Skip to main content

What if a person who requests a pfa against someone, and then turn around and violates it

Easton, PA |

an woman who was being abused orders a PFA against her boyfriend, but then goes around him afterwards. is the PFA now null and void?

Attorney Answers 1


The police won't think so, if they're called! Only two things can make a PFA order null and void: expiring on its final date as identified in the order, or being vacated by a judge. Period.

The PFA plaintiff is in no trouble for violating the order, since it exists to protect *her* and not the defendant. This puts the defendant in a precarious situation, if he permits the contact. Even if the contact was consensual, even if the defendant might not be found guilty of Indirect Criminal Contempt after a hearing, that doesn't change the reality that the plaintiff can have the defendant arrested and jailed (pending hearing) on the strength of a telephone call. I know of a case in which a defendant sent flowers to his former girlfriend (the PFA plaintiff), resulting in his arrest. Take PFAs seriously.

While I recognize that not all PFA situations are created equal, without knowing more of the facts the best advice I can offer a PFA defendant who is willing to allow the contact you describe without first going back to court to revisit the order, is "If you *must* proceed, proceed with caution." Consider the duplicity inherent in the actions of a PFA plaintiff who is comfortable enough to initiate contact with the one she is supposed to be protected from, but who is unwilling to lift the PFA.

Sometimes, in a situation like this, a "middle ground" solution is available: both parties agree to modify the PFA by removing the no-contact provisions, while retaining the no-abuse provisions. If you decide to go this route, the reality remains that (1) you're playing with fire, (2) any modifications of the PFA *must* come from a judge, and (3) the PFA defendant would be well-advised to keep a copy of the modified order on his person at all times.

Attorney Michael B. Greenstein
Pittsburgh, PA

This response is offered for informational purposes only, does not create a lawyer/client relationship, and should not be taken as legal advice.

Mark as helpful