Blog

PFA Violation Has Severe Consequences: Both Plaintiff and Defendant Suffer

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Jan 13, 2022 | 0 Comments

What are you in prison for?

For being stupid.

Daniel Justin Miller, 47, of Williamsport, PA, is going to have a long time to regret his decision to violate the protection from abuse (PFA) order he received on December 1st. Instead of doing the smart thing and obeying the restraining order, he chose to ruin his life.

Upon being served with the PFA, Miller did everything wrong. He violated the PFA almost immediately by calling and texting the PFA plaintiff—a criminal offense. Then he went over to her house, kicked in the back door, and threatened to kill other occupants of the house. When he found the plaintiff, he beat her senseless and strangled her. He was standing over her unconscious body when the police arrested him.

Although he is innocent until proven guilty, Miller is awaiting trial without bail in the Lycoming County Prison. As of press time, he faced nine criminal charges, including attempted homicide, strangulation, aggravated assault, terrorist threats, resisting arrest, and at least five other felonies and misdemeanors.

And if his ex-girlfriend dies, more charges will be added.

Myth of the Bulletproof Restraining Order

“A P.O. [Protective Order] is just a piece of paper. It's not bulletproof,” Circuit Court Judge Marissa McDermott told victim advocates and police officers in her courtroom in Lake County, Illinois.

“Our court always warns victims to not put too much confidence in a court order, warning them that the respondent may hit the roof after being served,” McDermott said. “In some cases, the highest chance of a homicide or attack comes right after a court filing or a hearing for P.O.”

Most restraining orders are issued to prevent imminent domestic violence, McDermott said. She advises plaintiffs to have a physical plan to protect themselves in addition to the court order.

How a PFA Works

Regardless of what it's called, a protection-from-abuse order is issued on ex partetestimony from the plaintiff. In other words, the judge only hears the plaintiff's side. Sometimes, the plaintiff exaggerates or even lies.

That's why in Pennsylvania, a PFA is first issued on a temporary basis. The defendant has a right to confront the plaintiff in court and dispute the PFA before a judge. That court hearing is supposed to happen in two weeks, but the pandemic is causing some hearings to be delayed.

At the PFA hearing, the judge will either dismiss the order or issue a “final” PFA for a renewable term of up to three years.

The Smart Thing to Do

At his arrangement, Miller told the judge he was “angry.” Being angry at being served a PFA is a natural reaction, but it has never been more important to stay calm.

No matter how upset you are, cooperate with police personnel and comply completely with the instructions in the PFA. Even the slightest violation of the PFA is a criminal offense. You can be arrested, fined, and jailed. As hard as it may be, wait for your day in court. An experienced PFA defense attorney may be able to get the PFA dismissed or at least mitigated.

If you or a loved one is served with a PFA, call the attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm at 888-535-3686 today.

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento passionately fights for the futures of his clients in criminal courtrooms in Philadelphia and across Pennsylvania as well as in New Jersey and nationwide. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. With unparalleled experience occupying several roles in the criminal 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. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, and is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide. In the courtroom and in life, attorney Joseph D. Lento stands up when the bell rings!

Comments

There are no comments for this post. Be the first and Add your Comment below.

Leave a Comment

Contact Us Today!

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.

This website was created only for general information purposes. It is not intended to be construed as legal advice for any situation. Only a direct consultation with a licensed Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York attorney can provide you with formal legal counsel based on the unique details surrounding your situation. The pages on this website may contain links and contact information for third party organizations - the Lento Law Firm does not necessarily endorse these organizations nor the materials contained on their website. In Pennsylvania, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout Pennsylvania's 67 counties, including, but not limited to Philadelphia, Allegheny, Berks, Bucks, Carbon, Chester, Dauphin, Delaware, Lancaster, Lehigh, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, Schuylkill, and York County. In New Jersey, attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New Jersey's 21 counties: Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Salem, Somerset, Sussex, Union, and Warren County, In New York, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New York's 62 counties. Outside of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, unless attorney Joseph D. Lento is admitted pro hac vice if needed, his assistance may not constitute legal advice or the practice of law. The decision to hire an attorney in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania counties, New Jersey, New York, or nationwide should not be made solely on the strength of an advertisement. We invite you to contact the Lento Law Firm directly to inquire about our specific qualifications and experience. Communicating with the Lento Law Firm by email, phone, or fax does not create an attorney-client relationship. The Lento Law Firm will serve as your official legal counsel upon a formal agreement from both parties. Any information sent to the Lento Law Firm before an attorney-client relationship is made is done on a non-confidential basis.

Menu