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Protection Orders: Understanding Your Options

There are many times when protection orders can be necessary, and the ramifications of these no contact orders are very serious. If you are considering filing a protection from abuse (PFA) or personal protection order (PPO), or if you have received notice that you are the subject of an order, you need to think carefully about how to best keep yourself safe and protect your legal rights and liberties.

Attorney Stephen Grosh is a highly experienced litigation attorney with over 20 years of experience in the legal field. He can answer your questions and help you take quick action. Call us at our Lancaster office at 717-435-8830 or send us an email to schedule a time to talk in person.

How Does A Protection From Abuse Order Work?

A Protection From Abuse Order, commonly known as a “PFA”, is a civil “no contact order”. Unless certain limited contact between the parties is permitted, as written within the order, a PFA means “no contact of any kind” including through third parties. A PFA can be granted for up to 3 years. If you are found by the court to violate the order, you can be fined $1,000 dollars and incarcerated up to 6 months in jail. In addition, although a PFA is a civil matter (not criminal) it is a crime in Pennsylvania to violate a PFA.

The process of a PFA matter starts by with a petition, in which the party seeking protection gives reasons why he/she is requesting a PFA. Depending on the seriousness of the allegations, the court may issue a temporary order. In all circumstances a court hearing will be scheduled.

PFA hearings are held in the Lancaster County Courthouse located in Downtown Lancaster City at 50 N. Duke, Street, Lancaster. You must be served with Notice of the Order that will tell you the date of the hearing. You must appear at that scheduled date and time or risk having an order entered against you.

What Happens If A PFA Goes To Court?

In the event you can’t settle the PFA, you can expect a courtroom showdown. These cases are typically very emotional and dramatic. The hearing itself will consist of witness testimony and other evidence. The key in any PFA defense is to attack the credibility of the party who filed the PFA. We do this through aggressive and strategic cross-examination of all witnesses that testify against you. Your attorney will also explain how character witnesses and other evidence is used to corroborate your version of events. Not all attorneys are experienced in the courtroom. In fact, only a small percentage of attorneys actually appear in a courtroom during their careers. You will need to make sure the attorney you hire knows what he/she’s doing in a courtroom.

A No Contact Order Has Serious Implications For All Involved

Any kind of restraining order comes with a variety of restrictions, both on the subject’s movements and otherwise. For instance, some common protective order terms include:

Similarly, the person who files the protective order cannot participate in any activity that knowingly puts someone in violation of their order. In some cases, violating an order as the filer can void a PFA order entirely. This can be incredibly difficult for individuals who live or work in close proximity or who are co-parents. Both parties must be thoughtful about their actions to avoid further issues.

Violating A Restraining Order

When a PFA violation occurs, the consequences can be incredibly costly. Fines reach thousands of dollars and the violator may face jail time. If you are accused of violating your restraining order, you must prepare to defend yourself, particularly if there is photographic or other evidence against you.

Take The Right Steps To Protect Yourself

Please contact our office to discuss your PFA defense strategy with an experienced and aggressive courtroom advocate. Winning in the courtroom matters. We win. To contact our attorney, send us an email and set up a time to discuss the specifics of your case.