Chester County Domestic Violence Attorney

Between 2008 and 2017, there were an estimated 1,200 fatalities attributed to domestic violence in Pennsylvania. The Domestic Violence Center of Chester County was among those counties that pioneered the Lethality Assessment Program (LAP). This initiative has resulted in education and training for 42 agencies of law enforcement regarding the resources available to victims of domestic violence. In 2017, Chester County issued 677 Protection from Abuse (PFA) orders.

Defining Domestic Violence

These acts can be described as those where a knowledgeable individual recklessly inflicts bodily harm or creates fear of bodily harm against a member of their family or household. These may be acts of assault, rape, child abuse, stalking, and more. Criminal charges stemming from these incidents may be either a misdemeanor or a felony.

Charges of Domestic Violence

The aforementioned estimate regarding the number of cases of domestic violence in Chester County was based on the volume of PAF orders. This was done because it can be difficult to decipher the number of violent offenses that involve domestic or intimate partners. Such charges in Pennsylvania are classified under the various offenses involving violence including simple or aggravated assault, reckless endangerment, strangulation, etc.

Process Following a Complaint

  • Any officer responding to a complaint of alleged domestic violence is required to provide the victim(s) with verbal and written information about the local agencies in the community that provide services including shelter, medical care, etc.
  • The officer must also inform the alleged victim(s) of their right to file a PFA
  • The PFA may order the alleged abuser to leave the household and prohibit any contact with the victim(s) i.e. entering their home, school, place of employment, etc. It may also contain temporary orders regarding custody of any minor children and/or that financial support is provided when applicable.
  • The responding officer is required to file an incident report summarizing the details
  • If no arrest was made, the report must contain an explanation of why this decision was made
  • All PFAs are registered into a statewide database by the Pennsylvania State Police
  • The court must hold a hearing within 10 days where the victim(s) must prove by the preponderance of the evidence that any allegations of abuse are genuine
  • The alleged abuser (defendant) will be notified of the hearing and reminded of their right to legal counsel
  • The alleged abuser (defendant) may be required to temporarily surrender any firearms in their possession
  • The courts may implement temporary orders or conditions that they deem necessary for the safety of the victim(s) and/or minor children
  • If the court determines the alleged abuser is a threat to the physical safety of any minor children they may require that any visitation or parenting time be supervised in a secured facility
  • The court retains the ability to provide a confidential address as needed for victims of domestic abuse, sexual assault, etc.

Recent Legislative Activity

Pennsylvania lawmakers are currently addressing at least six pieces of legislation specifically involving domestic violence.

SEN Bill 313

Victims may exit a shared phone plan with the alleged abuser without penalty

SEN Bill 449

New resources for courts regarding bail for those charged with domestic violence

SEN Bill 500

Victims may be accompanied by a law enforcement officer when PFA orders are served

SEN Bill 501

Involves orders that the alleged abuser temporarily relinquish any weapons they possess

SEN Bill 502

Involves the court's ability to extend or create a new PFA if it is expiring

SEN Bill 919

Would allow for victims of domestic or sexual abuse in public housing to be relocated

With this wave of potential changes to laws, those facing these types of charges must ensure they retain an attorney who is regularly engaged in this area of legal practice.

Defense Attorney for Charges Related to Domestic Violence

The stringent procedures regarding how incidents of domestic violence are handled are intended for the safety of victims. In some instances, the accused may be unfairly exaggerating their allegations and using the law as a means of personal retaliation from other disputes. The Lento Law Firm will ensure that your rights are protected and work hard to achieve a positive outcome in these matters. Contact the office today at (888) 535-3686 for a consultation.

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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.

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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