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Defending Against PFAs in Pittsburgh

False accusations of domestic violence can have a grave impact on your life. You need to protect your rights by defending against a false Protection from Abuse (PFA) Petition.

The Protection from Abuse (PFA) Act was created to protect victims of abuse from family members, household members, current or ex-spouses, or anyone related to the victim. Traditionally, a victim of domestic abuse can file a petition with the court in order to request a PFA order. From there, a hearing must be held within 10 days of the petition being filed. It is here that the alleged victim is required to make their case in court. If the judge believes their story, they will sign a protection order that can last for up to three years. Unfortunately, people often attempt to obtain a PFA order without cause, wreaking havoc on the life of the person they have accused of domestic violence.

Our Pittsburgh protection order lawyers at Pittsburgh Divorce & Family Law, LLC understand that people are often falsely accused of domestic violence. With years of experience in helping people defend against these accusations, attorney Anthony Piccirilli will work tirelessly to ensure that you are not labeled as a domestic abuser.

Call (412) 471-5100 today to see how your reputation and your freedom can be protected.


False Accusations

In many cases, a person may attempt to obtain a PFA order under false pretenses. While Pennsylvania law officially states that only legitimate cases of abuse or neglect will result in an order being issued, the court commonly approves initial petitions that are submitted. From there, it is all too easy for an ex-spouse or family member to present false evidence. If the evidence is compelling enough, it is likely that the judge will approve the order, resulting in several conditions that must be adhered to by the person being accused of domestic violence. If the judge issues a no contact order, for example, the accused will not be allowed to contact the supposed victim at any time, even through third parties. Violating the terms of a PFA order can result in fines of up to $1,000 and even time spent behind bars.

There are many reasons that a person might falsely accuse someone of domestic violence in order to obtain a PFA order. Many spouses use PFAs to lessen the hardships of the divorce process. When two parents decide to separate, they must determine child custody. Rather than go through the time-consuming and expensive process of a custody battle, some parents opt for a PFA order to suspend the other parent’s custody rights. It might also be the case that an ex-spouse simply wants revenge. Issuing an order that risks fines and jail time is often seen as the ultimate form of payback.

Defending Your Freedom

It is not uncommon for the civil proceedings of a PFA order to lead to a criminal trial. This is because the hearing for a civil domestic abuse case contains many elements that are consistent with a criminal trial. During the hearing of a domestic abuse case, the accuser is allowed to present evidence and witnesses to prove that abuse is taking place. In cases where the accuser is granted a PFA order, they may be tempted to pursue criminal charges. After all, if their story was believed during a civil case, why would the accused not be found guilty during criminal proceedings?

A criminal conviction for assault or battery can be devastating. You may face additional fines, incarceration, and a permanent criminal record. Your ability to obtain a job and find affordable housing may also be affected when background checks reveal that you were found guilty of a violent crime. Defending against a PFA petition can also be necessary if you have children. Judges considering child custody and visitation consider accusations of abuse and criminal behavior. Divorce proceedings may also be impacted by a criminal conviction.

Let Us Fight for Your Rights

If you have been accused of domestic violence in a civil proceeding, you may be worried about the restrictions or criminal charges that could follow. While fighting against a PFA order is difficult, it is not impossible. At a protection from abuse hearing, the accused is given the chance to make their case. They are allowed to fight the accusations against them. It is here that the services of a skilled attorney are invaluable. Our Pittsburgh protection order lawyers at Pittsburgh Divorce & Family Law, LLC will fight to protect your innocence and reputation. Attorney Anthony Piccirilli will do whatever it takes to tell your side of the story before a protection order is issued. Call (412) 471-5100 to see how your best interests can be protected.