A PFA Violation May Be Just a Phone Call Away

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | May 25, 2022 | 0 Comments

Pennsylvania protection-from-abuse (PFA) orders deserve strict compliance and due respect. The restrained party who violates a PFA order can face indirect criminal contempt charges. Those charges, if established by admission or proof, can mean going to jail, paying court costs, and paying a fine. And PFA violations don't always involve personal violence or direct threats. Even so little as an innocent-seeming telephone call from miles away can trigger a PFA order's violation. Don't violate a PFA order, even with a telephone call.

An Unfortunate Example

A recent media account provides an unfortunate but clear example. In that case, the restrained party residing in Wilkes-Barre admitted to a Montour County district judge that he telephoned the protected party, a Dansville woman. The district judge immediately found a PFA order violation, sentencing the man to 20 days to six months in jail, court costs, and a $100 fine simply for the telephone call. That's an expensive phone call.

No Contact Means No Telephone Contact

While the media report doesn't give the details of the case, the protected woman in the above case must have had a no-contact PFA order, as is common in PFA cases. A PFA order often doesn't just restrict the defendant from going to the protected plaintiff's home or workplace, where harassment, threats, or violence might result. Judges commonly issue no-contact PFA orders. No contact means no contact, including no telephone contact. You might be surprised to realize that a no-contact PFA order means you can't even telephone the protected plaintiff who got the order against you. But that's what no-contact means: no telephoning the other side.

Good Motive or Conduct Doesn't Matter

No-contact PFA orders don't just mean no threatening or harassing contact. They mean no contact, even cordial or helpful contact. Parties whom a PFA order restrains often assume that if they just treat the protected party well, in the protected party's best interest, that a friendly telephone call or two can't really hurt. That assumption is wrong and dangerous. No matter how cordial and helpful the restrained party's telephone call is, the call will have violated the strict terms of the no-contact PFA order. Protected parties and the courts are often quite willing to find a PFA violation despite its cordial nature and the caller's helpful intent. With a no-contact order in place, any contact, no matter how kind and seemingly generous, can to the protected party be threatening, pressuring, intimidating, harassing, or otherwise inappropriate.

Get Help with Your PFA Proceeding

Don't face a PFA proceeding without skilled and experienced PFA attorney help. Don't get strapped into an unlivable situation under a draconian PFA order with which you are unable to comply. Bad PFA orders lead to PFA violations, fines, and jail. Get the skilled and experienced PFA attorney representation you need to deal with PFA orders and requests for orders. The Pennsylvania Criminal Defense Team at the LLF Law Firm is available for your representation now. Call 888-535-3686 or go online now.

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento passionately fights for the futures of his clients in criminal courtrooms in Philadelphia and across Pennsylvania as well as in New Jersey and nationwide. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. With unparalleled experience occupying several roles in the criminal justice system outside of being an attorney, Joseph D. Lento can give you valuable behind-the-scenes insight as to what is happening during all phases of the legal process. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, and is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide. In the courtroom and in life, attorney Joseph D. Lento stands up when the bell rings!


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