West Chester

Domestic Violence Lawyer

If you were arrested for any violent criminal offense involving domestic violence, then contact an experienced West Chester, PA criminal defense attorney at the Skinner Law Firm. Michael J. Skinner is knowledgeable in all areas of Pennsylvania’s domestic violence laws and will help you find any mitigating circumstances or factors to reduce your charges or have them dismissed altogether.

Contact the Skinner Law Firm for a consultation about your domestic violence offense in Chester County and the surrounding areas of Delaware County at (610) 436-1410.

Common Domestic Violence Charges in Pennsylvania

Domestic violence allegations are treated very seriously under Pennsylvania law. Any act of violence between a husband and wife, parents of a child, or family members deserves special protections under the law. However, no other types of cases result in more injustice because every situation has a different background that can lead to false allegations or other problems resulting in unfair penalties or consequences. It is important to speak with a West Chester domestic violence defense lawyer to help guide you through the charges and penalties you are facing.

Domestic Violence charges under Pennsylvania law can include the following types of crimes, but are not limited to:

A few common charges for domestic abuse in Pennsylvania include the following:

Sexual Assault (Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes Title 18 § 3124.1) is engaging in sexual intercourse with a person against their consent. A conviction for this offense is a felony of the second degree.

Harassment (Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes Title 18 § 2709) occurs when someone intends to harass another person by making physical contact, following them in a public place, repeatedly communicates with them, or engages in repeated conduct that serves no purpose. A conviction for this offense is a summary offense.

Stalking (Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes Title 18 § 2709.1) occurs when a person repeatedly follows or communicates with another person that puts them a reasonable fear of bodily injury or causes them severe emotional distress. This offense can be a misdemeanor of the first degree or a felony of the third degree.

False Imprisonment (Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes Title 18 § 2903) is knowingly and unlawfully restraining someone against their will. This offense is a misdemeanor of the second degree.

Child Abuse can be a variety of actions against a child but occurs when a parent or guardian knowingly endangers the welfare of a child by not taking care of the child. This offense can be a misdemeanor of the first degree or a felony of the third degree generally (Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes Title 18 § 4304).

Pennsylvania Terms For Domestic Violence

  • Cohabit – This means living with another person under the representation that you are married.
  • Domestic Abuse – Is attempting to cause or causing, either knowingly or intentionally, bodily injury, rape, any sexual assault with or without a weapon, false imprisonment or child abuse against a family or household member by another family or household member.
  • Family or Household Member – Is a spouse, persons who have been spouses, a person related by blood or marriage, persons who had a child together, current or former sexual partners, or a person who resides with another as a family member or has resided in the past.
  • Harass – This is when a person directs certain conduct to another person that serves no legitimate purpose.
  • Protection from Abuse Order (PFA) – A protection from abuse order is an order prohibiting someone from doing something or requiring someone to do something as a result of domestic abuse allegations. This type of injunction can be known as a protective order or restraining order and can be temporary or permanent.

What are Protection From Abuse Orders

A court can grant a protection from abuse order to prevent an abuser from threatening, harassing or stalking the victim or children, stay away from the victim, stay away from the children’s school, stay away from the victim’s school or work, remove child custody from the abuser, possess a firearm, or any other relief the court deems necessary.

A violation of any of the provisions in a protection order can result in serious consequences, and a police officer may arrest the person who violated the order, even if the officer did not witness the violation. The violation can result in a charge for contempt of a protection order, which can lead to imprisonment for up to six months and/or fines up to $1,000, in addition to any other criminal charges or private complaints.

Pennsylvania Domestic Violence Resources

An Abuse, Rape, and Domestic Violence Aid and Resource Collection – Pennsylvania’s chapter of AARDVARC provides resources and information for fighting and preventing family and relationship violence, sexual violence and child abuse.

Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence – PCADV is a nonprofit organization seeking to end domestic violence in Pennsylvania, achieve justice for victims and create social change. This site has information about domestic abuse programs, hotlines, shelters, counseling and other resources for those who have been abused or are in abusive relationships.

A Domestic Violence Defense Attorney

Contact the Skinner Law Firm today for a consultation about your alleged violent crime charge in Chester County, and the surrounding areas of Delaware County in Pennsylvania. Michael J. Skinner will hear the facts of your case, and make every effort to avoid the most severe punishment and consequences for your offense. Call (610) 436-1410 for a consultation about your domestic violence offense in Pennsylvania.