Domestic violence is taken very seriously in Pennsylvania by law enforcement and the courts. Acts of violence against family members, household members, or intimate partners have been given their own specific state laws that define and punish these acts. When called to the scene of a domestic disturbance, law enforcement can arrest whomever they believe to be the main aggressor; they do not need a warrant to do so.
If you have been accused of domestic violence, it is critical that you seek the services of a trusted and experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. You could be facing severe criminal penalties as well as the heavy restrictions and directives of a restraining order. These orders can profoundly impact your life, from forcing you to vacate your home to affecting your ability to parent your children. At Bernard J. Brown, Esq., LLC, you can rely on a proven criminal trial lawyer who knows how to get favorable results for our clients in the Pennsylvania criminal justice system.
Reach out to Bernard J. Brown, Esq., LLC to book a consultation with our Lackawanna domestic violence attorney. Connect with us online or at (570) 676-1553 to get started. We serve the counties of Lackawanna, Wayne, Wyoming, Pike, and Susquehanna.
Domestic Violence Charges in Pennsylvania
Domestic violence in our state includes various types of behavior committed against family members, household members, and dating or intimate partners.
According to Pennsylvania’s Department of Human Services, these can include:
- Physical violence: punching, slapping, shoving, choking, and more of spouses, intimate partners, and/or children.
- Sexual abuse: forcing sexual acts upon the alleged victim or abusing minor children.
- Property crimes: destroying belongings or shared property, such as phones, laptops, and more.
- Crimes against pets.
- Theft: removing cash, access to bank accounts, or other shared items.
- Threats of harm to children: this may be done to force control over victimized adults.
- False imprisonment: this can be done by keeping the alleged victim confined to the home through fear of imminent harm.
Per Pennsylvania law, domestic violence involves simple assault, aggravated assault, reckless endangerment, terroristic threats, stalking, strangulation, and threats against the alleged victims that make them fear bodily injury.
Penalties for Domestic Violence Crimes
Domestic violence crimes can be charged as misdemeanors or felonies, depending on the nature of the offense and its severity. Misdemeanors can range from third-degree, and second-degree up to first-degree, with penalties ranging from up to a year in jail and/or fines of up to $2,500 to five years in prison with fines of up to $10,000.
Felony convictions will generally result in even harsher penalties ranging from seven to 20 years in prison and fines ranging from $15,000 up to $25,000.
Protection from Abuse Orders
Victims of domestic violence crimes can seek restraining orders known as Protection from Abuse orders (PFAs).
These orders can drastically impact you as the accused in the following ways:
- Order you to cease any further acts or threats of violence against the victim or your shared children
- Order you to vacate the shared home and hand over full possession to the victim
- Restrict you from making any kind of contact with the victim or going within a certain distance of his/her home, work, or other locations
- Give temporary custody of shared children to the victim
- Order you to pay child support
- Take away your possession of any firearms
- Order you to pay the victim for any financial losses related to the abuse
- Order any other restrictions or directives the court deems appropriate
Final PFAs can be made effective for up to three years and may be extended beyond that if the court finds it necessary.
Protect Yourself & Your Future with a Strategic Defense
If you are facing any type of domestic violence accusation, the sooner you engage the services of our criminal defense lawyer, the better your chances will be of protecting yourself against prosecution. Accusations and charges do not automatically mean convictions. However, you will need a dedicated and savvy lawyer on your side working on your defense. To do that, we strongly urge you to contact our firm to get the advice and guidance you need today.
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