Posts Tagged ‘PFA lawyer Reading PA’

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

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

PFA dismissed in Reading, Berks County, PA

Thursday, January 19th, 2012

Today, I (attorney Dan Nevins) represented a young man facing a PFA petition following an alleged incident in Berks County PA. The Protection from Abuse (PFA) Act is meant to protect victims of domestic violence from their abusers. A plaintiff can petition the Court for a temporary order which may be granted pending a full hearing on the alleged incident of abuse. A PFA order may then be granted for a period of up to three years and include provisions such as no-contact, eviction from a residence, child custody, and a ban from possessing firearms. A plaintiff needs to show, by a preponderance of the evidence, that abuse occurred and that they remain in fear of the Defendant.

In this particular case we were able to negotiate the one month continuance of a temporary order with the understanding that the matter would be ultimately dismissed. In the end, my client suffered no adverse consequences of a permanent PFA order.

Our firm regularly represents individuals on both sides of PFA’s in Berks County, PA. We are sensitive to the issues surrounding these matters and strive to provide the best possible representation of your interests. Call our office today to schedule a free initial consultation.

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.

2 Year Protection Order Granted Following Hearing in Berks County PFA Case

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

Today I represented a plaintiff in a Protection From Abuse Case in Reading, PA. My client alleged that his spouse had threatened him with physical harm on numerous occasions and consequently he feared for his safety. His spouse denied the allegations and the matter proceeded to a Hearing.

Ultimately, there was a finding of abuse and a 2 year PFA order was granted. My client can rest assurred that if his estranged spouse contacts or attempts to continue her threats in any way over the next 2 years, then she will be arrested.

The PFA act in Pennsylvania provides protection for victims of abuse and domestic violence. It applies equally to both men and women, children and adults. If you or a loved one is seeking legal advice regarding a PFA in Berks County please call our office for a free consultation.

Reading PA Protection from Abuse (PFA) Case Resolved

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

Today I represented a young father who was facing a PFA petition.  After filing the petition, the plaintiff (Client’s ex) had kept client from seeing their 1 year old child.  Clearly, the most important thing to Client was seeing his son.

I was able to negotiate temporary custody provisions whereby Client would have physical custody every weekend for three days effective immediately.

Frequently, when parties to a PFA have minor children together, custody language is inserted into a PFA order to serve as a temporary measure until a Custody petition is filed.  Additionally, a Defendant facing a PFA petition can lose other rights important to them, such as eviction from a home or business, due to an adverse PFA order.  Therefore, no matter what side of a PFA you are on, it is crucial that you retain counsel.

The lawyers at Ebner, Nevins & McAllister are experienced PFA advocates. Contact our office for a free initial consulation.

PFA Dismissed following hearing in Berks County Court of Common Pleas

Friday, April 15th, 2011

Yesterday I (Attorney Dan Nevins) represented a client facing Protection From Abuse (PFA) petition. The allegations involved a domestic altercation which took place at a crowded nightclub in Reading, PA. According to the Plaintiff’s narrative in the Temporary PFA, my client approached her, grabbed her around the neck and slapped her twice on the face. To support her claim, Plaintiff intended to use an independent witness who was was a dance instructor at the club.

My client denies laying a hand on his spouse. He does not deny encountering her at the club where he had gone to shoot pool with his father. To support our position we were able to present the testimony of the club’s security guard who witnessed the whole thingcheap bounce house for sale.

During the hearing we were able to impeach the credibility of the Plaintiff’s “independent” witness. As it turned out she was Plaintiff’s salsa instructor who was sitting at a table drinking beer with Plaintiff and two other male instructors when this allegedly happened. My true independent witness confirmed he that he knew neither my client nor the Plaintiff. He went on to state that he watched the entire encounter and my client did not lay a hand on her. Moreover, he would have kicked my client, or any other, out of the club if there was any physical violence.   I do owe a special thanks to client’s brother for tracking down this witness and bringing him into court on short notice.

In the end, the Judge dismissed the PFA after hearing all the testimony.

Defending PFA Cases in Berks County, PA (Reading, PA)

Wednesday, January 5th, 2011

At its best the Protection From Abuse Act in Pennsylvania can help save victims of abuse from those who wish to do them harm. At it’s worst, a PFA can be used as a weapon by a vindictive husband or wife, or boyfriend or girlfriend. Unfortunately, on many occasions the filing of a PFA will be the first volley by one side in anticipation of a divorce or custody case. Often the person who finds themselves defending themselves in a PFA case is already placed at a disadvantage when it comes to child custody proceedings by virtue of the fact that there are allegations of abuse or other wrongdoing.

That said, it is extremely important to engage the services of an attorney if you are hit with a Protection from Abuse petition. You will receive a Notice of Hearing along with your order listing a date which you and the PFA Plaintiff are to appear in front of as a Judge. At the hearing the plaintiff is required to show by a preponderance of the evidence that abuse occurred and that the Plaintiff fears harm at the hands of the Defendant. Each party would be permitted to testify and the Judge would ultimately decide if there was enough evidence to enter a permanent Protection Order.

A PFA can take many things away from a Defendant. If you shared a residence with the Plaintiff you can be evicted from that residence. If you have children with the Plaintiff, you can be prohibited from contact with your children. If you are a hunter or gun owner, you can have your weapon taken from you. The order can remain in effect for up to three years.

Make no mistake, a PFA Defendant is not a Criminal Defendant. You do not get convicted, you do not go to jail, you are not on probation (unless you subsequently violate the PFA, of course). On the other hand, you can have many important things taken away from you.

If you are facing a PFA petition in Berks County, PA you should contact our office immediately for a no cost consultation. We consistently obtain favorable resolutions for our clients in these cases. And, if your PFA case is the beginning of a long child custody or divorce battle, you will have comfort in knowing that we can continue to counsel and serve you in those matters as well.