Domestic violence accusations can stretch across several areas of the law, particularly family law. When a person faces these allegations, they often become the subject of a protection from abuse order. These are often referred to as "PFAs" as well. A PFA can be filed in the Bucks County Court of Common Pleas family division, however, these orders can often strongly interfere with a person's ability to simply live their life.
PFA Defense in Bucks County
Throughout the PFA filing process, the person who has been accused of domestic violence will be known as the "defendant," while the person who files the PFA is known as the "plaintiff." PFA orders are normally filed through a brief hearing process, however, under certain circumstances, a plaintiff may file this order "ex parte," or without the defendant present. This is done with the authority of a judge, who will make the determination on whether or not it is necessary to have an emergency PFA order issued. The defendant will be notified by mail or summons of a hearing date for a final PFA order.
PFA Hearings in Bucks County
For normal circumstances for PFA filings, there will be a brief two-step hearing process, which will determine ultimately whether or not a final PFA will be enacted. The first hearing will be held by either a judge or a court master and will determine whether a temporary PFA is necessary, and what the terms will be. Both defendant and plaintiff may attend and present their own supporting information for the matter. The master or judge will then make a decision, and set a date for a final PFA hearing, and instate a temporary PFA if necessary.
For hearings concerning final PFA orders, both plaintiff and defendant will have to attend, and a judge will preside and decide upon the hearing. At the hearing, the plaintiff will have the opportunity to speak first and present their argument and case for the PFA. After this, the defendant may cross-examine the plaintiff. Next, the defendant will have an opportunity to make their defense and will present their case. The plaintiff will also be able to make a cross-examination of the defendant. After this, both parties will be given time to make final comments and rebuttals towards the case. The judge will then bring the hearing to a close, and make a decision on whether or not the final PFA is to be implemented, and if so, what the terms are.
Even if a final PFA order is instated, it is of utmost importance to bring a strong defense into court. A strong defense can significantly affect how the terms of a final PFA are enacted and can reduce any potential infringements on a defendant's life.
If you or a loved one is facing a PFA order, contact attorney Joseph D. Lento today.