When it comes to abuse and other acts of domestic violence, protective orders – known as Protection from Abuse Orders in Pennsylvania – are an essential tool in protecting the victims. However, they can also be an essential tool in a volatile family situation for one family member viciously barring interaction of another family member with important individuals in that person’s life, such as his or her children.
Making the distinct difference between the two in court is essential when you are facing the uphill battle of domestic violence offenses. Most courts would rather be safe than sorry. Additionally, you need to ensure your rights are properly protected. An experienced West Chester violent crimes attorney will be able to achieve both of these objectives while showing your side of the story in your protective order hearing.
If you have received notice of a protective order hearing in West Chester or the surrounding Pennsylvania areas of Delaware County, contact the experienced criminal defense attorneys at the Skinner Law Firm. Your first consultation concerning your protective order hearing is free, so call (610) 436-1410 to schedule yours today.
The intent of the protective order, also commonly known as a restraining order, is defined for Pennsylvania in 18 Pa.C.S §4954. This statute states that any court with criminal jurisdiction may issue protective orders including provisions such as:
There may be other provisions as the judge deems necessary. It is important to note that before the hearing for the final protective order, you may have a temporary, ex parte PFA against you. A judge issues this order if he or she believes the alleged victim is in enough danger to warrant immediate protection, a decision that is based on the alleged victim’s side of the story along. Violation of this order is treated the same as a violation of a final restraining order. An experienced Chester County domestic violence attorney will be able to assist you immediately after the alleged victim contacts the authorities.
After the alleged victim has petitioned the judge for a protective order, the PFA hearing will usually occur in 7-10 business days following the petition. The procedure for the hearing is much like a regular trial, in that both sides present evidence, witnesses, and testimonies before the judge. The burden of proof, however, is lighter. The alleged victim only has to prove his or her need for a protection from abuse order by a preponderance of evidence instead of beyond a reasonable doubt. This means that the evidence must prove the need for a PFA beyond 50% probability of truth instead of 100% probability.
Once the evidence is heard, the judge will decide if the restraining order is necessary. When the concerns are nonviolent and the judge decides it is necessary, he or she may grant a 60-90 day continuance instead of a final PFA. A final protection from abuse order, however, is much harsher and could last up to three years – or even longer under certain circumstances.
The granting of a final PFA could prevent you from seeing your children, your siblings, or other significant relatives, as well as impact current or future cases involving child custody. An experienced Chester County criminal defense attorney will be able to effectively and efficiently present your side of the case before a judge to better your chances at a favorable outcome.
If you have been served with notice of a protective order hearing in Pennsylvania, contact the experienced criminal defense attorneys at the Skinner Law Firm today. We will fight for your reputation and your future. To find out how call (610) 436-1410 and schedule your free initial consultation today.