What is a Protection From Abuse Order

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What is a Protection From Abuse Order

A protection from abuse order, often abbreviated as a PFA, is an order issued by a judge that is basically a restraining order, prohibiting a person from having contact with another person.

Who can get a PFA? 

For the court to consider issuing a PFA, the court must first determine whether or not the person you are seeking protection from is a close relation.  In order to get a PFA, the other party must be a current or former spouse, a current or former intimate partner, or a blood relation, such as a parent, child or sibling.

What qualifies one for a PFA?
In order for a PFA to be issued, the court must determine that abuse has occurred.  For purposes of the PFA statute, abuse is defined as causing or attempting to cause a bodily injury, placing someone in reasonable fear of imminent serious bodily injury, falsely imprisoning someone, or engaging in a course of conduct that would reasonably place someone in fear of bodily injury.   In other words, merely annoying someone is not enough to get a PFA. There must be abusive conduct in order to qualify for PFA protection.

How do I get a PFA?

First, if you are in danger, you should immediately call 911 and request a police response.  Oftentimes, the police will recommend that you get a PFA to help protect you going forward.  If it is safe to do so, you may request a PFA during working days at the Court of Common Pleas in your home county.  For Delaware County, it would be the county courthouse in Media.  If it is a holiday or weekend, the police may be able to help you request and emergency PFA from the local on-call district judge. Be aware, however, that PFAs entered by a district judge are only valid until the county courthouse opens.  You will fill out some paperwork, and a judge will listen to you and decide whether or not you qualify for PFA protection.

What if someone serves a PFA on me?

Unfortunately, the PFA statue is sometimes abused, and someone will obtain a PFA through lies or deception in order to get someone out of the house, or to get a leg up in a custody battle.  The important thing to know is that you will get your day in court.  Whether you believe the PFA is justified or not, you must absolutely obey it.  The time to disagree is at your court hearing.  It is pointless to argue with the police who are merely there to serve you with a copy, and you will almost certainly be arrested if you contact the person who is the subject of the PFA order.  If you are served with a PFA, you should immediately contact an attorney.

The PFA hearing will be listed within ten days, which is not a lot of time.  Therefore, you should contact a law firm that has a team of attorneys that will be ready to immediately respond to your needs without having to request a continuance.  LaMonaca Law has a team of family law attorneys with vast experience handling PFA matters, and we will be there for you every step of the way.

We are available to help.  If you are unable or do not feel safe visiting us in person, Virtual LaMonaca Law allows us to be in touch by phone or video conference.

Call us for help at 610-892-3877.

Pearl shot with Teresa Mallon and Shayne

About the author

About Gerry Gebhart

Gerry graduated from Drexel University magna cum laude with a degree in Information Systems and a minor in Business Administration. After working as a consultant in the intermodal transportation industry, Gerry enrolled in and graduated from Temple University’s Beasley School of Law, where he specialized in trial advocacy. Prior to joining LaMonaca Law, Gerry practiced Family Law privately while working at the Public Defender’s office. Gerry quickly gained a reputation as a savvy trial attorney, securing numerous successful trial verdicts, eventually resulting in his being elected as president of the Delaware County Criminal Defense Lawyers’ Association. Gerry lives in Middletown Township where he is active in his local firehouse as both a firefighter and member of the board of directors.