Posts Tagged ‘What happens if I violate a PFA 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: Indirect Criminal Contempt (ICC)

Tuesday, June 21st, 2016

An Indirect Criminal Contempt charge (ICC) is a criminal charge for the violation of a civil Protection From Abuse order. An ICC is filed by the police if they believe that the defendant has not followed the terms of the PFA. The defendant’s conduct does not necessarily need to constitute a separate crime. Once an ICC charge has been filed, the defendant will be arraigned and bail will be set. The ICC hearing will be scheduled within 10 days of the charge being filed. At that hearing, the case will be heard by a Berks County Court of Common Pleas Judge and will be prosecuted by the District Attorney’s Office. The police officer who filed the ICC charge will be present as well as any witnesses to the violation (most often this is the plaintiff in the PFA action). The charge must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, just as with any other criminal charge. An ICC conviction is not a slap on the wrist; it carries a maximum permissible sentence of 6 months of incarceration and a $1,000 fine and will remain on your criminal record. In addition to the criminal penalties, an ICC conviction can result in an extension of the original PFA order.

If you’ve been charged with violating a PFA in Berks County, it is in your best interest to be represented by a knowledgeable attorney at your PFA violation hearing. Contact our Reading, PA criminal law attorneys at 610-372-5128 or email us at