Being charged with domestic violence or abuse can reshuffle your life in adverse ways. If you have been served with a PFA in Pennsylvania, you need to work on your case immediately. The final hearing is typically scheduled within two weeks, and if you are not cautious enough, you may have to deal with a permanent PFA. This will appear in your background checks across the country for your entire life. The first step after getting the order is to read it carefully. Find all key details and contact a Pennsylvania criminal defense lawyer without delay. Below we have answered some basic questions about PFAs.
I have been served with a PFA Order. Is this a criminal matter?
No. In Pennsylvania, PFAs are a civil matter unless there are other serious charges such as domestic violence. Anyone who has been in a domestic relationship with you can get a PFA against you, including your spouse, ex-spouses, common-law spouses, parents, adult children, intimate partners, or someone with whom you had a kid.
What if I don’t adhere to the PFA order?
Even if you feel that the PFA order was unjustified, you have to comply with it. There are severe consequences of violating the order. You may face up to six months in jail and face penalties worth $1000 or more. If you were found with firearms or guns, the police could confiscate the same, and you could be prevented from using a firearm for the next five years.
What should I do after getting the PFA?
Read the PFA in detail and find information like the date and time of the hearing. Talk to an attorney and ask about the dos and don’ts you need to follow. Also, adhere to the no-contact rules. The PFA comes into effect immediately after being issued and will remain valid until the final date of the hearing. The judge may either dismiss the same based on your defense or may issue a permanent PFA.
Do I need an attorney?
A permanent PFA can have severe consequences for you in the long run. You have one chance at the hearing, and you need to use that judiciously. Make sure that you talk to an attorney so that you can come up with strong defense strategies. A lawyer can also evaluate evidence and witnesses and ensure that your site is presented well.
Most PFA defense lawyers will be happy to offer immediate help for a small consultation fee.