Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence is a hot-button issue in the United States, and Pennsylvania is no different. These offenses are treated very seriously both by Pennsylvania code and by Philadelphia law enforcement officers. After all, every spouse, parent, and family member deserves special legal protection from an act of violence within his or her own family unit.

The following acts can be considered domestic violence in Pennsylvania and are thusly protected:

The laws giving special consideration to these and other acts of domestic violence are intended sole for protection. Unfortunately, however, false and exaggerated charges of domestic violence are often used as a weapon in volatile situations like child custody battles and divorces.

No matter the circumstances surrounding your Pennsylvania domestic violence charge, you should make sure your rights are protected. An experienced criminal defense attorney will be able to fight for your rights and work to defend your future from any unfair penalties or consequences.

Philadelphia Domestic Violence Lawyer

Joseph Lento is an experienced attorney and founder of Lento Law Firm. With years of experience serving the Philadelphia justice system in various facets, Joseph Lento operates his firm on the principles of customer service and justice, wanting to provide the best legal service to the defendants that need it most. If you have been accused of domestic violence in Philadelphia and face a charge like domestic assault or child abuse, contact the lawyers of Lento Law Firm.

We will fight for the protection of your rights in a biased situation and build a strong, comprehensive defense for your case. To find out what Lento Law Firm can do for your Philadelphia domestic violence case, whether your charges are false or exaggerated, call (215) 535-5353 today and set up your free initial consultation.

Pennsylvania Laws Regarding Domestic Violence

Important Related Definitions

Since domestic violence crimes can extend outside what one would consider the traditional family unit, it is important to know a few terms before reviewing the charge you face. The following definitions are found in Pennsylvania Code Title 18 §6102, and could have a strong impact on your defense as well as other factors involving your Pennsylvania domestic violence case:

Cohabit

  • When you and another person are living together as if you are married or family

Family or Household Member

  • Spouse
  • Ex-spouse
  • Persons related by blood
  • Persons related by marriage
  • Persons who have a biological child together
  • Current sexual partners
  • Former sexual partners
  • Cohabiters
  • Persons who have previously cohabited

Harass

  • To direct certain uninvited conduct that has no legitimate purpose towards another person

Domestic Abuse

  • Causing or attempting to cause bodily injury, rape, sexual assault with or without a weapon, false imprisonment, or child abuse knowingly or intentionally to a family or household member.

Protection from Abuse Order

  • Temporary or permanent protective order or restraining order from a judge prohibiting someone from committing specified acts and/or requiring someone to commit specified acts as a result of domestic abuse allegations

Domestic Violence Charges Common to Philadelphia

Harassment

  • When an individual intends to harass another person by making physical contact, following them, communicating with them repeatedly, or repeatedly engages in conduct serving no purpose
  • Summary offense
  • Up to 90 days in jail
  • Up to $300 fine
  • 18 Pa.C.S. § 2709

Stalking

  • When a person repeatedly follows or communicates with another person and causes that person severe emotional distress or a reasonable fear of bodily injury
  • First-degree misdemeanor or Third-degree felony
  • Up to 2.5-5 years or 3.5-7 years of jail, depending on the classification
  • Up to $10,000 or $15,000 fine, depending on the classification
  • 18 Pa.C.S. § 2709.1

False Imprisonment

  • Knowingly and unlawfully restraining a person against his or her will
  • Second-degree misdemeanor
  • 1-2 years of prison
  • Up to $5,000 fine
  • 18 Pa.C.S. § 2903

Child Abuse

  • Includes a variety of actions, but generally occurs when a parent or guardian knowingly endangers the welfare of a child through negligent or reckless actions
  • First-degree misdemeanor or third-degree felony, depending on the case
  • Up to 2.5-5 years or 3.5-7 years of jail, depending on the classification
  • Up to $10,000 or $15,000 fine, depending on the classification
  • 23 Pa.C.S. § 6903(b)

