The Deputy Sheriff just served you with a PFA complaint from an ex-girlfriend making statements that you physically and emotionally abused her. You feel that she is blowing the whole thing out of proportion. You are thinking, “Why should I fight a PFA brought against me?” If a spouse, dating partner, or family member brings a protection from abuse (PFA) case against you, do not take the situation lightly, and definitely consider hiring an attorney.
An answer to the question (why should I fight a PFA brought against me?) is that a PFA can result in stressful, inconvenient, and unfair circumstances beyond just a temporary protection order prohibiting contact. Depending on your circumstances, a protection from abuse (PFA) order can prevent you:
- From entering your home
- Require the removal of all of your firearms from your possession
- Prevent you from possessing any other firearms
- Hinder or prevent you from seeing your children or pets
- Affect your parental rights
- Result in child support obligations
In other words, a PFA brought against you can fundamentally change your life.
What happens after I receive the PFA paperwork?
When a PFA is brought, often a temporary PFA order will go into effect for 21 days. This temporary order is intended to prevent you from having any contact with the individual who brought the PFA against you. As soon as you are holding the notice informing you that a temporary order is in effect, any violation of the order by you could result in a criminal charge, creating a whole different case against you.
A temporary order will continue through the completion of the PFA Hearing date, which will be scheduled within 21 days. As soon as you receive the PFA paperwork, it is important to start preparing for the PFA Hearing as soon as possible. Getting a lawyer involved to start preparing your defense can be essential.
At the PFA Hearing, a lawyer can help you avoid some or all of the consequences you could face as a PFA defendant. A lawyer will work with you to ensure your goals are met, and use their knowledge and experience to help you avoid the dangerous consequences mentioned above. Having an attorney in your corner can help with negotiating a fair agreement, or help ensure the judge hears your best case at a formal hearing.
If you lose the PFA hearing, a “permanent” PFA order will likely go into effect for two years, with the continuing requirements that prevent you from owning or possessing firearms or dangerous weapons.
What if I want to contact my girlfriend after I get the PFA Paperwork?
It is very understandable that you might want to contact the plaintiff after the PFA has been brought against you to see if you can smooth things over with that person. Unfortunately, the temporary order that was likely attached with the PFA paperwork prohibits you from having any contact with the other person.
If you go against the PFA paperwork and try to contact the other person (even through indirect contact through a mutual friend), and of you are accused of violating the terms of the PFA, you could face criminal charges for Violating a Protective Order. Criminal charges involve being arrested, possible jail time, bail, and hefty fines.
What if my girlfriend says it’s OK to contact her after I get the PFA paperwork?
The person who brought the PFA against you cannot give you permission to violate it. Even if they tell you it is okay to see them, having contact with them can still result in you being arrested for a Class D crime, punishable by up to 364 days in jail and a $2,000 fine. Violating other parts of the protection order may be a Class C felony, or be considered being in contempt of court. Beware of a PFA plaintiff who appears to be “cooperative” after having served legal paperwork on you.
Our committed legal team is determined to take immediate action to seek a positive case outcome. If you or someone you know is facing a PFA in Maine, I encourage you to contact The Nielsen Group for your free legal consultation. We will take the time to answer your questions and to put your mind at ease as we work with you to determine a defense strategy.
It is well worth your time to check out:
If you would like to call us now at (207) 571-8555, we can begin to develop your case strategy.
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