Posts Tagged ‘Berks County PFA Lawyer’

Spotlight Issue: Protection from Abuse Order (PFA)

Monday, May 30th, 2016

The Protection from Abuse Act is designed to offer victims protection from a domestic abuser. The Act gives judges a wide variety of remedies to choose from in order to ensure that protection. A PFA case begins with the filing of a Petition. The Petition will include details of the abuse that allegedly occurred. Abuse for the purposes of a PFA is defined as the following acts:

- Attempting to cause or intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causing bodily injury, serious bodily injury, rape, etc.

- Placing another in reasonable fear of imminent serious bodily injury

- The infliction of false imprisonment

- Physically or sexually abusing minor children

- Knowingly engaging in a course of conduct or repeatedly committing acts towards another person, including following that person, under circumstances which place the person in reasonable fear of bodily injury.

**Note that actual injury is not required in order for a PFA to be granted.

The petitioner (person filing the PFA petition), or the protected party (if the PFA is filed on behalf of a minor) must have a one of the following types of relationships with the defendant:

- spouse or former spouse

- sibling

- parent or child

- other family member related by blood or marriage

- current or former sexual or intimate partner

A petitioner can ask that the defendant be prohibited from having any contact with the protected party and can request that the defendant be evicted and excluded from a residence and place of employment. A petitioner can also request that custody be granted in the PFA. Any custody terms in a PFA are temporary and can be superseded by an Order from a custody court. There are a variety of other requests that can be made in order to offer relief to the petitioner including the payment of child support and the return of personal property.

Once the Petition has been completed, it is presented to a Berks County Court of Common Pleas judge at a petition hearing. This is typically done without the involvement of attorneys and is done ex parte meaning that the defendant is not present for the hearing. The petition judge will grant a Temporary PFA if the petitioner shows an immediate and present danger of abuse.

If a Temporary PFA is granted, a hearing on the Final PFA will be scheduled within 10 business days. At this hearing, the petitioner must prove that abuse occurred by a preponderance of the evidence. The court will hear testimony from both the plaintiff and defendant and will make a determination. Both parties are entitled to be represented by counsel of their own choosing at the Final PFA hearing.

A Final PFA can be in place for up to 3 years and can include all of the forms of relief that are available under a Temporary PFA. While a PFA is a civil order, a violation of the PFA will lead to criminal Indirect Criminal Contempt (ICC) charges.

There is a lot at stake at PFA hearings including property and custody rights so it is in your best interest to be represented by a knowledgeable Berks County PFA attorney. Whether you have had a PFA filed against you or have filed a PFA in Berks County, contact our experienced PFA attorneys today at 610-372-5128 or email us at info@enmlaw.com.

PFA Dismissed / Firearms & License Returned To Client

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

Attorney Ryan W. McAllister recently represented a client who had a protection from abuse (PFA) order filed against him by an ex-girlfriend. On the day of the hearing, Attorney McAllister was able to successfully negotiate a settlement, without any admissions by our client, whereby the “temporary PFA” was extended for a short period of time, after which the “temporary PFA” would expire. Under the terms of a normal PFA, a Judge has the authority to grant a PFA for a maximum of three (3) years.

Immediately after the “temporary PFA” expired, Attorney McAllister was able to get a Court Order directed that the Berks County Sheriff’s Office return the firearms and permit to carry that were taken from our client. Although our client was very nervous and scared at the start of the PFA case, he was very happy that Attorney McAllister was able to successfully navigate him through the court system and secure a positive outcome.

If you or someone you know is facing a protection from abuse (PFA) case in Berks County or Reading, Pennsylvania, please contact our firm right away at 610-372-5128. One of our experienced and dedicated attorneys will be happy to meet with you to discuss your case in more detail. We look forward to hearing from you.

PFA Dismissed in Berks County

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

Attorney Ryan W. McAllister recently represented a client who was a defendant in a Protection from Abuse (PFA) case in Berks County, Pennsylvania. Our client originally appeared in court without an attorney. At that time, our client was requested to voluntarily enter into an agreement whereby the PFA would be in effect against him for a period of several years. After consulting with Attorney McAllister, however, it became apparent that our client had a potential defense to the PFA case against him.

Therefore, Attorney McAllister requested a formal PFA hearing before the Judge in the case. Additionally, Attorney McAllister had his client secure pictures of his injuries sustained during the altercation between the parties. On the date and time set for the formal hearing, the plaintiff in the PFA case, the one who initially filed the case, didn’t show up for court, despite being a previous court hearings. As a result, Attorney McAllister made a motion to dismiss the PFA case, which was granted by the Judge.

