Not only does being accused of a domestic violence offense lead to an arrest in Pennsylvania, but it may also result in being subject to a protection from abuse (PFA) order, also known as a restraining order. This type of order is signed by a judge and requires the alleged offender to avoid contact with the alleged victim or face serious criminal and civil penalties.
The following are the three types of PFA orders in Pennsylvania:
- Emergency order – If an alleged victim needs immediate protection and the courts are closed – either because it is late at night, the weekend, or a holiday – he/she can have the police provide contact information of a magisterial district judge who is available. If the judge decides you are in imminent danger, he/she will give the order. An emergency order lasts until the next business day.
- Ex parte temporary order – If an alleged victim requests a PFA order in court, a judge will grant this type of order if the victim needs immediate protection or the victim’s minor children are in danger of continued abuse. The ex parte temporary order lasts until the next court hearing to determine if the alleged victim will receive a “final PFA order.” A hearing typically occurs within 10 business days.
- Final order – This court hearing gives both parties an opportunity to argue their case and provide evidence. After hearing both sides, the judge will decide. A final PFA order can last up to three years and can be extended, depending on the facts of the case.
Having a PFA order issued against you can cause a lot of problems in your life. Not only are you prohibited from making any sort of contact to attempt to make amends, but you may also use your gun rights and your custody rights if you have children.
When facing domestic violence allegations in Scranton or Lackawanna County, do not hesitate to let the Law Offices of William D. Thompson protect your rights, reputation, and freedom. We are available 24 hours a day and seven days a week to help current and prospective clients avoid conviction and being subject to PFA orders.