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Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer
Has a relative, partner, or ex accused you of hurting them? Whether they allege physical abuse, threats, or harassment, you have to take it seriously. Domestic abuse can lead to misdemeanor or felony charges, damage your reputation, and ruin your relationships.
You might not know what to do right now. You might be angry, embarrassed, or ashamed. It’s tough to look past these feelings, which is why we recommend reaching out to an experienced Pennsylvania domestic violence defense lawyer. Czekaj Law, LLC offers objective legal advice. We take a careful look at your case’s facts and help you mount an aggressive and effective defense.
Call us today at (717) 275-9770 to learn more.
What Is Domestic Violence in Pennsylvania?
Pennsylvania defines domestic abuse as someone:
- Trying to cause or intentionally or recklessly causing harm, serious bodily injury, rape, or incest with or without a deadly weapon
- Putting another person in fear of severe bodily harm
- Falsely imprisoning on another
- Physically or sexually abusing a child
- Stalking and harassing another person
But domestic abuse isn’t between strangers. The violence takes place between current or former:
- Family members
- Household members
- People who share children
- Sexual or romantic partners
Family members encompass parents, children, stepchildren, adopted children, and anyone related by blood. For example, a grandchild could be charged with domestic violence against their elderly grandparent and vice versa.
When the Police Can Arrest You
Officers can arrest you if they have probable cause that you committed a violent or sexual offense against a relative, household member, partner, or ex. The officer has to see the victim’s experienced a physical injury later or other corroborating evidence.
Officers don’t have to get a warrant to arrest you if they have probable cause. But not every arrest is lawful. Czekaj Law, LLC reviews the circumstances surrounding your arrest and scrutinizes the officer’s words and actions. If we believe the police wrongfully arrested you, we may try to get the charges dropped.
Domestic Violence Crimes
Domestic abuse charges include:
- Simple assault (§2701)
- Aggravated assault ((§2702)
- Reckless endangerment (§2705)
- Harassment or cyberstalking (§2709)
- Stalking (§2709.1)
- Strangulation (§2718)
- Unlawful restraint (§2902)
- False imprisonment (§2903)
- Rape (§3121)
- Statutory sexual assault (§3122.1)
- Involuntary deviate sexual intercourse (§3123)
- Sexual assault (§3124.1)
- Indecent assault (§3126)
- Aggravated indecent assault (§3125)
- Unlawful dissemination of intimate image (§3131)
- Criminal trespass (§3503)
- False reports of child abuse (§4906.1)
- Loitering (§5506)
- Obscene materials (§5903)
- Corruption of minors (§6301)
This is not an exhaustive list. If you’re charged with any crime under the premise of domestic abuse, call us right away.
Domestic Abuse Penalties
You face penalties based on the underlying charge:
- Third-Degree Misdemeanor: Up to one year in jail and a $2,500 fine.
- Second-Degree Misdemeanor: Up to two years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
- First-Degree Misdemeanor: Up to 5 years in prison and $10,000 fine.
- Third-Degree Felony: Up to 7 years in prison and $15,000 fine.
- Second-Degree Felony: Up to 10 years in prison and a $25,000 fine.
- First-Degree Felony: Up to 20 years in prison and $25,000 fine.
Depending on the facts of your face, mitigating factors may lower the penalty. But aggravating factors lead to a harsher sentence. Talk with a domestic violence defense attorney about these possibilities.
Domestic Abuse Defenses
Accusations don’t have to lead to a conviction; you can defend yourself. It helps to hire a Pennsylvania domestic violence lawyer.
Possible defenses include:
- False Allegations—Your accuser has ulterior motives, such as revenge or influencing a child custody matter
- A Mistake of Identity—Someone else was the culprit
- Self-Defense—You responded to another person’s actions with proportionate force to protect yourself from harm
- Defense of Another—You responded to another person’s actions with enough force to protect others from harm
- Insufficient Evidence—The prosecutor lacks enough evidence to prove you committed the crime beyond a reasonable doubt
Orders of Protection
Alleged victims often ask for a protection order. This is a civil matter separate from your criminal charges.
When they ask for an emergency order, the judge conducts an ex parte hearing and listens to their story. You won’t be there. If there’s evidence of abuse, the court issues a temporary restraining order. It’s in effect until you both attend a hearing for the long-term order.
You have to obey an emergency protection order. Violating it can lead to additional criminal charges and months in prison.
You’ll receive notice for a long-term protection order hearing. Call a domestic violence defense lawyer immediately. The court schedules hearings within 10 days of filing. There, you can tell your side of the story. But it’s the victim’s job to prove you’re a danger.
At the hearing, the judge decides whether to end, modify, or extend the emergency order. A final order can last up to three years, and the victim can ask the court to extend it again.
A restraining order has serious consequences. You might have to move out of your family home. The order can limit the time you have with your children or even require supervised visitation. It may require you to turn over any firearms or weapons you own to the police.
Are You Going Through a Divorce or Child Custody Battle?
Domestic violence allegations are always tough. But they can be particularly damaging during a child custody matter. Possible abuse is an essential factor for a judge deciding what’s in the child’s best interests.
If the judge has evidence you were abusive toward the child, their parent, or anyone else in the household, you could lose custody. They may grant you limited time with your child. That’s why it’s essential to work with a domestic violence defense lawyer to fight these accusations.
Timothy Czekaj of Czekaj Law, LLC handles criminal and family matters. He understands how these areas of law intersect and how a criminal case can impact your time with your children. Let him help you beat these charges and remain an active parent in your children’s lives.
Let a Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer Help You
Now, more than ever, you need an attorney to represent you. You can’t explain yourself out of domestic violence charges. You can’t clear up a misunderstanding with the police. You need someone to take a hard look at the facts and build a strong defense based on what’s true.
Czekaj Law, LLC has in-depth knowledge of Pennsylvania domestic abuse laws and the local court system. We know how to protect your rights and reputation. Let us help.