Protective Order Violations: How to Respond
In Pennsylvania, Protection from Abuse Orders are intended to protect family members, children, and other household members from someone who has abused them. They do this by constraining the abuser, not allowing him to harass, threaten, or stalk the victim. Specifically, the abuser is not allowed to come within a certain distance of his or her victim, to contact them, or show up at their place of employment. Additionally, the abuser is banned from possessing a firearm, and custody of children is taken away from him or her. The judge may include any other provisions he or she thinks is necessary to protect the person who was abused.
Serious consequences can result from violating the terms of protective orders. The police do not have to witness the violation or the events surrounding it in order to arrest the alleged violator. If the court decides he or she did, indeed, violate the order, he or she could be charged with contempt of a protection order. This charge comes with a fine of up to $1,000 and a prison term of up to six months. This will be on top of any other criminal charges or private complaints that come out of that same incident. An alleged violator will not have the right to a jury trial, but will retain the right to have an attorney represent them.
A contempt of court charge, which is different from a contempt of a protection order charge, is similar in that the violator will not have the right to a jury trial, though he or she will still have the right to have a lawyer represent them.
Penalties given will vary, depending on the circumstances surrounding the violation. If the victim requests it, the judge can extend the protection order.
If a person violates a protection from abuse order, it will make it more difficult to achieve a good outcome for other criminal or civil cases they are facing. Prosecutors will use violations against the violator, to prove that he or she still plans to harass, stalk, or abuse the victim. A violation can also work against a person in a divorce or custody case.
If a protection from abuse order has been put in place against you, the best thing you can do for yourself is to comply with the conditions set forth in the order. If you have been told you cannot return to your family home, do not, for any reason. Find a friend or other person with whom to stay for the time being, or rent a motel room or apartment. If the order prohibits you from returning to your job or school, do so. Look for temporary work to tide you over. If custody of your children has been taken from you, do not try to see them until the restraining order is lifted. Remember that a PFA is a temporary thing, and that your case will go through the courts. Make sure you hire an experienced Pittsburgh criminal defense lawyer to represent you. This is not something you should try to resolve on your own.
If you are facing charges for violating a protection order, you need a Pittsburgh criminal defense attorney experienced in domestic violence defenses to help you. The Logue Criminal Defense team has the experience you need. Sean Logue and his team of dedicated attorneys have defended many domestic violence cases, often getting charges reduced. Logue Law serves Pittsburgh, PA, West Virginia, and Ohio. Call us today for a free initial consultation at 1-844-PITT-DUI or (412) 389-0805. Or, you may contact us online.
Don’t wait to call on Logue Law, and don’t fail to give your attorney all the details of your case. The more time your lawyer has to examine the claims against you, the easier it will be for him or her to analyze the claims against you, and the easier it will be to get your charges reduced or dropped.