What Happens When a PFA is Used as Leverage Against You?

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Feb 17, 2022 | 0 Comments

Protection from Abuse Orders (PFAs) are meant to protect victims of domestic violence in emergency situations. Those who have a PFA ordered against them may be subject to any number of restrictions that will severely impact their life. Some examples of the types of restrictions may include:

  • Having to move out of your home
  • Staying a minimum distance from your loved ones
  • Surrendering all guns and weapons
  • Staying away from certain public spaces

PFAs can be an important protection for victims, but sometimes a PFA can be used as leverage. The case of the Greene County District Attorney, whose estranged wife filed for a temporary PFA against him, could be an example of this. In this case, the District Attorney's wife claims he was abusive, but he says the PFA Order is being used as leverage in a custody battle for their children.

How Can the Courts Allow Frivolous PFAs?

A lot is at stake when a PFA is ordered against someone. Not only will the restrictions impact your day-to-day life, but the details surrounding the order could harm your reputation or jeopardize your custody arrangement.

If a PFA can so detrimentally affect the life of the person it's ordered against, you might wonder how a court could order the PFA to begin with. By their nature, PFAs are often a temporary relief offered in an emergency situation. Because time is of the essence in a PFA request, the court must make a quick decision based on a limited set of facts. Unfortunately, sometimes the decision to impose a PFA is unfair.

The initial emergency PFA may be ordered on the victim's claim of a “reasonable fear of serious bodily injury” pursuant to Pennsylvania’s Protection from Abuse Act. The standard of proof required to evidence the accuser's claim is easily met.

What Not To Do When You Suspect a PFA is Being Used as Leverage

If you feel a PFA has been unfairly ordered against you, you need to remember that you'll have an opportunity to present your side of the story more fully at the Final PFA Hearing. The Final Hearing generally occurs within ten days of the temporary PFA Order against you. If you've been unjustly subjected to a temporary PFA Order, your attorney will help you fight back. You may even be able to vacate the temporary PFA.

While you're waiting for the Final Hearing, you need to comply with the terms of the PFA Order against you even if you think it's frivolous. A PFA order isn't criminal in nature but violating the PFA can lead to a criminal arrest. It's also important to remember that the judge will consider your actions leading up to the Final Hearing, so it's critical you abide by the terms of the temporary PFA.

Call an Experienced PFA Defense Attorney in Pennsylvania

If you're facing any matter relating to the defense of a Pennsylvania PFA Order, you need to work with an experienced PFA defense attorney. Call attorney Joseph D. Lento at 888-535-3686 right away to learn how the Lento Law Firm can help you 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!


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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.

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