Losing Your Right to Possess a Firearm with a Pennsylvania Protection from Abuse Order

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

We all know that domestic violence is a problem. Family violence can sometimes have tragic endings, so Pennsylvania law takes domestic violence seriously. However, sometimes a mistake in the heat of the moment can have harsh consequences for your constitutional right to possess a firearm. That's what a Titusville man recently discovered after he violated a Protection from Abuse (PFA) order by failing to turn over his firearms as ordered by the court.

Titusville Man Fires Gun at Own Home

On November 6, 2022, someone called the state police to a home in Titusville where Andrew Sutton lived with another man. The two men had an argument that became violent, and one hit the other with a chair and a table. Sutton then retrieved a .222-caliber rifle from a truck and fired a round into the side of the home. Police took Sutton into custody. According to the arrest affidavit, Sutton has an active protective order against him issued by the Venango County Court and cannot possess a firearm.

Police charged Sutton with discharging a firearm into an occupied structure, simple assault, reckless endangerment, harassment, and failing to turn over a firearm under court order. After waving the right to a preliminary trial in early December, the judge ordered him held for trial on all counts. Sutton's trial is now scheduled for March of 2023.

Protection from Abuse Order and Gun Possession

If someone requests a Protection from Abuse (PFA) order against you in Pennsylvania, you will receive notice of a hearing before the PFA becomes final. It's important that you attend the hearing with an attorney to defend yourself against allegations of domestic violence. If you fail to appear and the court issues a final PFA against you, part of the order will prevent you from owning or possessing a firearm. The court will also order the police to confiscate your firearms, weapons, and any firearm permits you to have.

While a PFA order is a civil rather than a criminal matter, violating a protective order is a criminal offense. You could violate a PFA by contacting or approaching the PFA applicant or possessing a firearm in violation of the court's order. That's why it's important to ensure you have an experienced criminal defense lawyer representing you before a court issues a PFA and orders the police to confiscate your firearms.

You Need a Skilled Pennsylvania Criminal Defense Attorney

If you're facing gun charges or a Protection from Abuse order in Pennsylvania, you need an experienced criminal defense lawyer well-versed in PFA defense by your side. Our Criminal Law Team at the LLF Law Firm has been helping Pennsylvanians with domestic violence charges for years, and we can help you too. Call the LLF Law Firm at 888-535-3686 to schedule your consultation.

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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