Avoid Escalating a PFA Situation

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | May 04, 2022 | 0 Comments

Learning that an estranged spouse or intimate partner has gotten a Pennsylvania protection-from-abuse (PFA) order against one can be extremely upsetting. Usually, though, the PFA plaintiff who got the order is nowhere near when the PFA defendant learns of the order. Courts and police take pains to ensure that PFA does not trigger the defendant into violence against the plaintiff. The order will typically restrain the defendant from contact with the plaintiff and will surely prohibit violence. And police or a process server, not the protected PFA plaintiff, will get the PFA order into the defendant's hands. Learning about a PFA order is upsetting but manageable. Simply remain calm while promptly retaining skilled and experienced Pennsylvania PFA defense attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm.

Yet PFA situations can develop unexpectedly, triggering strong reactions. A defendant under a PFA order to remain out of the home and away from the protected plaintiff will usually do so. But the protected plaintiff will often be moving about the community, just like the restrained defendant. And chance encounters at the grocery store, diner, or other public and private locations can quickly become explosive, especially when the protected plaintiff hurls accusations or worse at the chagrined defendant. In all such cases, the PFA defendant must remain calm and withdraw from the situation as quickly and quietly as possible, no matter what triggering circumstances exist. Far better to address differences later, through counsel, than to let a PFA situation escalate.

What Not to Do in a PFA Situation

A recent press report shares a prime example of how not to respond to a PFA situation. In that case, a PFA defendant allegedly argued at a Kernville retail store with the woman who had the PFA against him. The woman allegedly pepper sprayed the defendant in the encounter. The defendant, doubtless deeply disturbed and physically in pain from the pepper spraying, promptly told police, who happened to be monitoring traffic nearby. Yet when police learned from the woman that she had a PFA order against the defendant, police arrested the defendant, placing him in the squad car.

If the defendant had held his peace, he might have faced only the PFA-violation charge. Circumstances might even have shown that the defendant had not intended to encounter the woman in the store and had instead tried to avoid her. But unfortunately, that's when things turned from bad to much worse. Instead of holding his peace in the back of the squad car, the defendant allegedly tried to kick open the car door and kick out the car window. Police allege that the defendant further kicked an officer several times as they dragged him from the car to the police station. Prosecutors charged the PFA defendant with felony aggravated assault, simple assault, and misdemeanor disorderly conduct. The defendant was unable to post bond and remained in jail. It was little consolation that police also took the woman into custody relating to pepper spraying the defendant.

Retain a Premier Pennsylvania PFA Defense Attorney

If you are involved in a Pennsylvania PFA dispute like the one above or need premier help avoiding and resolving a similar situation, retain Pennsylvania PFA attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm for your representation now. Call 888-535-3686 or go online now.

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento passionately fights for the futures of his clients in criminal courtrooms in Philadelphia and across Pennsylvania as well as in New Jersey and nationwide. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. With unparalleled experience occupying several roles in the criminal justice system outside of being an attorney, Joseph D. Lento can give you valuable behind-the-scenes insight as to what is happening during all phases of the legal process. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, and is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide. In the courtroom and in life, attorney Joseph D. Lento stands up when the bell rings!


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Attorney Joseph D. Lento has more than 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.

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