Many times, when faced with having to testify, along with evidence favorable to a defendant, a plaintiff in a PFA case will elect not to proceed or simply fail to show up for court. That is why it is always important to have an experienced attorney assisting you in PFA / protection from abuse matters. Without an attorney, many times defendants simply “agree” to the PFA, which is usually not in their best interest.

If you or someone you know is involved in a protection from abuse / PFA case in Berks County, Pennsylvania, or Reading, PA, please contact us right away at 610-372-5128. One of our dedicated attorneys will be willing to discuss your case in more detail and offer their valuable insight and advice.

PFA Plaintiff Client’s 3 Year No Contact Order Granted

Monday, December 12th, 2011

Last week I (attorney Dan Nevins) represented a client seeking a Protection From Abuse order from his former girlfriend. An incident had occurred recently where the ex-girlfriend became physically and verbally violent including threats on my client’s life. Consequently, he became fearful for his own safety particularly since the ex-girlfriend specifically threatened to use third parties to carry out some future acts of violence.

My client applied for and was granted a temporary PFA. A hearing was scheduled in the Berks County Court of Common Pleas. At the hearing I was able to secure a 3 year no contact order – the maximum permissible under the Protection From Abuse Act. Should my client’s ex contact, abuse, threaten or harass my client – even through a third party – she will be subject to up to 6 months imprisonment.

If you or a loved one is a victim of domestic abuse please contact our office for a free consultation. We regularly represent PFA plaintiffs in Berks County, Pennsylvania. No matter which side of a PFA you are on it is important that you retain experienced counsel.

PFA Plaintiff Representation in Berks County, PA

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

Today I represented a client seeking a Protection from Abuse order against her daughter on behalf of her minor granddaughter. My client felt that her daughter posed a danger to the grandchild due to her issues with substance abuse. Fortunately, the PFA act can provide for protection in this regard.

My client was able to secure a one year Protection From Abuse order. As part of the order she was able to obtain custody of the minor child. The mother will be permitted contact with the child, but only at the discretion of my client. The mother will face violation of the order and possible jail time if she fails to follow its terms. The hope, of course, is that the child is protected and the mother gets the help she needs.

We regularly represent both Plaintiffs and Defendants in Berks County Protection from Abuse – PFA cases. Call our office today to schedule a free consultation.

Client Not Guilty of Alleged PFA / ICC Violation

Monday, July 18th, 2011

Last week, I (Attorney Ryan W. McAllister) represented a client charged with violating a Protection from Abuse (PFA) Order in Berks County.  My client allegedly sent text messages to the PFA Plaintiff and “stalked” her outside of her house in the early morning hours.  My client adamantly denied that he violated the PFA, so I got to work gathering as much evidence as possible in the case.

First, I got the most recent copy of the PFA, which was from the Summer of 2010.  This was important because this was actually an “amended PFA”.  Specifically, the PFA Plaintiff, the alleged “victim” in this case, actually went in to court, on her own accord, and asked the Judge to make the PFA less restrictive than it was.  My client and the PFA Plaintiff did not have any kids together, so it was apparent that the PFA Plaintiff simply wanted to continue having a relationship with my client.

Second, with the assistance of my client, I was able to get data on text messages that showed the PFA Plaintiff, the alleged “victim”, was contacting my client via text message many more times than my client was contacting her 充气水滑梯!

Third, my client had an alibi defense in regards to the allegation of stalking.  I was ready to present two (2) witnesses at the PFA hearing to demonstrate to the Judge that accusations of the PFA Plaintiff were entirely baseless.

When the alleged “victim” found out about the vigorous defense that was planned for the case, she quickly decided to drop any and all charges.  By the time the case was over, even the police officers involved considered the allegations in the case “suspect”.  Although I did pursue the potential for a “false report” criminal prosecution, those cases can be extremely difficult to prove.  Neverthess, I’m sure the PFA Plaintiff will think twice before trying to bring my client up on bogus charges in the future.

My client and his family were very happy about the outcome of the case.  If you or someone you know is facing a court hearing in regards to a Protection from Abuse, PFA, Indirect Criminal Court, or ICC case, contact my office today at 610-372-5128.  I would be happy to offer a free consultation to discuss the case in more detail.