PFAs are serious and come with strict rules that apply regardless of your profession, education, or income level. For example, Pennsylvania State Representative Kevin Boyle was recently arrested for violating a PFA order that had been issued against him. This high-profile demonstration of the effect that a PFA order can have on an individual's life shows just how devastating the consequences of violating a PFA can be. Now, Mr. Boyle's fellow representatives are calling for his resignation.
Even though Representative Boyle's attorney noted that no instances of violence contributed to the PFA violation, the fact of the matter is, once the PFA order is in place, it takes very little to trigger it.
What is a PFA?
In Pennsylvania, a Protection from Abuse order is essentially a restraining order that can be sought by someone who's accused you of domestic violence. Because of the domestic nature of the PFA, the relationship between you and your accuser must fall into one of the following categories:
- You are married or were formerly married
- You are parents of the same child
- You live or lived together at one time and were intimate
- You are in a romantic relationship or were at one time
The effects of a PFA are substantial. For example, if you share the same home with your accuser, then you'll have to move out. If you share children with your accuser, then your parental rights may be jeopardized. While these circumstances are extremely difficult, and you may be tempted to try and work things out with your accuser, doing so would be a violation, and you can be arrested.
What Constitutes a PFA Violation
Those subject to a Final PFA Order must avoid any contact with the person who requested the PFA. You can probably guess that showing up at your accuser's home and threatening acts of violence will violate your PFA order. What you may not realize, though, is that seemingly benign actions will also constitute a PFA violation. Some examples of these types of violations include:
- Phone calls, text messages, or emails
- Being in the same space as your accuser, whether public or private
- Trying to contact your accuser even to make amends
- Trying to contact your accuser through a third party
Ultimately, an individual subject to a PFA order could violate the order almost by accident. Regardless of your intent, you could be arrested for the violation.
Finding an Experienced Pennsylvania PFA Attorney
If a PFA has been issued against you, you need to contact an experienced PFA lawyer who can help you understand the best approach to overcoming the order without violating it. Attorney Joseph D. Lento has vast experience helping individuals and families deal with PFA orders, and to learn how he and his team at the Lento Law Firm can help you today, call 888-535-3686.