Pennsylvania Protective Orders Laws
Pennsylvania has a protective order law that is triggered in domestic violence cases. Such court orders often state, for instance, that an abusive spouse may not come within a stated distance of another person for a period of time. In Pennsylvania, protective orders (also called “restraining orders”) may also be used in stalking cases.
Types of Protective Orders in Pennsylvania
Protective orders are not one-size-fits all. There are many different protective orders which prohibit different kinds of activities. There are many different reasons for obtaining a protective order, and each protective order is tailored to fit each situation.
Some protective orders prohibit contact between the petitioner (the person asking for the order) and the defendant. This is common when there has been a history of abuse from the defendant against the petitioner, so much so that it would be unsafe for the defendant to be in contact with the petitioner at all.
Exclude from Private Spaces
In certain circumstances, like when some contact is necessary, the defendant can be prohibited from visiting private places, like a home, school, or place of business. The defendant and petitioner might not get along, but may have to have some contact. Exchanging children in the case of joint custody or visitation is a common example.
Protective Orders and Minors
A protective order may also grant temporary custody rights to one parent, and order visitation and child support until a court is able to settle these issues permanently.
In cases of severe domestic violence, a defendant may be required to give up any weapons they own, in order to protect the petitioner.
Defendants may also be required to pay for losses suffered as a result of abuse.
Violating a protective order is criminal contempt, and can get a jail sentence of up to six months, and a fine up to $1,000. Violating an order of protection can result in harsh consequences, including jail and heavy fines. That’s why it’s so important that you fully understand what the protective order against you requires.