So you were in a long term relationship, but now it has ended. You may have moved on, but your ex keeps calling. What happens when her calls and texts turn to threats? When she starts contacting your new significant other? What happens then? Do you have any legal remedies under Pennsylvania law? When is enough, enough?
In today’s blog, your Pittsburgh Criminal Defense Lawyers discuss this situation and the protection you may have under a PA anti-harassment order.
You can get a PA anti-harassment order based on the nature of the threats and how afraid you are of your ex. First, you should start by blocking her numbers and removing her from all social media accounts. If that doesn’t work, you should file an anti-harassment petition.
In PA, you can file this order against someone whether or not you’re married to or involved with them. When applying for an anti-harassment order, be very specific and detail how you have been harassed. For instance, if your ex has be calling you a lot, leaving threatening or disturbing voicemails or text messages, or anything else along these lines, these are all critical details. Keep all text messages, voicemails, emails, or other contact in case this should ever be needed.
When you file your petition, you will receive a temporary, ex-parte anti-harassment order. Ex-parte means that the opposing party need not know about you filing for the order prior to you receiving the order. You will be the only one present. You will have to petition the court for this order. A judge will read your order and make a decision. The temporary order can last for up to 14 days. If approved by a PA criminal court judge, this order can be renewed until a final order is granted or denied.
A final order can be granted after a hearing where both you and the other side are present. A Pittsburgh criminal court judge will decide whether to turn the temporary order into a final order here. Final orders often last for one year unless the judge finds reason to expand the time frame. If granted the final order, the other party will not be able to contact you at all, come within a certain distance of you, follow you, observe you, or generally act as if they are watching you.
If you have a question about an abusive situation, please contact one of our experienced Allegheny County criminal law attorneys today. In situations like this, don’t wait. The sooner you get help and assert your legal rights, the better.