Protecting the Rights of Victims and Those Who Are Wrongfully Accused
Experienced Domestic Violence Attorney in Chester County, PA
Domestic violence (DV) is a crime that is taken very seriously by law enforcement and the courts. In some instances, obtaining a Protection from Abuse (PFA) order may be appropriate, but unfortunately, false allegations of domestic abuse do happen. If you are the subject of a PFA or facing DV charges, our domestic violence lawyers at Perna & Abracht, LLC provide a vigorous defense and ensure that your rights are protected.
Our Domestic Abuse Lawyers are Well-Versed in the Law
When certain crimes are committed against a person who is considered a family or household member, the victim may seek a PFA against his/her abuser. Family or household members include:
- A spouse or ex-spouse
- Current and former intimate partners
- Individuals who have children together
- People who have lived together as spouses
- Parents, children, and siblings
- Other family members related to you by blood or marriage
Each situation is unique. Even if you have been abused or accused by someone who doesn’t fit the requirements of this list, it’s critical to seek legal counsel to discover your options under the law. Regardless of whether you are seeking a PFA or find yourself facing charges, our lawyers for domestic violence victims and criminal defense attorneys can help you understand your rights and represent your interests.
Types of Domestic Abuse Charges
Unlike many other states, Pennsylvania law does not specifically include domestic violence as a separate charge. Instead, an underlying crime is charged, and domestic violence can be an aggravating factor that results in harsher penalties. Common crimes involving domestic violence include:
- Simple assault
- Aggravated assault
- Sex crimes such as: Rape, Sexual assault, Statutory sexual assault, Indecent assault, Aggravated indecent assault
- False imprisonment
- Terroristic threats
- Physical or sexual abuse of minors
- Criminal Trespass
- Recklessly endangering another person
Some of these crimes are very serious and can result in felony charges. Our domestic violence defense lawyers can help you make sense of the charges you may be facing. If you’re a DV victim, our attorneys provide competent, compassionate legal counsel that protects your rights and interests.
Penalties for Crimes Involving Domestic Violence
Penalties for domestic abuse charges can be severe. It is important to hire a seasoned DV defense lawyer who has experience negotiating with prosecutors and developing defenses that may help get charges reduced or dismissed. Although some charges associated with domestic violence are misdemeanors, felony charges can result in hefty fines and significant prison time.
Whether you will face a misdemeanor or felony depends upon the severity of the offense and the specific crime that is charged. In Pennsylvania, sentencing for misdemeanor convictions can carry fines up to $10,000 and five years in prison. If you are convicted of a felony offense involving domestic violence, you may face up to 20 years in prison and a $50,000 fine.
Penalties are determined on a case-by-case basis. Depending on the circumstances, you may be subject to lesser or harsher penalties than those mentioned above. We discuss your specific charges and the penalties you could face and advise you of your options. Our domestic violence defense lawyers know how to build solid defenses and work toward achieving the best possible outcome for your case.
Domestic Violence FAQs
Can I Be Charged with Domestic Violence Even Though No Physical Contact Occurred?
Yes. There are several acts that can be considered DV crimes without making physical contact, such as false imprisonment, terroristic threats, and harassment. For example, if you have an argument, and your partner asks you not to contact him/her and you keep calling and leaving messages, this could be construed as harassment or stalking.
How Does a PFA Work?
A Protection from Abuse order (PFA) is a restraining order that prohibits an alleged abuser from contacting or communicating with a victim. A temporary PFA can be granted based on a victim’s claims of abuse without any input from the accused abuser. Typically, within 10 days there is a hearing in which both parties may testify and present evidence. In this PFA hearing, a judge will decide whether to grant a final PFA, which can last up to three years.
A PFA can have serious consequences. In addition to being barred from contacting the victim, you may be prohibited from having contact with your children. In some cases, you may have to leave the home you share. You also may have to surrender any firearms you own. Our experienced attorneys can present your side of the case at your PFA hearing, and assist you with issues such as child custody, financial support, and other family law issues. If you need to file for a Protection from Abuse order, our domestic violence lawyers can help you fill-out the necessary paperwork and provide legal representation at hearings.
What Happens if I Violate a PFA?
Although a Protection from Abuse order is a civil action, if you violate a PFA, you may be charged with criminal contempt of court. If convicted, you could face up to six months in jail and fines of $300 to $1,000. Our domestic violence defense lawyers understand that situations involving PFAs can be highly emotional. If you’re considering violating a PFA, talk to our attorneys instead.
Do I Need an Attorney if I’m Falsely Accused of Domestic Violence?
False allegations of domestic violence are all too common. When you’re accused of any crime, having an experienced defense attorney is critical. Pennsylvania criminal law is complex, and domestic violence charges can be challenging to navigate. Even if you’ve been wrongly accused and want to set the record straight, do not speak to police or prosecutors without a lawyer present.
Our domestic violence defense attorneys can help you understand the charges against you and guide you through the process every step of the way. We investigate all aspects of your case and collect evidence to refute your accuser’s claims. Depending on the circumstances, your criminal defense lawyer may be able to poke holes in your accuser’s story and get charges dismissed.
Do I Need a Lawyer if I Am a Victim of Domestic Abuse?
Dealing with the emotional, legal, and financial fallout of domestic violence is difficult. Our domestic violence lawyers offer compassionate legal support you can trust. Our attorneys can help you understand your rights under the law and assist you with matters such as filing for a PFA, gathering evidence of abuse, navigating legal processes, and dealing with family law matters such as child custody and support. We act as your staunch advocates and take some of the weight off of your shoulders, which can ease some of the stress if you must face your abuser in court.
If you have a specific legal question that you would like answered without any obligation to retain our firm, please schedule a complimentary 30-minute consultation with one of our attorneys below.
Contact a Domestic Violence Attorney
Whether you have been served with a PFA, charged with a crime, or been a victim of violence at the hands of someone close to you, our DV lawyers can help. The attorneys at Perna & Abracht, LLC represent clients throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania. Contact us online or call 610-708-1970 to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Chester County criminal defense attorneys.
Our Office is Located at:
610 Millers Hill
Kennett Square, PA 19348
Serving Southeastern Pennsylvania and Northern Delaware
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