Restraining orders can be issued for either family law situations or related to criminal domestic violence cases. They represent a powerful form of protection for people who are dealing with abuse. Whether you’re a victim of physical, emotional or sexual abuse, having a restraining order in place can restore your sense of personal safety. If you feel that you are in danger and need assistance in filing a petition for protection from abuse, the attorneys at Baer Romain can help.
To get protection in the state of Pennsylvania, there are specific steps that must be followed. The petition can be filed either in the county where you live or in any county where the abuser can easily be served: it can also be filed in the county where the abuse took place, even if neither you nor your abuser live there. It’s important to note that if your protection order is designed to get the abuser out of your home, you must file the petition in the county where your residence is located.
The petition gets filed in the county’s Court of Common Pleas. You can get all of the forms you need there – just bring your identification with you and ask for a Protection from Abuse (PFA) form. When filling the form out, you are the “petitioner” and the person you are trying to keep away is the “defendant”. You will be asked to provide detailed information about your reason for needing protection and should include as much information as you can about any violence, threats, or weapons that were involved, whether recently or in the past. The more detail you can provide, the better. You will be asked to sign the form in front of a judge or a notary at the courthouse.
The amount of time that a restraining order takes to process often depends on how emergent the situation is. If you appear to be in immediate danger, a temporary order will be entered that will be good until an official hearing takes place. The law says that hearing must be heard within 10 days of filing, after which a final restraining order may be ordered. Make sure you keep a copy of either a temporary or final order with you at all times.
Having a restraining order on hand is not a magic wand or invisible shield, but it can help. If you need information about protecting yourself, contact our office today to set up an appointment.