Alleged victims of domestic violence may obtain Protection from Abuse (PFA) orders against their alleged offenders. Regardless of whether the alleged offender agrees with the court's decision, he or she is expected to abide by the terms of the PFA and there are severe consequences to violating the terms of the order.
Because a PFA can often impose enormous restrictions in regards to child custody and possession of homes, it is not uncommon for alleged offenders to feel the terms of these orders are unfair. However, violating any aspect of a PFA will result in additional criminal charges and very serious penalties.
Philadelphia Violation of PFA Order Lawyer
Have you been arrested for allegedly being in contempt of a PFA Order in Pennsylvania? You will want to immediately seek the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney who will fight to protect your rights.
Joseph Lento of Lento Law Firm aggressively defends clients from all over Philadelphia County and many nearby areas of Pennsylvania against these charges. He can provide a complete evaluation of your case and begin developing a formidable legal defense when you call (215) 535-5353 to schedule a free, confidential consultation.
Overview of Violation of PFA Orders in Philadelphia County
- What are the differences between certain kinds of these orders?
- How might an alleged offender be specifically affected by such an order?
- What are the possible consequences for a person convicted of violating a PFA?
There are essentially three different kinds of PFA Orders. The lengths of times that these orders can last and the process in which they are acquired varies:
- Emergency PFA Order — This type of PFA is issued by an on-call magisterial district judge if he or she believed that the alleged victim is in immediate and present danger. Emergency orders will be granted without any evidence or statement from the alleged offender, and they typically expire the following business day when the court is open and the alleged victim can apply for an ex parte temporary PFA order.
- Ex Parte Temporary PFA Order — This is another temporary PFA Order, but it lasts longer than an emergency order. An ex parte order is based on a preponderance of the evidence provided only by the alleged victim and will stay in effect until the full court hearing for the final PFA, at which the alleged offender will have the opportunity to present his or her own evidence and testimony. The final hearing is typically scheduled within 10 business days.
- Final PFA Order — This type of PFA Order may last up to three years, but it can be extended or appealed during that period. During the final hearing, both the alleged offender and the alleged victim will have the opportunity to testify, provide evidence, and call witnesses.
Under Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes Title 23 § 6108, a PFA may provide the following forms of protection for an alleged victim which an alleged offender is expected to abide by:
- Order alleged offender to not abuse, harass, or stalk alleged victim, his or her relatives, and his or her minor children
- Order alleged offender to be removed from a shared home
- Grant possession of shared home to the alleged victim
- Order alleged offender to provide the alleged victim with suitable housing
- Award temporary custody rights of alleged victim's minor children
- Order alleged offender to provide financial support for alleged victim
- Order alleged offender to relinquish weapons, firearms, and ammunition to law enforcement
- Prohibit alleged offender from acquiring new firearms
- Order alleged offender to pay restitution to alleged victim for losses relating to the abuse, such as medical bills, relocation costs, attorney fees, or lost incomes
An alleged offender who is convicted of violating a PFA order faces extremely harsh consequences. Under Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes Title 23 § 6114, sentences may include:
- Fine of up to $1000
- Up to six months in jail
- Extension of PFA order
- Confiscation of any weapons, firearms, or ammunition used or threatened to be used in violation of PFA or prior incidents of abuse
Find the Best Contempt of PFA Order Lawyer in Philadelphia
If you have been charged with violating a PFA Order in Pennsylvania, it is critical to make sure that you are represented by an extremely knowledgeable and dedicated criminal defense attorney. Joseph Lento has nearly a decade of experience defending people accused of various domestic violence crimes.
Lento Law Firm represents clients throughout Philadelphia County as well as surrounding communities in Pennsylvania. You can call (215) 535-5353 right now to schedule a free, no obligation consultation that will let our firm review your case and understand your legal options.