A protection from abuse (PFA) order is not something to be taken lightly. A PFA can have a serious impact on the defendant's life, ruin their reputation, and cost a lot of money to get the order reversed. Many people find themselves subject to a restraining order based on nothing more than lies and false allegations.
Even after successfully challenging a false PFA complaint, the defendant may feel like the victim of a broken system that forces innocent people to prove their own innocence instead of the standard innocent until proven guilty. In some cases, a person who filed a false PFA complaint may be guilty of perjury and subject to criminal penalties.
After reviewing this information and the PFA FAQ, if you have any questions or need help with a protection from abuse order in Pennsylvania, contact PFA defense attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm in Philadelphia or King of Prussia.
Priority to Challenge the Final PFA Hearing
The first priority after being served notice of an emergency PFA, ex parte temporary PFA, or upcoming hearing for a final PFA is to challenge the PFA. A PFA will have an immediate impact on your daily life, including restricting:
- Where you can go,
- Who you can talk to,
- Child custody and visitation,
- Gun ownership, and
- Where you can live.
Successfully challenging the PFA will avoid the restrictions of a PFA and can be an opportunity to present evidence of the false allegations. The false allegations and the plaintiff's response to the allegations may be part of the court record. These conflicting statements and false filings may be introduced in a criminal case for perjury.
The next step may be to expunge the temporary PFA order if it was based on false allegations or filed in bad faith. Talk to your Pennsylvania PFA lawyer about how to clear your record if you are falsely accused of abuse or subject to a bad faith PFA.
Perjury in Pennsylvania
Perjury is a criminal charge. As a criminal offense, it is generally up to the District Attorney (DA) whether or not to press criminal charges. You may be able to bring a civil claim for defamation, libel, or slander, but it is up to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania whether or not to bring criminal charges against the defendant.
Under Pennsylvania Statute Title 18 § 4902, perjury is, in any official proceeding, making a false statement under oath or equivalent affirmation, or swearing or affirming the truth of a statement previously made, when the statement is material and the individual does not believe it to be true. If convicted, perjury is a felony in the 3rd degree.
Alternatively, making a false report to law enforcement to incriminate another is a misdemeanor under Pennsylvania Statute Title 18 § 4906. It is a crime for “a person who knowingly gives false information to any law enforcement officer with intent to implicate another.”
Unfortunately, it may be out of your hands if the Commonwealth does not want to bring criminal charges against the person who filed a false PFA complaint. Your priority should be to protect your interests and your reputation. Contact a Pennsylvania PFA defense lawyer as soon as you learn about false claims of abuse, harassment, or stalking.
Pennsylvania PFA Defense Lawyer
Pennsylvania PFA defense attorney Joseph D. Lento has helped clients avoid restraining orders based on false allegations. Having your voice heard in this challenging time is critical and the Lento Law firm can help. Contact Joseph D. Lento today at 888-535-3686.