Posts Tagged ‘PFA Lawyer Berks County’

ENM Law News: Client found “not guilty” of ICC charge

Tuesday, May 29th, 2018

While a Protection from Abuse matter in Pennsylvania is a civil matter, a violation of the PFA becomes a criminal charge called Indirect Criminal Contempt (ICC). Defendants in Berks County are scheduled for ICC court and a hearing is held to determine whether the PFA was violated. An ICC charge carries a maximum permissible sentence of 6 months of incarceration and a $1,000 fine. A PFA doesn’t result in a criminal record but a conviction for ICC does and shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Attorney McAllister was recently hired to represent an ICC defendant who also had immigration concerns. The non-citizen client was detained by Immigration and was facing a conviction for a deportable offense. Immigration law states that a non-citizen is deportable when convicted of violating a domestic violence protective order. Because of these immigration consequences, the stakes were even higher for this client and he decided to proceed with an ICC hearing.

At the ICC hearing, the Commonwealth argued that the client violated the PFA by calling out to the Plaintiff by her name within minutes of being informed of the no-contact restrictions in the PFA. Attorney McAllister argued that the client did not have proper notice of the order (a requirement for conviction) because he did not have sufficient time to read and understand the PFA order he had just been served with. Attorney McAllister also argued that the contact was de minimus and was not sufficient to be the basis of a violation. The Berks County ICC judge agreed with these arguments and found the client “not guilty” of violating the PFA. Not only did the client avoid a jail sentence and fine, he also avoided being deported based on an ICC conviction.

If you’ve been charged with violating a PFA in Berks County, contact our knowledgeable criminal defense attorneys at 610-373-5128 or info@enmlaw.com.

Spotlight Issue: Expunging PFA’s

Monday, August 28th, 2017

What can you do to remove a Protection from Abuse Order (PFA) from your record? Your ability to expunge the PFA depends on how far in the process your case proceeded. Our attorneys are very familiar with the steps necessary to successfully expunge Berks County PFA’s. First, here is a summary of the Berks County PFA process:

- a plaintiff files a petition requesting a PFA

- an ex parte (just plaintiff and judge) petition hearing is held at which time the plaintiff gives details about the alleged abuse that has occurred the judge decides if there is immediate danger and grants a Temporary PFA if he or she finds that there is

- a Final PFA hearing is scheduled within 10 days of the petition hearing – at the final hearing the Plaintiff has to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that abuse (as defined by statute) occurred

- if a judge finds that abuse did occur, he or she can enter a Final PFA for up to 3 years and can include relief such as eviction, prohibition of contact, temporary custody provisions and a prohibition on possessing firearms

So, can you remove a PFA from your record? Well, the answer is pretty straightforward if your case never got to the Final PFA hearing. If a Temporary PFA was not granted at the petition hearing, or if your Temporary PFA was dismissed before the Final PFA hearing then the law is pretty clear that any mention of the case can be removed from most databases. This is also true if your case proceeded to a Final PFA hearing and the judge found that no abuse occurred and dismissed the PFA. A Final PFA entered by agreement or after a hearing is much more difficult to expunge and the court must employ a balancing test to determine when expungement is appropriate.

Many people don’t take advantage of the expungement process for PFA’s, but the only way to ensure that a non-final PFA doesn’t have a negative impact in the future is to completely remove it from your record. If a PFA was filed against you in Berks County and later dismissed, make sure that it doesn’t come back to haunt you unexpectedly. Call our Reading, PA PFA expungement attorneys to start the expungement process today at 610-372-5128 or email us at info@enmlaw.com.

Simple Assault Case Dismissed in District Court

Monday, January 27th, 2014

Attorney Nevins represented an individual charged in connection with allegations of domestic assault today in a Berks County district court. Attorney Nevins was able to secure a dismissal of the criminal charges at his client’s initial court hearing. Charges of Simple Assault carry a possible maximum penalty of two years incarceration and a $5,000 fine.支架水池

If you or a loved one are facing assault charges in Berks County, PA you need an experienced attorney you can trust. The attorneys at ENM Law are skilled trial advocates with an impressive track record of success. Call today for a free initial consultation.

Berks County PFA (Protection From Abuse) Case Filed Against Our Client Dismissed After Hearing

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

Attorney Ryan W. McAllister recently represented a client in the Berks County Court of Common Pleas who was the defendant in a Protection From Abuse (PFA) case that was filed against him. A PFA is a civil court order, but violation of the civil court order can lead to criminal charges and jail time. In this case, our client’s ex-girlfriend filed the PFA case against him seeking to prevent him from having any contact with her. Although this wasn’t a big deal to our client since had had begun dating someone else, the major concern, from a legal standpoint, is that an active PFA opens our client up to the possibility of false accusations and arrests.

In other words, once a PFA is filed against our client, all it takes is one (1) phone call to the police from the PFA Plaintiff, also known as the “protected party”, accusing our client of simply making a phone call or sending a text message in violation of the court order. With that one (1) phone call, our client can be arrested and locked up in jail pending a court hearing.

In this case, our client did not trust the PFA Plaintiff, and he was legitimately afraid of the possibility of false accusations. On top of that, our client 100% denied the accusations contained in the PFA, and he rightfully felt that he shouldn’t have to suffer any consequences by “agreeing” to the entry of a PFA order against him. Therefore, Attorney McAllister and our client made the informed decision to “fight” the PFA case. There was a court hearing before a Berks County Judge, and numerous witnesses testified in the case. At the end of testimony, Attorney McAllister made a compelling argument to the Judge to have the case dismissed.

Ultimately, the Judge did issue and order dismissing the PFA case. Our client was able to go on with his life without the burden of an active PFA hanging over his head. Needless to say, our client was very happy with the outcome of his case. If you or someone you know is dealing with a protection from abuse (PFA) case in Reading, PA, or Berks County, Pennsylvania, please contact us 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. Additionally, we offer free consultations in PFA matters.

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.