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Restraining Orders, Stay Away Orders and PFA Orders - Pennsylvania


Victims of domestic violence may apply for a Protection From Abuse Order (PFA) to keep their abuser away from them. The temporary PFA is also called a restraining order or a stay away order.

If you have had a PFA order entered against you, you will not be allowed any contact with the person who requested it from the court.

What Will the Restraining Order Do?

Depending on the specifics of your situation, the restraining order can order you:

  • To be evicted from your home or apartment if that is where the person who took out the order against you lives
  • Keep you from returning to your own home, school or job
  • Give the person who took out the restraining order against you temporary custody or temporary visitation of your children
  • Prevent you from owning a firearm

Violation of a PFA or Stay Away Order Can Result in Jail Time

If you have received a restraining order, you must read it carefully. If you violate the order in any way, you may be subject to a criminal record and jail time. For example, courts may penalize you with six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.

Who Can Request a Stay Away Order?

The goal of a PFA is to prevent abuse between spouses, boyfriends or girlfriends, household members, sexual or intimate partners, or parents who have children together but do not live in the same household. A person who requests the PFA does not necessarily have to file the petition for him or herself. They can file it on behalf of a family member or a minor child.

A PFA or restraining order will be granted if:

  • The person who requested it was injured by you
  • You tried to injure the person who requested it
  • The person who requested it is fearful that you will seriously injure him or her
  • You are preventing the person from freely moving about
  • You are abusing or did abuse minor children
  • You are stalking that person and he or she is afraid of being harmed

Temporary and Permanent Restraining Orders in PA

In Pennsylvania, PFAs can be either temporary or permanent in nature. Stay away orders are temporary, not permanent. They are good for up to one year or until your case is resolved. Stay away orders do not go into the police computer system. This means that they do not go on a court record.

An order of permanent protection, on the other hand, is ordered by the court and is more permanent. It can last up to three years or longer, depending on the court's decision. It is based on a hearing before the Court of Common Pleas in Pennsylvania. The hearing for this will be scheduled on the day that you are given a temporary PFA or stay away order.

Restraining Order Questions? Criminal Defense Attorneys in Philadelphia, Bucks, Montgomery, and Delaware Counties, PA

If you have been served with a PFA, it is critical that you seek the counsel of an attorney to protect your rights, your family, and possibly your freedoms. Discuss your situation in a free consultation with an experienced lawyer at Parkinson, Tarpey Law. Please call (215) 352-3432.

We work with clients throughout Philadelphia, Bucks, Montgomery and Delaware Counties. Our Philadelphia criminal defense lawyers have more than 40 years of combined experience. Let them handle PFA allegations and protect you.

Call for a free initial consultation of your case today!