Pittsburgh Criminal Defense Attorney Call us today for a free consultation
Home Attorney Profile Case Results Criminal Defense Bankruptcy Contact Us
Learn why it's important to hire an attorney who isn't afraid to take your case to trial Learn how important it is to hire the right attorney Learn what to do following an arrest
Information Center
DUI Center
Sexual Assault
Video CenterLegal Blog

Protection From Abuse

Pittsburgh PFA Attorneys: 60+ Years of Combined Experience

If you feel you have been wrongfully subjected to a Protection From Abuse order, you might be wondering what next steps to take in your defense. A PFA does not itself create a criminal case against you, but it does block you from all contact while the person who made the request is seeking to pursue such a criminal charge.

So, what types of PFA orders may be issued against you, and how long do these last? What might you lose access to during the duration of the order, and what will be required of you to defend your case? With more than 60 years of combined legal experience, we are here to address any important questions you might have about being charged with a PFA.

What Is a PFA Order?

A Protection From Abuse (PFA) order is a court order offering civil legal protection to a victim of domestic violence. A PFA can be considered a type of restraining order, and some people might use these terms interchangeably.

If you feel a PFA has falsely been issued against you, the best way to build your defense is to abide by the terms of the order while it lasts before testifying your case in the final hearing. Keep in mind that the specific duration a PFA lasts for can vary depending on the circumstances, the needs of the claimant and the judge’s decision.

To defend against any potential PFA orders, it is important to understand the timeline of each type of order that may be held against you and what they might require of you and of the claimant.

Emergency Order

A judge on-call may grant the alleged victim an emergency order if they feel immediately in danger. This order will only last until the next business day. An emergency order is mainly designed to protect the claimant until a court opens and they can file for an ex parte temporary PFA. If they do not go to court on the next business day to apply for an ex parte temporary PFA, their emergency order will expire.

Ex Parte Temporary Order

The initial PFA order any claimant may be granted will be an ex-parte temporary PFA, which means the judge will make the decision to grant them a PFA without the defendant being present. This temporary order will last until the full court hearing for the final PFA. Such a hearing is usually scheduled within 10 business days.

Final Order

During the court hearing to determine the final PFA order, the defendant may testify and present evidence. A permanent PFA will be determined after the hearing or agreement between the parties. A final PFA lasts up to 3 years and can be extended under certain circumstances.

What Actions Do PFAs Prohibit?

During temporary orders, be wary of violating any of the terms in the PFA. Although the terms of PFA orders may seem harsh, the consequences of violating such orders may be worse. Violating a PFA results in a charge of indirect criminal contempt, which is a misdemeanor with fines of $300 to $1,000 and jail time of up to six months, and you may even face up to an additional six months of probation. Abiding by the terms of the PFA order, even if you believe it is falsely founded, will set you up for a chance to properly defend your case before the judge in the final hearing.

With that being said, be alert that a PFA against you can require that during the duration of any one of the orders you:

  • Be removed from your shared residence. If you are the only owner or tenant of the house, the judge can still remove you from the home or order you to provide the alleged victim with alternate housing.
  • Stop contacting the claimant, their relatives or your minor children, including staying away from their place of employment or school.
  • Give up temporary custody of your children. A PFA cannot set permanent modifications to custody orders, but it can provide a temporary alternative schedule.
  • Pay the claimant temporary financial support for them or your children (medical bills, health insurance, rent or mortgage payments, relocation and moving expenses, attorney and counseling costs, loss of earnings or support).
  • Give up firearms, ammunition and any gun permits if you used them or threatened to use them during the alleged abuse. Typically, you will not be permitted to have firearms while the PFA exists. However, once the PFA ends, there is no future prohibition on your owning or possessing a firearm.

Whether a judge orders any or all of the above depends on the circumstances of the case. Also, note that only a judge can rescind a PFA. Even if the other party tells you they are dropping the PFA, you cannot make any contact before the order has been officially nullified by a judge.

If you feel you have been wrongfully charged and seek a defense against any PFA orders issued towards you, an experienced PFA attorney can help you efficiently and appropriately protect against a false Protection From Abuse order. Our team will fight aggressively for your case and your rights.

Contact us at Blaine Jones Law, LLC for a consultation!

Blaine Jones Law, LLC - Pittsburgh Criminal Defense Attorney
Located at 500 Grant Street Pittsburgh, PA 15219. View Map
Phone: (412) 475-0062