Protection From Abuse
The Protection from Abuse Act, otherwise known as a “PFA” is exactly what it means. In general, once a Judge grants PFA, you are protected from abuse directly or indirectly for three years.
Usually the parties come to a deal and agree to PFA without admission for a certain time period. This type of PFA will not affect ones rights especially their Firearm Rights. The PFA will simply cease at the expiration of the agreed time as long as the abusive conduct has ceased. For example, two parties are seeking divorce, and one party seeks a PFA against the other and at the hearing to determine if there is enough evidence for a Judge to grant a PFA, the parties agree to a six months PFA that will conclude once the parties are divorced or at the end of the six months.
Not just anyone can get a PFA. There must be some type of relationship between the parties. Family, household members, sexual or intimate partners, or persons who share biological parenthood can seek a PFA to protect themselves or others from abuse.
Under the Protection From Abuse Act, abuse is defined as:
(1) 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.
(2) Placing another in reasonable fear of imminent serious bodily injury.
(3) The infliction of false imprisonment pursuant to 18 Pa.C.S. § 2903 (relating to false imprisonment).
(4) Physically or sexually abusing minor children, including such terms as defined in Chapter 63 (relating to child protective services).
(5) Knowingly engaging in a course of conduct or repeatedly committing acts toward another person, including following the person, without proper authority, under circumstances which place the person in reasonable fear of bodily injury. The definition of this paragraph applies only to proceedings commenced under this title and is inapplicable to any criminal prosecutions commenced under Title 18 (relating to crimes and offenses).
Once a PFA is granted, the PFA will prevent the abuser from making direct or indirect contact with you, or you and your children for the time period your agreed to, or for the maximum time period of three years.
That means the abuser must: if the abuser is living in the same household, leave; cannot enter your household, school, business, or place of employment; and if children are involved a temporary custody order, along an order for support to you and your children.
Whether you are seeking a PFA or defending against a PFA, you need a good advocate on your side. And remember, a PFA can have a serious impact on your Firearm Rights that can even lead to being unable to own a firearm under the Federal Laws and Pennsylvania Laws, so contact David J. Cohen, Esq. and he will fight for you, or defend you rigorously.