In a domestic violence case, Pennsylvania law may call for the victim to be given a protective order. In many cases, the protective order forbids an abuser from coming within a certain distance of the victim for a predetermined amount of time. An emergency order may expire within a day while a general order may last for up to 18 months. However, an order may be extended indefinitely if necessary.
To apply for a protective order, a person must be an adult or an emancipated minor. Parents or guardians of a minor child may apply for a protective order on behalf of a child. If a child is the victim of abuse, a protective order may provide a parent with temporary custody. An abuser may also be required to give up his or her weapons and pay for any losses related to the abuse.
Those who violate an order may face up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. There may be a fee to petition for such an order, but it may be waived by a judge. If the fee is not waived, a judge may decide whether or not an individual can afford to pay. The order itself can be registered with law enforcement throughout the state at no cost.
If an adult is the victim of domestic abuse, he or she may be able to get an emergency protective order with or without an attorney. After an order is granted, it may be worthwhile to talk with legal counsel. This may make it possible to discuss ways for a parent to ask for sole custody of a child or terminate the rights of a parent who may have been abusive to another family member.