Anti-Harassment Orders in Pennsylvania

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So you were in a long term relationship, but now it has come to an end. You may have moved on but your ex hasn’t and keeps calling. What happens, when her calls and texts turn to threats, and 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 Pennsylvania anti-harassment order.

You can get a PA anti-harassment order depending on the nature of the threats and the amount of fear you have toward your ex. First, you should start by blocking her numbers and removing her from all your social media accounts. If that doesn’t work, you should certainly file an anti-harassment petition.

In Pennsylvania an anti-harassment order allows you to file this order against someone whether or not you’re married or involved with them. When applying for an anti-harassment order, make sure you are very specific and detail the ways in which you have been harassed. For example, if your ex has be calling you excessively, leaving threatening or disturbing voicemails or text messages, and anything else along these lines, these are all very important details. It is also important to keep all text messages, voicemails, e-mails, or other contact through social media evidence, 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 initially filing for the order prior to you receiving the order. You will be the only one present. You will have to petition the court, using your evidence and detailed experience, for this order. A judge will read your order and make a determination. The temporary order can last for up to 14 days. If approved by a PA criminal court judge, this order can renewed as many times as necessary until there is a final order awarded or denied.

A final order can be awarded after a hearing where both you and the opposing side are present. A Pittsburgh criminal court judge will determine whether to turn the temporary order into a final order here. Final orders typically last for one year unless the judge finds reason to expand the time frame. If granted the final order, the opposing party will not be able to contact you whatsoever, come within a certain distance of you, and disallowing the opposing party from following you, observing you, or generally acting as if they have you under surveillance.

If you have a question about a potentially emotionally abusive, physically abusive, or both types of abuse situation, please contact one of our experienced Allegheny County Criminal Law Attorneys today. Do not hesitate in situations like this. The sooner you get help and assert your legal rights, the better.