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Luzerne County Protective Orders Lawyer

Luzerne County Protective Orders LawyerLuzerne County Protective Orders Lawyer

Protection Order Violations Criminal Defense Attorney in Kingston, PA, Represents Clients Fighting PFAs and Charges of Breaking a Restraining Order in Luzerne County, Lackawanna County, Columbia County, and Throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania

If you have been notified of a Protection From Abuse Petition filed against you or charged with violating a restraining order, you need to act fast. Pennsylvania takes legal matters involving restraining orders seriously. A knowledgeable Luzerne County protective orders lawyer at Muckler Law, LLC, has the experience to assist you in any PFA defense case, including fighting unreasonable orders and defending against criminal charges for violating protective orders.

We know how much having a protective order against you can affect your life in Pennsylvania, and we’re here to help you through this difficult legal situation. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Protective Orders in Luzerne County, PA

Courts in Luzerne County routinely issue protective orders that restrict the defendant’s activities. In fact, in 2022, there were more than 1,900 protection from abuse order cases in Luzerne County, making it the county with the second-highest per capita amount of protective orders in the state, the Luzerne County Office of the Controller reported. That equates to a lot of Pennsylvanians who are bound by rigid restrictions and who could face jail time for violating these rules, even accidentally.

If you have been served notice of a protective order petition against you or have been charged with a protective order violation, you should contact an attorney for help as soon as possible.

Areas Our Luzerne County Protective Orders Lawyer Serves

Muckler Law, LLC, assists clients with matters involving protective orders all over Luzerne County, including:

Not only are we local to Luzerne County, with an office located on Market Street in Kingston, but we also have extensive experience in criminal legal matters here. In addition to his more than 15 years of defending clients against criminal charges, founder and lead attorney Matthew T. Muckler previously served as Luzerne County Assistant District Attorney, giving him the benefit of insider experience.

How Does a Protection Order Work?

A court order that provides for the protection of an alleged victim works by restricting the activities of the defendant, or the person it is filed against.

Having a restraining order filed against you doesn’t necessarily mean you are being charged with a crime, although it’s possible that charges could also be filed out of any criminal violations you are accused of committing. However, violating a restraining order’s terms, even unintentionally, is a crime that may result in both jail time and fines.

What’s a Protective Order?

A protection from abuse order, otherwise known as a PFA or simply a protection order, is Pennsylvania’s version of a domestic violence restraining order. A family member, household member, current or former sexual or intimate partner, or a person with whom you share biological parenthood of a child may file a protective order against you if they allege that abuse has occurred in the relationship.

The person seeking the protection order must fill out forms in person at the Protection From Abuse Office at the Luzerne County Courthouse in Wilkes-Barre (or their local courthouse). To have a protection from abuse order filed against you, the alleged victim must make the case that you have abused them (or a child on behalf of whom they are filing the PFA) in some way.

Acts that may constitute abuse under PA law include:

  • Rape or sexual assault of the alleged victim
  • Causing or attempting to cause the victim bodily injury, either intentionally or recklessly
  • Acts that put the victim in fear of imminent bodily injury, especially if you’re accused of having committed this act repeatedly
  • Stalking the victim
  • Falsely imprisoning the victim or otherwise interfering with their freedom of movement
  • Physical or sexual abuse of a child

If you believe the protective order being sought against you is unreasonable or unfair, you will have an opportunity to tell your side of the story. The wise way to go about this is to retain a seasoned Luzerne County protective orders lawyer to assist you in preparing your case and represent you in a formal court hearing.

What Does a Protective Order Do?

A protective order against you imposes restrictions on your activities for the benefit and supposed safety of the person seeking protection. Under statute 23 Pa. C.S. Section 6108 of Pennsylvania law, a court may grant protection orders that require the following:

  • No further abuse of the alleged victim or minor children
  • No harassment of the victim’s relatives
  • No stalking or harassing the victim or other designated persons
  • No contact with the victim or minor children of any kind or for any reason
  • No entry to the victim’s place of employment or business or the children’s school for any reason
  • Prohibitions on possessing firearms, including not only being restricted from acquiring new guns but also being required to temporarily relinquish any firearms currently in your possession to law enforcement
  • Orders to vacate a shared home
  • Temporary loss of any custody or visitation rights you have for minor children, which may prevent you from seeing your children
  • Orders to financially support the victim and any minor children, including paying financial support to the victim, paying the rent or mortgage for the victim’s residence, providing health insurance coverage, and paying for their medical treatment
  • Orders to pay for “reasonable losses” resulting from the alleged abuse, including out-of-pocket medical expenses, counseling costs, moving expenses, and replacement of damaged property
  • Orders to pay the victim’s attorney fees

The Consequences of Having an Active Protection From Abuse Order Against You in PA

A PFA in Pennsylvania can restrict where you can go, who you can contact, and where you can live.

