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Facebook Friend Request Violates Restraining Order

A teenager in Sweden was found guilty of sending a Facebook friend request to a person who had a restraining order against him.

This is a clear and up-to-date example of how communications with a protected party while a restraining order is in place can result in criminal consequences.

Protection From Abuse (PFA) Orders

In Pennsylvania, a "restraining order" is entered against one person by another under the Protection From Abuse Act.  In order to have standing to request an Order for Protection From Abuse, the "victim"/Plaintiff and the "abuser"/Defendant must have a relationship as follows:  parent-child; current or former spouse; or, current or former sexual/intimate partner.

Petitions for Protection From Abuse

The process for obtaining an Order begins with the filing of a Petition for Protection From Abuse.  In response, the court can enter a Temporary Order for Protection from Abuse.  The Order is "temporary" pending a hearing that is scheduled for the court to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to enter a Final Order for Protection From Abuse, which can be entered for up to three (3) years.

PFA Violations and Criminal Charges

When a Temporary or Final Order is granted, it will outline a number of conditions that the Defendant must obey.  These conditions often include some form of a "No Contact Order."  This means what it says, "No Contact."  For example, it would be a violation of such Order to communicate by:  Facebook friend request or any form of social media, phone calls, texts, e-mail, etc.

If a person violates a "No Contact" provision, they could be charged with Indirect Criminal Contempt and face up to 6 months in jail and a $1000.00 fine.

The Catch

If a PFA Order has been entered against you without one also being entered against the other party, only you are prohibited from contacting that party.  Although common sense and reason would suggest that the other party would not contact you since they requested "no contact," they can and do.  And, if you respond, you are in violation of the Order and can face a Contempt charge and its penalties.

PFA Violation Defense

Life happens and not in a vacuum.  It happens in the real world where our lives are impacted by the environment around us and our mental state at what may be a bad moment in time. 

When domestic incidents occur, emotions are high and strained.  Often, after things cool down, people involved in a relationship try to work things out, which can be good.  However, this can be bad if attempts to reconcile are made while you are subject to a "No Contact" order.

If a relationship has gone sideways and you are facing a PFA violation, you need a Harrisburg Criminal Defense Lawyer experienced in helping people accused of crimes throughout Central and South Central PA. 

Contact us today for a free phone consultation.

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