Being served with a Protection From Abuse order represents a life-altering moment that can impact all aspects of your life. Those dealing with the aftermath find themselves unable to go to work or even spend time with their children.
PFAs can take many forms and include:
- Ex Parte Temporary PFA: A temporary protection order based on evidence
- Emergency PFA: Securing an order when courthouses are closed, usually used if the individual filing is in immediate danger
- Final PFA: Provided after a formal hearing and issued by the judge that can last up to three years with the option to extend it for up to 10 years or longer
A PFA hearing occurs in civil court, where you will be allowed to tell your side of the story. Those with domestic violence charges, in addition to the PFA, will have to appear in criminal court.
Admittedly, the process combines emotional complexities and complex legal procedures. A PFA can be a life-changing experience where rights are essentially taken away from you. Violating the order can result in criminal contempt charges.
Whether the filing came from a spouse, intimate partner, or another family member, the impact of a PFA can take many forms and may include:
- The inability to live in your house, mainly if the plaintiff resides there
- Being prohibited from visiting not only the plaintiff’s home but also schools your children attend and the plaintiff’s workplace
- Temporarily losing custody of children.
Protection From Abuse orders should be taken seriously. Those served should take immediate action, particularly if they are falsely accused of abuse. One of those steps is to secure the help of a criminal defense attorney with experience and insight into PFA defense.