Simply not initiating contact with the alleged victim isn’t sufficient. If you currently live in a shared home, you may have to move out. You may have to avoid their place of employment, even if you have your own business to take care of there. You may need to abruptly leave social gatherings or public spaces if the protected person shows up, even if you were there first and your reason for being there has nothing to do with them.

You may be prevented from seeing the children for whom you share biological parenthood with the protected person. You also can’t drop off or pick up any other children you may have at a shared school. If you are ordered to provide financial support for the victim and any minor children, you may also be facing a considerable financial burden.

Under Pennsylvania law (statute 18 Pa.C.S. Section 6105), you’re not permitted to use or possess firearms in the state while you have an active protection from abuse order filed against you. If you already own guns, you’re required to promptly turn them over to law enforcement or face criminal consequences.

The impact that a protection from abuse order may have on you is significant, even if the alleged victim’s claims were made up or exaggerated. You may have no intention of contacting the protected person again, but having a PFA against you will still affect your life, especially if you are accused of violating a restraining order.

What Happens If Someone Violates a Restraining Order?

A protective order establishes conditions that you must follow with regard to contact with and proximity to the alleged victim. If you violate any of the terms of the PFA, you could be charged with indirect criminal contempt of a court order. This is a criminal offense, but rather than a full trial, your fate will be decided by a court hearing.

The penalty for violating a restraining order in Pennsylvania is up to six months of jail time and up to $1,000 in fines. You could also face criminal charges if any aspect of the PFA violation constituted a separate crime (for example, stalking or harming the protected person).

If you are accused of breaking the terms of the PFA, your first action should be to consult a knowledgeable protection order violations criminal defense attorney in Kingston, PA.

When Do You Need a Luzerne County Protective Orders Lawyer?

In any legal matter, it’s valuable to have an experienced professional guiding you. Instances where having an attorney on your side is especially valuable include fighting a protective order against you and defending against charges of PFA violations.

To Represent You in a Protective Order Hearing

Once the alleged victim fills out the forms to petition for a PFA against you, a judge reviews the information provided in an informal temporary hearing and decides whether to issue a temporary protective order against you. If so, this order remains in place until the formal court hearing occurs, during which a judge will determine whether a final protection from abuse order will be issued.

You don’t have the opportunity to make your case against granting the temporary protective order, but you do have the right to attend and present evidence at the final PFA hearing. Under state law, you also can hire a Luzerne County protective orders lawyer to represent you (and you should).

Having a lawyer on your side is valuable because your attorney can gather evidence that supports your case, advise you on how to conduct yourself in a courtroom, and put together the most robust argument possible against granting the protective order. Because the final protective order hearing is supposed to take place within 10 days of filing the petition for a protection from abuse order, you need to hire an attorney quickly.

To Defend You Against Restraining Order Violation Charges

If you already have a restraining order in place against you, any violation of its requirements, even unintentional ones, could send you to prison for up to six months. Protective order violations are serious legal matters, and you should approach them the same way you would approach other types of legal trouble: by hiring a skilled attorney to defend you. A protection order violations criminal defense attorney in Kingston, PA, can help you seek a more favorable resolution to the case against you.

Contact a Luzerne County Protective Orders Lawyer at Muckler Law, LLC, Today for a Free Consultation

When an unreasonable protective order threatens to impose rigid restrictions on you or an alleged violation of a PFA puts you at risk of criminal penalties like jail time, you can trust your attorney to stand up for your legal rights and provide a defense customized for you. For help from a protection order attorney in Kingston, PA, contact Muckler Law, LLC, online or call 570-908-4069 today.

Protective Orders Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS)

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