What to Do if a No Contact Order Is Issued Against You in PA
Anyone could obtain a no-contact order (also called a protection from abuse order), and they don’t cost a dime. If someone you know claims you’re stalking, intimidating, or abusing them, they could file a petition to obtain a no-contact order reasonably quickly.
If you’ve been served, you must remain calm. Contacting the alleged abuser to “clear the air” could only worsen things and potentially lead to jail time and fines. Knowing the details of your order and how to avoid violating it could make all the difference in your case.
What Are No-Contact Orders?
No contact orders are exactly how they sound—they prohibit you from contacting an alleged victim of abuse in any way. The court might issue one of the following types of no-contact orders:
- Protection from Abuse Order – protects someone from physical or sexual abuse caused by an intimate partner or family member
- Protection from Sexual Violence Order – protects individuals from abuse caused by someone who isn’t a close relative or intimate partner
- Protection from Intimidation Order – protects minors from adults 18 or older who stalk or harass them.
When Does the Court Issue a No-Contact Order?
Victims must go to the county courthouse and fill out a form stating the details of the abuse they claim to have suffered. If a judge deems it necessary to issue a protective order, they will grant a temporary one until the final hearing ten days later.
The court might grant a protective order if the alleged victim accuses someone of the following:
- Sexual assault
- Intimidation and threats
- Physical abuse
Furthermore, you might have already been charged or convicted of domestic violence or another crime against the alleged victim, which could also result in the court issuing a protective order.
What Does a No-Contact Order Prohibit You from Doing?
You should understand the details of your protective order to ensure you don’t violate the conditions. According to the Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania, a no-contact order could prohibit you from doing the following:
- Contacting the alleged victim via phone, social media, or email
- Personally visiting the victim at their home or work
- Owning firearms
- Living in the same home as the victim (if the alleged victim is an intimate partner)
Ultimately, the judge will include any restrictions they feel are necessary to ensure the alleged victim’s safety.
What to Do if You Have Been Issued a No-Contact Order
If you’ve been served a protection order, tread carefully and do the following:
Contact an Attorney
While the alleged victim has a right to obtain a protective order, you have a right to protect yourself legally.
You might already have charges against you, or the order came out of the blue. Either way, your situation could worsen the longer you wait to contact an attorney.
Follow the Order
Next, you should follow all the conditions outlined in the agreement. A violation could result in severe penalties and fines.
You might want to visit the victim or call them to see if you both can resolve the issue yourselves. Resist this temptation and let your attorney help you understand your rights and options. Even if the alleged victim tries to contact you, ignore them to protect yourself from further punishment.
False claims of abuse are widespread. Alleged victims might want to get a leg up in custody hearings or kick you out of the family home. Whatever the case, these attempts to assassinate your character could greatly hinder your future opportunities. That’s why it’s vital not to let your emotions get the best of you and to listen to your attorney’s instructions so you can put this behind you.
What Are the Penalties for Violating a No-Contact Order?
Violating a protective order only further justifies the alleged victim’s reasoning for obtaining one and puts you in deep legal trouble. A conviction for violating a PFA could result in up to $1,000 in fines and six months in jail.
How an Attorney Could Help You
You have ten days to contact an attorney before appearing at the final PFA hearing. After that, a PFA could remain in effect for up to three years if granted by the judge. Whether you’re attending a final PFA hearing or a contempt hearing for an alleged PFA violation, an attorney could benefit your case in several ways.
Your attorney could help you gather valuable evidence to clear your name, such as phone records, photos and videos, receipts, or witness testimony. This evidence will help prove where you were during the alleged incident that prompted the no-contact order. Lawyers also have extensive knowledge of Pennsylvania law and can ensure your rights aren’t violated in any way.
At the end of the day, a lawyer can offer you peace of mind knowing you’re not alone and have a solid legal advocate fighting by your side.
Were You Served a No-Contact Order? Contact Us Today
A no-contact order could temporarily prevent you from seeing your kids, kick you out of your home, or otherwise hinder your rights. You must immediately contact the lawyers at Worgul, Sarna & Ness Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC, to review your options and fight your charges.
We don’t shy away from trial and ensure your rights are protected. Call us today at (412) 281-2146 to schedule a free consultation.