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Appealing the Final PFA Order to Superior Court

The restraining order issued in Pennsylvania is known as PFA order. This is a court order designed to protect the victim from further abuse. If you are appealing to Final PFA, then you need to consult a Pittsburgh PFA lawyer.

PFA Application Process

The statute defines the abuse in the following ways:

  • Attempting to cause or intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causing bodily injury, serious bodily injury, rape, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, sexual assault, statutory sexual assault, aggravated indecent assault, indecent assault or incest with or without a deadly weapon
  • Making someone fearful of getting bodily injured.
  • False imprisonment as per 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 2903
  • Sexually or physically abusing minors
  • Knowingly engaging in a course of conduct or repeatedly committing acts toward another person, including following the person, without proper authority, under the circumstances which place the person in reasonable fear of bodily injury as per 23 Pa.C.S.A. §6102.

The part of the process is that the defendant will have to apply for temporary PFA order in the first place. After the trial, the court will issue the final PFA order.

Temporary PFA Order

The plaintiff first will need to file for a temporary PFA order. While appealing, it is necessary that the applicant presents evidence of abuse as per the statute definition. The court will need to think that the victim is in imminent danger and that is why it will issue the PFA order for the next ten days until the final judgment is passed. For this order, the allegations of the plaintiff are assumed to be true.

Final PFA Order

This order is issued after a trial in the court where both the defendants and the plaintiff will be present. Both of them get a chance to present their evidence. Even if the PFA order is issued, the judge considers the terms of the order depending on the evidence and argument of the defendant. This order can last for three years.

Appealing the Final PFA Order

The final PFA order stays in place for three years and comes with a lot of provisions. The focus remains on preventing the violation by contacting the plaintiff in any form of communication, including online. As the defendant, you might be removed from the shared home. You might be asked to offer financial support for the spouse and the child. The court might order you to attend counseling for drug or alcohol abuse.

PFA is a civil order. But if you violate it, it will be a contempt of court, a criminal offense. As a result, police might arrest you even without a warrant or a witness. While the first time violator might get informal probation, it might result in a jail sentence along with a permanent criminal record.

Appealing a PFA Order

If you are appealing a final PFA order, you have two options:

  • Filing motion for reconsideration in the same court
  • Filing appeal of the PFA to the superior court
Motion Reconsideration

For this, your Pittsburgh PFA lawyer will argue that the judge has made a mistake of law or fact or both while issuing the PFA order. The following grounds can be included for the reconsideration

  • The law on which the court has based its judgment has been incorrectly interpreted
  • The applicable law has changed
  • Failure of the reconsideration order that manifest into justice

Going for this option might prove to be an uphill battle.

Appeal to the Superior Court

You have to file a notice of appeal with Protothonary Office within the thirty days of the final PFA order. Your Pittsburgh PFA lawyer will need the complete documents and transcript of the final PFA order to proceed with this appeal. This is not a do-over. In the appeal, your lawyer will argue that the judge has made a mistake of law or fact or both.

Consulting Pittsburgh PFA lawyer

Come to Logue Law Group. We have successfully defended our clients in the cases of PFA order. Get in touch with our Pittsburgh PFA lawyer today.

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