To make an appointment with a Pittsburgh Domestic Violence Lawyer, please call (412) 540-2400. You can also fill out this contact form, and one of our attorneys will contact you shortly.
Pittsburgh Protection From Abuse Attorneys
Pennsylvania PFA Law
In Pennsylvania, there are several different types of Protection From Abuse (PFA) Orders:
Temporary PFA Orders
In Allegheny County, there are nine things that you will be asked when filing a petition for a temporary PFA order. If you are including custody in a PFA, you will be asked eight things by the court. After a petition is filed, the Temporary PFA is heard by a family law judge.
In Pennsylvania, Temporary PFA Orders are heard ex parte, meaning that the defendant is not noticed to appear at this proceeding. The court can order a defendant to relinquish his or her firearms, weapons, or ammunition in a Temporary PFA.
After a petition for a Temporary PFA is filed, a hearing must be held within ten business days. The Temporary PFA Order remains in effect until it is modified or terminated by the court, after notice is given and a hearing can occur.
The relief that can be ordered under a Temporary PFA includes:
Final PFA Orders
In Pennsylvania, a Final PFA Order can be entered for a term of up to three years. Final PFA Orders can be entered by default, by consent, or after a hearing.
The relief that can be ordered under a Final PFA Order includes:
A finding of abuse is one of many factors that will be considered by the Court in a custody case.
A PFA defendant's 2nd Amendment Rights can be severely affected by a PFA. A defendant can be prohibited from possessing, transferring, or acquiring firearms for the duration of the PFA Order. A defendant can also be ordered to turn over their firearms to the Sheriff or another designated law enforcement agency for safekeeping for the duration of the PFA.
Even if a PFA does not specifically prohibit a defendant from possessing, transferring, or acquiring firearms, doing so could still be a violation of federal law. The Violence Against Women Act prohibits PFA defendants in some situations from having firearms. Under the Violence Against Women Act, it does not matter if the PFA doesn't expressly prohibit the defendant from having these firearms. The U.S. Department of Justice has information about prosecution under this section, 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(8), of the Violence Against Women Act available here.
Occasionally, there may be a situation where both parties file PFA's against each other. This is known as a Cross PFA. When dealing with a Cross PFA, there are two cases that must be addressed:
1) Your PFA against the Defendant; and
2) The Defendant's case against you.
A defendant that violates a PFA Order can be arrested and charged with an Indirect Criminal Contempt (ICC). A Private Criminal Contempt can also be filed at your Magistrate's Office or Night Court if the police will not arrest the defendant based on a PFA violation. Once a defendant is arrested and arraigned on an ICC charge, a hearing date will be set.
If found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of violating a PFA, a defendant can face up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine on the Indirect Criminal Contempt charge. The PFA can also be extended as a result of a PFA violation. Counsel fees can be awarded to a Plaintiff's lawyer after a hearing in which the Defendant is found guilty of an ICC. Findings of abuse will also be considered by the Court in custody cases.
Modifying or Vacating Final PFA Orders
It is advisable to consult with a lawyer regarding modifying or vacating Final PFA Orders. It is possible to modify the duration of the Final PFA and the terms of the Final PFA.
To make an appointment with a Pittsburgh PFA Lawyer, please call us at (412) 540-2400 or contact us online.
Law Office of Allison Gaffen
401 Wood Street, Suite 414
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
Phone: (412) 540-2400
Fax: (412) 540-3355