A Protection From Abuse (“PFA”) Order is a serious matter with major consequences. Having a PFA awarded against you can irreparably damage your relationships, reputation, freedoms, and your future.
Protection From Abuse Orders serve an important function for victims in abusive relationships, of which there are far too many. However, the PFA system can be easily abused. Obtaining a temporarily PFA’s only requires an alleged victim to file a short narrative claiming an instance of abuse. Temporary PFAs can, therefore, be too easily used to harass, evicted someone from their home, infringe their right to firearms, and/or gain leverage in a divorce or custody case. Even if the accuse is guilty of some form of abuse, PFAs represent only one side of the story and PFA proceedings often seem stacked against the defendant with a presumption in the plaintiff’s favor. If a PFA Order becomes final, for a period up to three years, the defendant can be thrown in jail if the plaintiff alleges a violation of the PFA terms.
If you have been served with a PFA, regardless of whether you have done anything wrong or not, you are entitled to be defended by an experienced law firm that will fight on your behalf. Protection From Abuses matters are unique in that they combine family law and criminal law and you should get an attorney who has experiences handling these matters. Those accused of PFAs have the right to defend themselves at final hearings before a judge or work out agreements that significantly limit the consequences that accompany a PFA. Accordingly, an effective PFA attorney must have effective negotiating skills as well as trial skills.
In light of the ease of getting a PFA and the immediate consequences for the accused PFA hearings are generally scheduled very quickly so you must act quickly. To aid in your defense it is important that you begin to prepare for your hearing as soon as possible. You should be prepared to testify on your own behalf and support your case (and refute the accusations against you) with physical evidence including text messages, emails, voicemails. You can also bring witness to your hearing who are willing to testify to your version of events.