Bucks County Violation of Protective Order Lawyer
Young Marr & Associates can defend you against accusations of violating a protection from abuse (PFA) order in Bucks County, PA. In Pennsylvania, violating this order can have serious consequences. PFA orders are among one of the most distressing and confusing legal mechanisms because a violation is considered “criminal contempt.” These orders can be especially heartbreaking in situations where the family is involved and property is owned jointly with the protected party or parties. If you violate the PFA order, you need a lawyer to fight for you, apprise you as to the ways to protect yourself, and keep you from getting into subsequent legal troubles.
At the law offices of Young Marr & Associates, you will have a team of attorneys fighting by your side. They are experienced in representing clients accused of violating PFA orders in Bucks County, PA, which has its own legal rules and requirements. If a violation occurs, they will advocate forcefully on your behalf and tell your side of the story. To learn more about how to proceed if you received an order to attend a criminal contempt hearing, contact us at (215) 372-8667.
Pennsylvania Violation of a Protection from Abuse Order
PFA orders in Pennsylvania are granted in situations where the petitioner claims to be abused or intimidated. A PFA order will restrict you from having contact with the protected party, and a violation will result in your arrest with charges of what is known as “indirect criminal contempt.”
The protected parties are typically family members, friends, or co-workers. You must abide by the PFA’s restrictions, even there are broad restrictions, including:
Harsh Contact Prohibition
When a PFA order contains language prohibiting contact in any location, if you are found in the same location as the protected party, you can be charged with violating a protective order, even if the other party initiated the contact. It is common for protected parties to initiate contact and create all sorts of legal trouble for defendants. A qualified lawyer can explain what this means in your case.
Prohibited communication by telephone, letter or “other means” is a common restriction. Letters, emails, and texts are considered forms of communication. Anyone subject to this type of limitation needs to understand the legal implications of making even the most innocent attempt to reach out. In the recent case of Commonwealth v. Olivo (2019), Facebook posts qualified as prohibited contact with respect to a PFA violation.
Distance and places where parties are allowed to be at the same time should be spelled out clearly in the order. If you have questions, your attorney can explain the implications at greater length.
Statutory Three-Year Limitation
The prohibited contact must have a time limit. In Pennsylvania, there is a maximum statutory period of three years, subject to extension depending on the circumstances.
What You Need to Know About Indirect Criminal Contempt Hearings
If you are arrested for violating a PFA, you need a lawyer representing you. Bail will be set to secure your presence at the hearing. If you fail to appear, what is known as a “bench warrant” will be ordered for your arrest. Your freedom and lifestyle are at stake.
The hearing must be held within 10 business days. There is no right to jury trial in these instances. Your case will be brought before a magisterial district judge for southeastern Pennsylvania, where you will need someone to present your side and advocate on your behalf.
Penalties for Violating a Protective Order
A criminal contempt of court conviction can be punished by six months in jail and fines between $300 and $1,000. However, if you are charged with multiple counts, you can be incarcerated for a much longer period. In addition, some judges will order steep fines, including payment of court costs.
Each time you violate the PFA order will be considered a “count” that can have a cumulative effect. The accumulation of counts is likely to impact the overall sentence. Also, the 3-year PFA order is automatically renewed for another term if you are convicted of contempt of court. A qualified attorney can explain these legal concepts and help you through this difficult process.
High Legal Standard of Indirect Criminal Contempt
One of the most common circumstances of individuals facing charges for violating a protective order is based on misunderstandings about the order. Pennsylvania law requires the prosecution to show the following legal elements to establish a case against you for indirect criminal contempt:
- The PFA order was definite, clear, and specific, leaving no doubt as to the conduct prohibited.
- You had notice of the order.
- Your actions were voluntary.
- You must have acted with wrongful intent.
v. Brumbaugh (2007)
There are various intricate legal concepts in the elements listed above that an experienced attorney can argue on your behalf. Your attorney will go over the facts surrounding your case to help you prepare and know what to expect at the hearing.
A Bucks County Violation of Protective Order Lawyer You Can Trust
The attorneys of Young Marr & Associates will fight for your case. They will defend and uphold your rights and convey your side of the story effectively. While your life may be affected by the events leading to the issuance of a PFA order, a violation of that order can have a further impact on your life, and a judge can order additional restrictions against you. With so many rights at stake, you need aggressive and proactive legal counsel. Call us at (215) 372-8667 to schedule a free and confidential consultation.
NO JAIL TIME
Commonwealth v. "H" (DUI case)
Client was charged with three separate DUI cases calling for mandatory minimum imprisonment of 90 days on each case. Client was advised to seek immediate intensive alcohol counseling. Client was sentenced to 1 year of house arrest after serving 3 days in the county prison.
Commonwealth v. "C" (Felony drug/Firearms case)
Client was charged with felony Delivery of drugs and illegal gun possession and was facing a mandatory 3-6 year prison sentence in the State prison system. Client was sentenced to one year of house arrest.
Commonwealth v. "S"
Client was charged with simple assault, domestic. After a hearing where evidence and testimony was presented, the entire case was dismissed by Judge Leonard Brown.
State of New Jersey v. "H"
Charges for young man charged with second degree aggravated assault were downgraded to third degree and he was accepted into the County Pretrial Intervention program with charges to be dismissed and record expunged after one year of misconduct free behavior.
OUR CRIMINAL DEFENSE TEAM INCLUDES TWO FORMER DISTRICT ATTORNEYS
We have decades of experience dealing with local police departments, prosecutors, and judges throughout southeastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
Anyone facing charges involving a criminal offense can expect to experience a heightened degree of emotional turmoil, for themselves, as well as their family members. Our team of highly qualified criminal law attorneys and expert legal support staff are committed to providing each of our client’s with the compassion and understanding they deserve, as well as an aggressive plan for representation at an affordable price.
As former prosecutors, we have a balanced and in-depth understanding of the criminal justice system and how the prosecution prepares cases. In addition, we have long-standing experience dealing with local police departments, prosecutors and judges throughout southeastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
At Young, Marr and Associates, when we say “experience matters,” we mean it. Our lawyers, which include two former prosecutors and a former senior deputy district attorney bring more than three decades of criminal law experience, handling more than 10,000 criminal cases. It is precisely that experience that allows us to achieve outstanding results for our clients facing DUI, traffic, felony and misdemeanor charges in state, federal and juvenile courts.