Complying with A Pennsylvania PFA When You Live Out of State

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Feb 23, 2022 | 0 Comments

Pennsylvania Protection from Abuse Orders (PFAs) are put into place by Pennsylvania judges. That said, just because the PFA was made in a Pennsylvania court doesn't mean it won't apply to people who live out of state.

This was the case in a scenario recently reported on by local news: A man from West Virginia violated a Pennsylvania PFA when he went to the house of the woman who requested the PFA against him. Although she lived in Pennsylvania, and he lived in West Virginia, troopers didn't hesitate to arrest him for violating the terms of the PFA.

Pennsylvania PFA's Apply to Out of State Residents

Some mistakenly believe that a PFA against them won't apply if they live out of state. This is not the case, and just as you could be arrested for a DUI in another state, you can be arrested for violating a PFA. In part, this is because the PFA restricts your actions in relation to your accuser. Any interaction with your accuser, no matter where you are, could violate the PFA.

PFA's May Apply When the Victim Leaves the State

Under The Violence Against Women Act, a federal law, most PFAs can be enforced across state lines. Under this Act, states must enforce an out-of-state PFA in the same way it would enforce its own version of a restraining order or protection order. If your accuser travels to another state on vacation or business, you should assume the PFA remains in full force and effect.

Violating PFAs Can Lead to Additional Criminal Charges

A PFA is not a criminal conviction. Instead, it is a legal tool victims of domestic violence can use to try and stay safe. There are times, however, when the accused rightly believes the PFA is unjust or the situation was taken out of context. Fortunately, PFAs are often temporary, and the accused will have an opportunity to present their side of the story more fully to the judge.

If a PFA has been issued against you and you feel the decision is unreasonable, the best steps for you to take are to first hire a PFA defense attorney and to secondly abide by the terms of the PFA. Although PFAs aren't criminal in nature, you can be arrested for violating them. If you're arrested for violating a PFA against you, you could then be charged with a crime like stalking or criminal trespass.

How a PFA Defense Attorney Can Help

A Pennsylvania PFA defense attorney will help you collect evidence and present your side of the story to the judge. The LLF Law Firm team is vastly experienced in PFA defense and can help you or someone you love navigate the stressful issues in Protection from Abuse Order cases. To learn how the LLF Law Firm can help you, call 888-535-3686 right 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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The LLF Law Firm Team has decades of experience successfully resolving clients' criminal charges in Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania counties. If you are having any uncertainties about what the future may hold for you or a loved one, contact the LLF Law Firm today! Our Criminal Defense Team will go above and beyond the needs of any client, and will fight until the final bell rings.

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