Understanding the PFA Process
PFAs are filed pursuant to Pennsylvania’s Protection From Abuse Act, (Title 23, Section 6101 et. seq.). A temporary PFA is typically entered without the defendant present and an evidentiary hearing must occur within ten (10) days. At the hearing, both parties will get a chance to present evidence, and the defendant will have the opportunity to enter a defense.
A defendant can also choose to enter into a consent order. If this happens, there’s no hearing and no admission of guilt. Instead, the defendant agrees to have limited or no contact with the plaintiff for a specific term. Although sometimes better than a legal finding of abuse, a consent order does have some legal consequences, which is why it is important for defendants to speak to a PFA attorney in York, PA before taking this step.
Who Can File a PFA Petition?
The PFA is designed to protect victims from romantic partners, spouses, household members or family. An individual can file against any of these parties if they are abusive and pose a threat to the individual’s safety or the safety of an individual’s children.
What Constitutes as Abuse?
Pennsylvania defines abuse as physical or sexual abuse, incest and false imprisonment. Pennsylvania also considers abuse as situations where the plaintiff is placed in circumstances where they have a “reasonable fear of immediate serious bodily injury” — that means verbal threats and intimidation can also count as abuse. If you’re not sure if you qualify for a PFA, contact a PFA lawyer to help you review your options.
Consequences of a PFA
After a PFA, the defendant’s child custody, firearms rights and other privileges could be affected. They may even be limited in where they can go and where they can live. If they violate a PFA, they’re in indirect criminal contempt and may be brought before a judge. Some could even face incarceration.
A PFA is a serious legal matter, so if you have had one filed against you, contact a protection from abuse defense attorney to protect your rights.
How Can MPL Law Help?
Contact the Protection From Abuse lawyers at the York, PA, offices of MPL Law if you’ve been accused of abuse and have a PFA issued against you. Our attorneys can meet with you in a consultation to consider plans of action.