How Intoxication Can Inspire PFA Violations

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Nov 23, 2022 | 0 Comments

State Police in Coudersport were sent to the scene of a motor vehicle action and Protection from Abuse (PFA) violation. Roberto Diaz apparently entered the sleeping victim's home through the unlocked garage door and took some of his belongings from the victim's bedroom. He also took the victim's cell phone before taking off in his truck and causing damage to the victim's yard.

As Mr. Diaz entered the road, he lost control of the truck, hurtled into a small stream, and was found walking in the woods about a mile away. Police stated that Mr. Diaz was under the influence of alcohol and other controlled substances. He was charged with a series of offenses, including DUI/Unsafe driving, criminal trespass, and criminal mischief.

Protection From Abuse Orders

In Pennsylvania, victims of abuse can request a judge to issue a temporary or permanent restraining order against their alleged abuser who is, or was, an intimate partner or family member, like spouses or ex-spouses, children, parents, or persons related by blood or marriage.

To receive a PFA, the victim must go to the county courthouse and file a petition for protection. A judge will then review the petition and grant or deny a temporary PFA. Temporary PFA's last until a hearing is scheduled – usually ten business days. The victim is protected for these ten days, and then both parties must present themselves at a PFA hearing.

During the PFA hearing, both sides are allowed to present their sides of the story. The judge will decide whether, based on the evidence and testimony presented, if a final PFA is necessary. If they do, they will outline specifically what and who the PFA covers and how long it will last (it can last up to three years).

Common PFA Stipulations

When the judge issues a victim a PFA, the PFA will describe behavior that the alleged abuser must avoid. Some examples of common stipulations include:

  • Refraining from threatening the victim
  • Evicting the abuser from the joint home or residency
  • Granting temporary custody of minor children to the victim
  • Prohibiting the abuser from contacting the victim or children at work or school
  • Requiring the abuser to turn over weapons to their local sheriff's office

If you violate any of the stipulations in the PFA, the police can arrest you and subject you to jail time, probation, and certain fines.

How a Skilled PFA Defense Attorney Can Help

In the article discussed above, the victim had a PFA against Mr. Diaz. Mr. Diaz violated the terms of the PFA by entering the victim's home. Had Mr. Diaz not been intoxicated prior to, and during, this event, he may not have thought to travel to the victim's home and enter without her permission. Intoxication is not a defense to PFA violations, but it is a great indicator of mindset. Alcohol and other controlled substances can have a marked effect on the behavior of the user, lowering their inhibition and creating a false sense of confidence. Without inhibitions and with increased confidence, individuals tend to make poor decisions, like Mr. Diaz.

If you have been accused of violating a PFA, Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm can help. Attorney Lento and his expert team have spent years helping individuals in Pennsylvania defend themselves against unnecessary punishments or overreaching PFA orders. Call 888-535-3686 today for help, or schedule a consultation online.

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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