Sexual Assault

  • Engaging in sexual intercourse either with a person against his or her consent or with a person unable to give his or her consent
  • Second-degree felony
  • 5-10 years of prison
  • $25,000 fine
  • 18 Pa. C.S. § 3122.1

Responding to Protective Order Violations

Protection from Abuse Orders are used in Pennsylvania to protect a child, family member, or household member from an abuser by prohibiting the abuser from threatening, harassing, or stalking the victim. This is accomplished by specifically prohibiting the abuser from contact with the victim, coming within a certain distance of the victim, entering the school grounds of the victim or the victim's child, showing up at the victim's work, possessing a firearm, removing child custody from the abuser, or any other specific relief the judge deems necessary to protect the victim.

Violating the terms of the protective order is a serious offense that can result in serious consequences. A law enforcement officer can arrest an abuse for an alleged violation of a protective order without witnessing the events surrounding the violation. If the alleged violation is confirmed by the court, the abuser could be facing contempt of a protection order, which involves up to 6 months of prison and fines up to $1,000. This does not include any private complaints or criminal charges arising out of the same incident.

Philadelphia Domestic Violence Resources

Philadelphia Police Department - The city police department has the task of promoting peace and ensuring the safety for over one and a half million people. Officers are tasked with responding to calls for domestic violence and making quick judgments between aggressor and victim.

750 Race Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Non-emergency phone: 311
In an emergency, dial 911
 

AARDVARC - Pennsylvania Division – AARDVARC stands for an Abuse, Rape, and Domestic Violence Aid and Resource Collection and is an organization committed to fighting and preventing domestic violence with information. This page is home to the Pennsylvania division, where you can find local information on the organization.

PCADV - Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence – This site is operated by PCADV, a statewide nonprofit organization dedicated to ending Pennsylvania domestic violence. It contains critical information about domestic abuse programs, family violence hot-lines, domestic violence counseling and shelters, and other resources for those who struggle with abusive relationships.

Finding the Best Domestic Violence Defense Attorney in Philadelphia

If you are facing domestic violence charges in the Philadelphia area, you could be facing an uphill battle – even if you are innocent. Fight to defend your rights and protect your freedom by calling Joseph Lento of Lento Law Firm today. He will use his nearly 10 years of experience working with the Pennsylvania justice system to build a strong, customized case just for your circumstances.

To begin your defense, call Lento Law Firm today at (215) 535-5353 and schedule your free initial Philadelphia domestic violence case evaluation.

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Attorney Joseph D. Lento has nearly a decade of experience successfully resolving clients' criminal charges in Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania counties. If you are having any uncertainties about what the future may hold for you or a loved one, contact the Lento Law Firm today! Criminal defense attorney Joseph D. Lento will go above and beyond the needs of any client, and will fight until the final bell rings.

This website was created only for general information purposes. It is not intended to be construed as legal advice for any situation. Only a direct consultation with a licensed Pennsylvania and New Jersey attorney can provide you with formal legal counsel based on the unique details surrounding your situation. The pages on this website may contain links and contact information for third party organizations – the Lento Law Firm does not necessarily endorse these organizations nor the materials contained on their website. In Pennsylvania, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout Pennsylvania's 67 counties, including, but not limited to Philadelphia, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, Berks, Lancaster, Lehigh, and Northampton County. In New Jersey, attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New Jersey's 21 counties: Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Salem, Somerset, Sussex, Union, and Warren County, Outside of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, unless attorney Joseph D. Lento is admitted pro hac vice if needed, his assistance is educational advice, and does not constitute legal advice or the practice of law. The decision to hire an attorney in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania counties, New Jersey, or nationwide should not be made solely on the strength of an advertisement. We invite you to contact the Lento Law Firm directly to inquire about our specific qualifications and experience. Communicating with the Lento Law Firm by email, phone, or fax does not create an attorney-client relationship. The Lento Law Firm will serve as your official legal counsel upon a formal agreement from both parties. Any information sent to the Lento Law Firm before an attorney-client relationship is made is done on a non-confidential basis.

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