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PA Man Indicated by Federal Grand Jury for Cyberstalking, PFA Violation

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Sep 02, 2022 | 0 Comments

One PFA is enough of a problem for the average person, but a Northampton County man unfortunately learned the hard way that multiple allegations can compound one's problems after being indicted by a federal grand jury and later convicted of cyberstalking.

Although the Northampton County man's situation was unique to a degree, defendants in PFA cases in Pennsylvania can and do regularly face multiple allegations of domestic abuse - in some instances by one plaintiff, and in other instances by multiple plaintiffs.

What happens when not just one, but two, ex-partners take out restraining orders against you? Is that even possible? And are there additional consequences or concerns you might face as a result of this situation? Today we're talking about multiple Protection from Abuse (PFA) orders and the steps you can take if you find yourself in this predicament.

First, the Definition of a PFA

Sometimes called a restraining order or a protective order, a Protection from Abuse order is the proper legal term in the state of Pennsylvania. A person who has been attacked or abused by another person, or who feels they may be the target of violent or threatening behavior may take out a PFA against the perpetrator.

In essence, a PFA prohibits any and all communication between the alleged abuser and the person who's filed it. This includes phone calls, snail mail, email, social media messages, texts, and in-person contact. It also stipulates that the defendant cannot attempt to get in touch with the individual by sending a message through a family member or mutual friend.

Serious Consequences

An emergency PFA will be issued first, then several weeks later, the two parties will attend a hearing. If the judge finds sufficient evidence that the filer is at risk, they will then make the PFA a permanent one.

A person constrained under a PFA order is obliged to surrender any firearms they may have. This would be the case even if no guns were involved in the incident that prompted the PFA.

Protection from Abuse orders are a civil matter. If the individual named in it violates the PFA order by contacting the other person, however, the state does step in. Violating a PFA order is a criminal charge; it may result in up to $250,000 in fines, between one and ten years behind bars, and three years' worth of parole.

How Many PFA Orders Can One Person Have?

There is no limit to the number of Protection from Abuse orders a person can be named in. So yes, it's possible that two former girlfriends, or one former girlfriend and a current wife, or several different family members, can all take out a PFA against one man.

It's important to realize that not all abusers are male or heterosexual. Anyone can commit intimate partner violence (IPV). And although that term suggests a romantic and/or sexual relationship, those are not prerequisites either. Just as with the (outdated) term “domestic violence,” IPV can be committed by family members, exes, baby mamas or baby daddies, or even roommates.

Nor is IPV the only requirement for filing for a PFA order. They are also issued in cases when the defendant is a stranger to the plaintiff. This is not uncommon for public figures who are being stalked, harassed, threatened, or repeatedly contacted by a zealous, dangerous fan.

Help for People Named in Multiple PFAs

There are certainly situations when someone will request a PFA order for nefarious, ulterior motives, such as revenge, a custody-battle bargaining chip, or financial gain. However, if you have received notice that more than one ex-partner has filed for a restraining order against you, it may be time to consider the common denominator—you, yourself—and to take a long, hard look at your behavior.

In the meantime, it's a smart idea to consult with Joseph D. Lento and the team at the Lento Law Firm. PFA orders are difficult to contest in the first place, as the system is designed to favor the plaintiff and secure their safety. When a second or third order is thrown into the mix, it becomes very difficult, if not impossible, to successfully defend yourself. Contact us using this form or call us today at 888-535-3686 to tell us about your situation, and we can help you untangle yourself from this complicated snare.

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento has unparalleled experience fighting for the futures of his professional clients nationwide. With unparalleled experience occupying several roles in the 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. 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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