A Protection from Abuse (PFA) order is meant to protect the plaintiff and prevent further abuse from happening. These orders are governed by Pennsylvania’s Protection From Abuse Act (PFAA). The plaintiff may get a PFA stating they have suffered domestic violence or bodily injury or have reasonable reasons to believe that they may suffer bodily injury because of the accused. If you have been served with a PFA, you may have many questions on your mind, but the first step is to read everything in detail. Next, talk to experienced protection from abuse attorney in PA to work on your defense. Below is an overview of what to do and not do when served with a PFA.
Follow everything without fail
PFAs in Pennsylvania usually prevent the accused from contacting the accuser. If your PFA says so, do not contact the plaintiff, even if it is about resolving things amicably. You need to also avoid trying to get in touch with the person virtually or indirectly through someone else. If the accuser contacts you, do not respond. You can expect to meet the accuser in person at the hearing, which will be scheduled within the next ten days. Remember that PFA violations have serious consequences, and you could end up in jail for just trying to contact the accuser.
Read the temporary PFA
Check everything that’s written in the temporary PFA, including the date of the hearing. It may restrain you from committing certain acts of violence or abuse, prevent you from living in the same house as the plaintiff, and prevent you from entering the home, business, or school of the accused. In some cases, temporary PFAs may order the accused to hand over their firearms to the police.
Call an attorney
Defending the temporary PFA is absolutely necessary, and you need an attorney to ensure that you don’t miss the chance. At the PFA final hearing, there can be two outcomes – the existing temporary PFA is dismissed, or a Final Permanent PFA Order is issued. If the latter happens, you may be ordered to pay for other things like relocation expenses and medical care costs of the accused due to the abuse.
PFA defense attorneys can present evidence and witnesses to turn things in your favor. Lawyers know what it takes to counter specific claims, and more importantly, they have the expertise to defend you. Get an estimate of the costs before you engage an attorney.