What Happens When You Violate a Restraining Order
A Protection from Abuse Order, also known as a PFA or a restraining order, is designed to protect certain individuals from those who are deemed threats, whether it’s to their physical health or to their mental health. But while PFAs are an excellent way to discourage these behaviors, they’re not going to stop someone who wants to make contact from making contact. With that in mind, what happens when you violate a restraining order in Pennsylvania? What are the consequences? Let’s take a look at what happens when you violate a restraining order and what you can do if you find yourself in this situation.
Violating a PFA: The Immediate Penalties
Like anything else, violating the terms of a restraining order is going to come with immediate penalties that you’ll want to know about ahead of time. There are two types of penalties in Pennsylvania, each of which will be delivered depending on the unique circumstances of your case. If you’re found guilty of criminal contempt for violating your restraining order, the first penalty is having to spend up to six months in jail and pay a fine of anywhere from $300 to $1,000. The second penalty is six months probation on top of a fine of anywhere from $300 to $1,000.
There may also be additional actions taken depending on what you’re found guilty of. For example, if you indirectly violate the restraining order placed against you, the court may decide to extend the restraining order. You could be found in contempt of court in this situation and jailed without trial by jury. The person who has placed the restraining order against you can also file a petition for civil contempt, which carries the same potential jail time.
With the above in mind, it’s important to know that these are just the immediate penalties and consequences of violating your PFA. There are other more severe and longer-lasting consequences that you will need to be aware of too.
Additional Consequences of Violating a Restraining Order
Violating a restraining order can result in much more than probation and jail time as well as a small fine. Some of the other consequences that come with violating a PFA include:
- A potential suspension of your driver’s license.
- The suspension or revocation of your professional or occupational licenses, alongside potential long-term professional image damage as a result of violating the PFA.
- Issues moving forward with your immigration or citizenship application.
- An impact on cases that are of significant importance to you, including child custody battles and divorces.
- Damage to your personal reputation.
- Difficulty securing future employment.
- And beyond.
Restraining orders are in place for a reason, and when you violate a PFA, you put yourself in a position where you could face significant penalties and life-changing outcomes. The good news? No matter what the reason may be for why the PFA was requested or what actions you took that violated the PFA, you are still able to get your bearings. A Philadelphia assault lawyer can help you figure out what you can do moving forward to mitigate the damage caused so far.
Defend Yourself and Your Rights With Brennan Law Offices
Violating a PFA can be serious, and you need someone on your side who is able to help you navigate your life moving forward, providing you with the best possible defense and counsel. The experienced lawyers here at Brennan Law Offices are dedicated to supporting you during this time. Whether you’re looking for domestic violence lawyers in Philadelphia, contact us today so we can learn more about your situation and how we can help you.