Violating a PFA Order by Stalking

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Sep 08, 2022 | 0 Comments

On June 1, Matthew Torres made a bad decision. The 34 year-old man from York allegedly violated his Protection from Abuse (PFA) orders by stalking his accuser at her home. He also reportedly fired a gunshot. This came at the tail end of a night in which Torres had been calling the victim repeatedly.

Though no one was injured during the incident, Torres now faces two misdemeanor charges — turning his civil PFA case into one with criminal consequences. This truly is the last thing you want to do with a PFA case.

Civil vs. Criminal

Abuse is taken very seriously in Pennsylvania. In an effort to get people out of bad situations quickly, PFA orders are issued with limited evidence outside of the accuser's testimony. They are also issued civilly. There is no investigation, which means that being served with a PFA is not a prison sentence. As long as you carefully obey the instructions, you should be able to avoid criminal charges.

Violating the PFA is where matters turn criminal. You can be arrested for any minor violation of the order's instructions. You can even be arrested if you violate the PFA on accident. The only evidence needed for an arrest isacredible accusation from the plaintiff.

This is why it's discouraging to see stories like Matthew Torres's. Stalking is a criminal act, of course, but that isn't the only place he went wrong. Even the simple act of calling the victim constitutes a violation of the PFA and can lead to heavy fines and months in jail. All of that could have been avoided.

How to Handle a PFA

It can be difficult to remain calm after you have been served with a PFA order, even if you think it was issued unfairly. You may feel angry or hurt. You may feel the urge to contact your accuser and demand answers: Why is this happening?

It is imperative that you resist urges like this. A PFA order is hard to deal with, but it's a lot more manageable when you aren't serving jail time.

There's only one thing to do with a PFA order: comply. Don't reach out to your accuser or anyone else named in the PFA. Within a couple of weeks, you will get the chance to defend yourself at a hearing. There are ways to make your case. Until then, follow the instructions of the order like your future depends on it — because it might. Consider hiring a PFA lawyer to ensure you are treated fairly, and your case receives the best possible outcome.

The LLF Law Firm Can Help

Experienced PFA attorneys at LLF Law Firm have spent years working with clients to successfully navigate their PFA orders. Whether you have violated your PFA and are facing criminal charges, or if you have just been served and have questions, our Criminal Law Team are here to assist your case.

Contact the LLF Law Firm by calling 888-535-3686.

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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