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Pennsylvania Protective Orders Laws

Also known as orders of protection or restraining orders, protection orders are used to shield victims of domestic violence from further abuse. They may also be used for victims of stalking. They are court orders.

Such court orders often state that an abusive spouse may not come within a certain distance of another person for a period of time.

Continue reading for a breakdown of Pennsylvania's protective order laws. The table below outlines the basics. Also, see Domestic Violence: Orders of Protection and Restraining Orders for more information.

Code Section

Domestic Relations 23 §6102, et seq.

Activity Addressed by Order

Orders of protection address a variety of activities. The following are examples of what orders address:
  • Barring the respondent from making contact with the petitioner
  • Excluding the respondent from a dwelling, school, or place of employment
  • Providing the respondent with alternative housing, when they are barred from a dwelling
  • Establishing temporary custody or visitation arrangements
  • Establishing child support or spousal support arrangements
  • Requiring the respondent not to possess or use weapons
  • Ordering the respondent to pay for expenses related to the abuse

Duration of Order

Ex parte or emergency orders: A hearing must occur within ten business days from when the petitioner has filed for the order of protection. During that time, an ex parte order may remain in effect. Final order: A final order of protection may last for up to three years, while it may also be extended.

Penalty for a Violation of Order

Violations are treated as contempt of court. Offenders may face a fine of between $300 and $1,000. They may also face time in prison for up to six months. They may also face supervised probation of up to six months.

Who May Apply for Order

The following people may apply for orders of protection:
  • An adult or emancipated minor or any parent
  • An adult household member
  • Guardian ad litem on behalf of minor or incompetent
  • Current or former spouses
  • People living as spouses or who lived as spouses
  • Parents and children
  • Other persons related by blood or as a result of marriage
  • Current or former sexual or intimate partners
  • People who are related by having the same parent

Can Fees Be Waived?

No. Fees cannot be waived. The petitioner is not charged any fees or costs associated with the filing, issuance, registration, or service of the petition. They will also not be charged any fees associated with filing the motion, complaint, order, or any other filing associated with seeking the order. However, a court could order that the respondent be responsible for paying these costs.

Order Transmission to Law Enforcement

Within eight hours, the Pennsylvania state police shall send out the order. Within 24 hours, a copy of the order will be entered into the Statewide registry of protection orders. If any amendments are made to the order or if the order is revoked, these will also be sent to the Statewide registry.

Civil Liability for Violation of Order

Civil contempt

Have Questions About Protective Orders? Get Legal Help Today

Being the victim of domestic violence can be traumatic and frightening. It can be overwhelming to pursue an order of protection. Consider contacting a domestic violence lawyer near you. They can help you in all legal matters related to domestic violence, including helping you pursue an order of protection.

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. If you would like to know more about protective orders, or need immediate legal assistance, consider calling a Pennsylvania criminal defense attorney near you.

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