A recent attempted murder case shows that truth is sometimes stranger than fiction. Pennsylvania state police recently arrested a man for allegedly trying to kill his wife by creating a tripwire at the top of his home stairway. In response, the wife filed a PFA order to protect her in the event of his release from jail.
Police allege that the Westmoreland County man rigged a tripwire with fishing line at the top of his stairs. He is currently charged with multiple felonies, including attempted homicide, and held on a $50,000 bond in the Westmoreland County Jail.
It appears that the husband's devious plan was almost successful. The wife reportedly fell on the wire but avoided serious injuries. Although the man is currently in jail, the wife filed a protection from abuse order in case he is released.
What Is a PFA Order?
PFAs are court orders that protect victims of domestic violence from their abusers. A PFA can legally require an abuser to cease contact with their victim for a determined amount of time. In Pennsylvania, victims can only file PFAs against certain people, such as relatives, spouses, or intimate partners.
Pennsylvania statute 6102 defines abuse as participating in the following acts:
- Attempting to cause or causing bodily injury, serious bodily injury, rape, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, incest, and forms of assault and sexual assault
- Placing a person in reasonable fear of bodily injury
- The infliction of false imprisonment
- Physically or sexually abusing minor children
How PFAs Can Help
PFAs provide victims of domestic abuse with legal protections that prohibit their abuser from contacting them. A judge will typically issue a temporary order that lasts up to 10 business days to ensure the immediate safety of the filer. The judge will then conduct a hearing to review the evidence. If they determine if there is a reason to uphold the order, they will issue a final order of protection.
PFAs can protect victims from their abusers for up to three years. PFAs can cause the recipient to cease contact with the filer, leave a family home, lose visitation rights with children, and more. If someone violates a PFA order, they face legal consequences such as jail time and fines.
When PFAs Are Not Appropriate
Although PFAs can protect people from the threat of abuse, they are not always appropriate. In Pennsylvania, people should only file PFAs if they are abused or in fear of abuse as defined by the law.
What happens if someone issues a baseless PFA order against you? It's important to cease contact with the filer right away. You will have a chance to defend yourself during the final hearing. You should contact a defense attorney right away to make sure you do not violate the terms of the PFA. You can also use an attorney to collect evidence, create a defense, and advocate on your behalf during the hearing.
Your hearing plays a crucial role in determining the outcome of your case. If you've been issued a PFA order, contact attorney Joseph D. Lento. The Lento Law Firm can help you push back against an inappropriate PFA and work to secure your rights. Contact Lento Law Firm at 888-535-3686 today.
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