Domestic violence accusations can be difficult matters for any individual. These accusations are particularly difficult for individuals who seek to obtain a career in law enforcement or those who are already in law enforcement positions. When a person in law enforcement faces domestic violence charges, their status as a law enforcement professional may be jeopardized. The situation can become even more complex if a person has a PFA order filed against them.
What Is A PFA Order?
A PFA order is a special court order that is commonly used instances of domestic violence. PFA stands for "protection from abuse." These orders are filed by a "plaintiff" and act against a "defendant." There are a few different types of PFA orders that may be filed. The quickest to obtain is an emergency PFA order. These are enacted by an on-call judge for a temporary time period if the judge believes that there is a domestic violence emergency based on the situation. An emergency PFA is filed without the defendant being present, however, the defendant will be notified that a PFA has been filed against them. A plaintiff may also file for an "ex parte" PFA order, which can be filed without a defendant present for the filing. Both ex parte and emergency PFA orders will only last a temporary time.
In either case, a defendant will be notified of a court date for a hearing to argue for a final PFA order. A final PFA order can last several years time, and be incredibly restrictive on a person's quality of life. These orders are decided upon by a judge. A defendant can present their own arguments to defend their interests in the matter. Even if a PFA is passed against a defendant, the judge will consider the defendant's input when setting the terms of the order.
How Can A PFA Order Filed Against Me Affect My Law Enforcement Career?
If a person has a career in law enforcement or is currently seeking to gain a career in law enforcement, a PFA filed against them can be damaging to their career. A person in a law enforcement position may have their status as an officer of the law placed under review if they are the subject of a PFA order. Officers of the law are required to hold themselves to a higher standard, and a PFA filed against them may constitute evidence of professional misconduct, which can result in unpaid leave, suspension, or even termination. Many times, the filing of a PFA order is also followed by criminal domestic violence charges, as well. This can drastically affect a person's career in law enforcement, and their life in general.
Pennsylvania PFA Defense Attorney
When a person faces a PFA order filed against them, their situation can become extremely complicated. This is especially the case for a person who may be subject to consequences of professional misconduct, such as a law enforcement officer. A final PFA places a person in constant danger of violating a court order when they are just trying to live their life as usual. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help a person defend against the PFA at a final PFA hearing.
If you or a loved one is facing a PFA or domestic violence charges, contact attorney Joseph D. Lento.