The arrest of a Pennsylvania man who had been on the run from police for weeks highlights the serious consequences defendants who violate Protections for Abuse orders (PFAs) can face.
Law enforcement officers apprehended Rick Waugaman in February after a wild vehicle pursuit. There were six warrants out for his arrest at the time for multiple charges, including two PFA violations, a felony firearms violation, flight to avoid apprehension, stalking, and harassment.
Waugaman attended a hearing via video chat from Northumberland County jail to face preliminary charges for the previous incidents, and law enforcement officials filed additional charges stemming from the vehicle pursuit.
Waugaman's PFA Order Violations
Court documents in the case show that a woman who held a PFA against Waugaman said that, between November and January, he:
- Texted her 28 times, stating in one of the texts that police would need a “body bag” for himself and “others”
- Went to her home
- Called her and said he was coming to her home
- Was found sleeping on a bed in the woman's home; when he awoke, he jumped toward a firearm and threatened to kill himself
- Called her from a hospital where he was staying
- Banged on the door to her home
The woman also found a tracking device — which was traced back to Waugaman's phone number — on her car.
Court documents also indicate the firearm in the incident was not registered to Waugaman, who is prohibited from possessing a firearm due to a prior felony conviction.
What Is a PFA and What Are the Consequences for Violating It?
Pennsylvania's Protection From Abuse Act protects victims of sexual assault and domestic violence with a court order of protection known as Protection from Abuse. Most PFAs forbid defendants from directly or indirectly contacting their accuser. This includes in-person contact as well as contact via phone, text, and social media.
Violating a PFA can have serious consequences. Courts can hold defendants in contempt of court and, depending on the circumstances, impose civil fines and damages or order incarceration.
In addition, Pennsylvania gun owners face serious risks of losing their firearms any time they face a PFA proceeding. Specifically, a court can:
- Prohibit the PFA defendant from acquiring or possessing any firearms for the duration of the order;
- Order the defendant to temporarily relinquish any firearms under the defendant's possession or control; and
- Require the defendant to relinquish any firearms license the defendant may possess
If You Have Been Served a PFA in Pennsylvania, Attorney Joseph D. Lento and His Experienced Criminal Defense Team Can Help
As the Waugaman case illustrates, violating the terms of a PFA can have serious consequences. If you have been served a PFA in Pennsylvania, Attorney Joseph D. Lento and his experienced Criminal Defense Team are knowledgeable about the intricacies of the law and procedures regarding PFAs. They will fight to ensure that your rights are protected. Contact Attorney Joseph D. Lento and his experienced Criminal Defense Team at the Lento Law Firm at 888-535-3686, or submit a confidential online consultation form.