Protection from Abuse Orders (PFAs) impact a person in more ways than one. PFA orders operate as a restraining order in cases of domestic violence in Pennsylvania and, when implemented, prevent an abuser from contacting or being near the victim. In addition to the physical limitations imposed, PFAs often carry significant emotional weight when threatened. Those who've been threatened with a PFA in PA need to stay calm and avoid actions that will lead to more trouble.
In a dramatic example of what not to do when you're threatened with a PFA, one Pennsylvania man appears to have set a woman's house on fire after she initiated steps to secure a PFA against him. According to Pittsburg news, the man was seen fleeing the scene of the housefire within an hour of the initial call concerning the domestic violence. Authorities are now investigating the man for arson.
The Ramifications of Acting Out After a PFA Threat
When someone seeks a PFA against you, the initial order will be temporary. After a short period, a formal hearing will be held to decide whether the circumstances warrant a permanent PFA. While these orders aren't criminal in nature, often, criminal actions will accompany abusive behavior. For example, the story above illustrates how the defendant's reaction spiraled into an alleged act of arson, which is a serious criminal offense if convicted. PFAs may also lead to criminal charges of contempt if they are subsequently violated.
The circumstances that surround threats of a PFA are nearly always emotionally charged. Often, those accused of domestic violence feel the allegations are unjust or are the result of a misunderstanding. Domestic partners may even threaten PFAs when no abusive behavior has occurred at all.
Whatever your situation, you should understand that reacting negatively or emotionally to the threat of a PFA can result in:
- New or additional criminal charges
- Evidence that bolsters your accuser's claims
- Special restrictions included in your PFA
- Extension of your PFA
Instead of responding angrily to a PFA threat, you should contact a Pennsylvania PFA defense attorney.
How to React When Threatened With a PFA
If someone you're in a domestic relationship with threatens a PFA against you, you need to contact a PFA defense attorney before you do or say anything relating to the accuser. While it may be tempting to act out or respond, doing so will only worsen the situation. Even before a temporary PFA is imposed against you, you'll want to avoid contacting the accuser. Anything you do or say can be used as evidence against you during the final PFA hearing.
If you're being threatened with a protection from abuse order in Pennsylvania, contact experienced defense attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm. To learn how Attorney Lento and his expert team can help you, call 888.535.3686 or contact us online today.