Philadelphia Victim Protection From Abuse (PFA) Lawyer
Victims of domestic violence (DV) need legal protection from abusive spouses or family members as soon as possible. A Philadelphia victim Protection From Abuse (PFA) lawyer at Shuttleworth Law will get a PFA order issued on your behalf and provide you with the safety and security you need.
Pennsylvania issues PFAs if there is an act of abuse such as by a family member placing you in “imminent fear of immediate bodily harm or injury.” Shuttleworth Law has extensive knowledge of this standard and its application to your situation. We are familiar with statutes and case law that govern domestic violence matters so that you get the outcome you need.
“You deserve to feel safe in your own home. I take that right very seriously. If a family member or partner is abusing you, call me ASAP. I will do everything in my power to make it stop.”
Protect Yourself From Abusive Family and Household Members
The purpose of a PFA is to protect you from your abuser. There are various types of protective orders available in Pennsylvania. However, the most common type is a Protection From Abuse (PFA) Order.
A Philadelphia victim PFA lawyer at Shuttleworth Law can help you get an order against:
- Current or ex-spouse
- Someone living with you
- Adult siblings, parents, children, or relatives
- Parent of your child
- Intimate partner
You should not have to endure abuse or violence in your home. PA laws protect your rights in this situation. Shuttleworth Law can also help you handle abusive individuals living outside of your home under the Protection from Sexual Violence and Intimidation (PSVI) Act.
Shuttleworth Law Explains How the Law Applies to Your Situation
PFAs can be entered for up to three years with various consequences to the offender if they commit an act of abuse under 23 Pa.C.S. §6102. They can also award you temporary possession of a marital residence and the custody of shared children.
Here is a screenshot of the statute below:
You can get a PFA if your case meets one of the following definitions of abuse:
- Attempting to cause bodily injury with or without a deadly weapon;
- Placing another in fear of imminent serious bodily injury
- False imprisonment
- Physical abuse of minor-aged children
This law requires you to prove your case by a preponderance of the evidence, meaning that you must have enough proof to show that you are more likely than not suffering from abuse.
Important Note: You must also prove that an act of abuse happened. A judge will not issue a PFA based on events that might happen in the future.
The Pennsylvania PFA Process: What You Should Know
While a PFA does count as a criminal case, it turns into one if your abuser violates the Order. Therefore, victims of abuse in Pennsylvania not only have the means to help stop the abuse but an avenue should their abuser violate the Order entered against them.
The Philadelphia victim PFA lawyer at Shuttleworth Law will initiate the PFA process by taking the following steps:
- Step 1. We file a petition with the Court of Common Pleas ASAP: Our firm will draft the necessary petition, including statements of fact satisfying the legal requirement to get a PFA. This can include both present and past abuse allegations and may include the threat of abuse under certain limited conditions.
- Step 2. We Get and Enforce the Temporary PFA: A temporary PFA will be entered based on the facts alleged in the petition alone, without communication from your abuser. The court will assume that all the facts alleged in the petition are true and enter a temporary order if the individual is in immediate danger and if the facts amount to abuse as defined in the statute.
- Step 3. We will represent you at your first hearing or consent decree: Within ten business days, you will have the opportunity to present your case, and your abuser has the chance to defend against your allegations. However, they may also decide to enter into an agreement rather than have a hearing. This is where they agree to have no or limited contact with you for a set period.
- Step 4. Get the Victim PFA. A judge will rule on your request and how long the PFA will remain in effect. The judge usually grants the request if an alleged abuser is not present at the hearing. However, a judge will also deny your request if you do not sufficiently prove your case.
The outcome of a PFA Order in Pennsylvania can seriously impact the lives of both the alleged victim and the alleged perpetrator. A Philadelphia victim PFA lawyer on our legal team will take the time to understand your situation while helping you manage what to expect.
Your Abuser Will Have Limited Rights Under a PFA
Courts dislike imposing unnecessary restrictions on people and usually prefer the least restrictive measures necessary to ensure your safety. Many PFAs include a provision that the respondent have no contact with the victim. However, protective orders restrict more than just in-person contact.
Your Philadelphia victim PFA lawyer could also argue that the judge should issue an order for:
- No abuse, harassment, or stalking of the victim
- Removal of the abuser from a shared home
- Granting possession of a shared home
- Providing you with housing
- Victim financial support
- Firearms use and ownership
- Victim restitution
Your home should be the safest place in the world. Shuttleworth Law can help you push back against your detractors so that you and other family members stay safe.
A Philadelphia Victim PFA Lawyer Will Shield You From Domestic Violence
If you are under the threat of domestic violence, it is crucial to understand that you have legal options and do not have to put up with abuse. We will represent you through all stages of the legal process, getting the Order extended if necessary. Our founder, Brad V. Shuttleworth, Esq., will work tirelessly to ensure that you are out of harm’s way.