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Lehighton Estate, Family & Workers’ Comp Lawyer > Blog > Domestic Violence > Three Things To Do When Served with a Restraining Order in Pennsylvania

Three Things To Do When Served with a Restraining Order in Pennsylvania


Pennsylvania laws are harsh when it comes to domestic violence, and the initial stages of the process are not favorable to the interests of a person accused of misconduct. Under the statute on Protection from Abuse (PFA), an accuser can file a petition on an emergency basis to get a restraining order against an abuser. The petitioner may get a PFA without even providing notice to the other person, termed the respondent. The first you know about the case might be when you receive court paperwork telling you what you can do and where you can go.

Initially, you might be frustrated and angry about the allegations in the restraining order. Then, you will need to know what to do when served with a Pennsylvania PFA order, since there are serious impacts on your rights. It is critical to speak with a Carbon County domestic violence lawyer about what to expect with legal proceedings, but some tips are useful.

  1. Review the PFA Carefully: It is likely that you will be served by a police officer, and the documents you receive are extremely important. The packet contains the restraining order that outlines exactly what types of conduct are prohibited. In many cases, the PFA will include bans on:
  • Communicating with the accuser;
  • Being present at the accuser’s residence, place of work, or school;
  • Exercising visitation or custody rights with children; and,
  • Continuing to reside in a home that you share with the accuser. 

It is crucial that you comply with this order down to the slightest detail, so review it meticulously. Violating the PFA is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 6 months’ jail time, a maximum fine of $1,000, and probation. 

  1. Stay Off Social Media: It may be tempting to vent on social media, express your frustrations, or disparage the petitioner for spreading misinformation. You should avoid going online to address any case dealing with restraining orders, domestic violence cases, and related matters. Your posts could be evidence used against you, and they do not promote your interests in a positive light. 
  1. Prepare for the Next Hearing: In the PFA documents, you should make note of the next hearing date that will be in around 2 weeks. At this court appearance, you will get the chance to contest the allegations and defend the accuser’s claims. You can also present evidence of your own, so collect all relevant documents and information that will support your defense. Examples include:
  • Social media posts from your accuser that disprove the allegations;
  • Witnesses who observed the alleged incident of domestic violence; and,
  • Texts, voice mails, emails, and other messages from the accuser.

Contact a Pennsylvania PFA Attorney to Discuss Next Steps

One of the most important To Do’s if you were served with an order of protection is to retain legal counsel to assist with defending the allegations. To learn how our team can help, please contact the Law Office of Kim M. Gillen, P.C. in Lehighton right away. We can schedule a consultation with a knowledgeable PFA lawyer who will advise you on the proceedings.



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