Protection from Abuse
The Pennsylvania Protection from Abuse Act is a statute designed to protect those who have been abused, as defined by the statute. Abuse is defined in one of five ways:
- Attempting to Cause or Causing Serious Bodily Injury on another;
- Threatening to Inflict Serious Bodily Injury on another;
- Physical or Sexual Abuse on a minor child;
- Stalking; or
- False Imprisonment.
Generally, the person against whom a party may file for protection must be a Family member or a current or prior intimate partner.
A Protection from Abuse Petition can be filed in your County Courthouse during normal Court hours. If you are in need of protection outside of normal Court hours, each County has different procedures and the best way to find out would be to contact your local Police Department. Most Counties provide procedures to begin the process after normal business hours.
Once filed, an Emergency hearing will be held to determine of you qualify for protection on an emergency basis. The other party does not need to be present or be heard in order for you to obtain an Emergency order. This Order, if granted, will be in effect only until a Hearing is held, where both parties have the opportunity to be heard by a Judge. The Emergency Order can, in the right circumstances, include a provision for immediate eviction from your home. This is therefore a very powerful Order.
At the full hearing, both parties will have the opportunity to present evidence, such as Police Reports, medical bills, photographs of injuries or damage and other similar evidence. Both
sides will be able to speak. Both parties can also bring witnesses to the full hearing.
At the conclusion of the full hearing, the Judge will decide whether to continue the Protection from Abuse Order. It can continue for up to three years.
If your child has been abused, you can file an “O/B/O”, or On Behalf Of, Petition to protect your child. This is true even if the child was the only person abused. In either of these cases, a parent can seek emergency custody in PA.
While there is no requirement that you hire a lawyer to represent you at the full hearing,
Protection from Abuse Hearings are complicated matters. Contacting a Family Lawyer and discussing your options might be a good idea. Our Firm has been representing people involved in
Protection from Abuse matters for nearly 40 years. We remain available to assist.
Please note that it isn’t just the person filing the Abuse Petition who might consider hiring an attorney. The person against whom the Petition was filed often hires an attorney. A finding a abuse against a parent can have serious consequences in a custody case. Abuse is a factor which can impact a parent’s ability to see their child. This is something which must be seriously considered before appearing in Court without an attorney.
The Protection From Abuse Act, which is the Protection from Abuse law in Pennsylvania, is attached to this writing. You might wish to look it over.
Protection from Abuse Attorneys in Philadelphia
If you need assistance with getting a Protection from Abuse order in Philadelphia, give us a call today at 215-967-9070 for a consultation!