When the court issues a Protection From Abuse (PFA) order against the defendant, the defendant often will be prohibited from contacting the other party and will always be prohibited from harassing, abusing, or harming the other party. However, the order can also direct the defendant to pay out-of-pocket costs to the plaintiff for things related to the abuse.
All these costs can end up coming to a lot of money, in addition to court fees and legal costs. This is one reason why it can make such a difference to have an experienced PFA defense lawyer on your side. Your attorney can advise you of your options and help reduce the financial burden of a PFA.
Financial Costs to the Defendant Under a PFA
Under a PFA, the “relief” available includes all the restrictions and limitations for the subject of the order. This includes directing the defendant not to contact the plaintiff, awarding custody, and granting possession of the residence. Among the relief available is to direct the defendant to pay money for the benefit of the plaintiff. Depending on the final PFA order, this can cost the defendant a lot of money.
Under the Pennsylvania Protection From Abuse Act, 23 Pa.C.S. § 6108(8), the PFA can direct the defendant to pay the plaintiff for reasonable losses suffered as a result of the abuse, including:
- Medical and dental expenses,
- Relocation and moving expenses;
- Loss of earnings or support;
- Costs of repair or replacement of real or personal property damaged, destroyed, or taken by the defendant;
- Other out-of-pocket losses for injuries sustained; and
- Pay reasonable attorney fees.
A PFA may also require the defendant to stay out of their home, which could mean having to find a place to stay with limited notice. The defendant may have no option but to find a hotel room for a few weeks or longer, without their clothing or property, all while continuing to go to work to keep their job.
Examples of Costs of a PFA
The cost of a PFA will depend on a lot of factors but here are some examples of how much a 30-day PFA could cost the defendant.
- The average cost for a non-surgical treatment of a broken arm: $2,500
- Average cost to hire a moving company for a 2 bedroom move locally: $745
- Average 2-bedroom apartment cost in Philadelphia: $1,169
- Counseling session at $120/hour, once a week: $480
- Loss of earnings for average mean wage for 1 month in Pennsylvania: $4,278
- Sample cost of a car window replacement: $224
These are just some sample costs. More serious medical, dental, or injury expenses can easily rise into the tens of thousands. Relocation costs for a larger family can also be a big increase in cost. This is all in addition to the possibility of having to pay the plaintiff's reasonable legal costs.
Talk to your Pennsylvania PFA defense lawyer about your options to make sure you do not get taken advantage of in a PFA hearing.
Pennsylvania PFA Defense Lawyer
Pennsylvania attorney Joseph D. Lento has helped individuals accused of abuse and stalking avoid a PFA order. Protecting your rights is critical and the Lento Law firm can help. Contact Joseph D. Lento today at 888-535-3686.