the court must explain to you:
- What the order means
- The consequences of not complying with the order
- That the court can vary the order if an application is made
The court arranges for a copy of the restriction on movement order to be sent to the Garda station which looks after the area where the offender resides.
Can orders be changed or varied after they are made?
Yes. A court may vary an order on the written application of the following people:
- The offender
- The owner of the premises specified in the order
- An adult normally resident at the premises specified in the order
- A member of the Garda Síochána
The court may vary the order by substituting another place or period of time for the place or time already specified in the order.
Can I have more than one restriction on movement order placed on me?
Yes you can. Where more than one order is in place, however, the period of time that you are required to remain at a place or places cannot exceed 6 months.
Where orders are imposed for two or more offences, they may be concurrent – that is, they run at the same time – or they may be consecutive – that is, the second order will only begin when the first order finishes. In either event the total period of time that you are required to remain at a place or places cannot exceed a maximum of 6 months.
What happens if I fail to comply with the order?
As the Gardaí in your area receive a copy of your order from the court, they have responsibility for monitoring your compliance with it. If the Gardai are of the opinion that you have breached the order they can go back to the court and let the court know. If the court considers that you have breached the order the court can do any of the following:
- Direct you to comply with the order
- Cancel the order and impose another restriction on movement order on you
- Cancel the order and deal with your case in whatever other way it could have been dealt with before the order was made
In reality this means that the court has the power to re-activate or to impose the original prison sentence and send you to jail, if you fail to obey the restriction of movement order.
What offences can result in a restriction of movement order?
Criminal Justice (Public Order) Act 1994
- Section 6: (threatening, abusive or insulting behaviour in a public place)
- Section 8: (failure to comply with direction of a Garda)
- Section 11: (entering building, etc, with intent to commit an offence)
- Section 13: (trespassing on a building or surrounding area in manner likely to cause fear)
- Section 16: (affray - use of violence or violent threats between two or more people which could cause someone else present to fear for their safety)
- Section 19: (assaulting or obstructing a medical professional at a hospital or a peace officer, such as a Garda, prison officer or member of the Defence Forces)