Domestic violence ruins lives and tears families apart. Not only will your life be turned upside down, but you face years in jail, hefty fines, and a black mark on your record — all for what could have been a misunderstanding. When you are facing domestic violence accusations, it’s essential to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to protect your rights.
For more than 50 years, the domestic violence defense attorneys at Mazzoni Karam Petorak & Valvano have been protecting the rights of individuals throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania. We understand how domestic violence can affect your future, and we will work hard to get your voice heard in a court of law.
Domestic Violence Charges in PA: What You Should Know
Domestic violence is defined as causing harm or threatening to cause damage to either a family member – such as a spouse, an intimate partner, or children – or someone who shares a living space. It is usually paired with the following charges:
- Simple and aggravated assault
- Rape or sexual assault
- False imprisonment
In recent years, Pennsylvania has stepped up its efforts to reduce domestic violence in the state. For example — in late 2018, Governor Tom Wolf signed a law that requires those accused or convicted of domestic violence to turn over their guns and ammunition within 24 hours of receiving either a Protection from Abuse Order (PFA) or sentence.
If the alleged victim calls the police about a domestic violence incident, the responding officers are required by law to make an arrest. The arrest is based solely on the alleged victim’s accusations and if they observe either physical injury or find evidence of abuse.
Penalties for Domestic Violence Arrest
Being arrested for domestic violence can severely damage your reputation and your life. Even if the alleged victim tries to rescind his/her allegations, the court usually does not dismiss charges.
If you are found guilty of domestic violence, you could face a prison sentence, hefty fines, counseling, and anger management course. You’ll lose the right to own a firearm and be placed under a PFA for up to three years. You will be unable to contact or go near the alleged victim and a PFA violation could lead to an arrest and jail time.
It can also hurt your relationships with your family and friends. A domestic violence charge can negatively affect the outcome of a divorce and child custody arrangements. It can also seriously affect your employment. For example, if you work as an educator or a health professional, you may be facing a loss of your license following an arrest.
Defenses to Domestic Violence Accusations
If you have been accused of domestic violence in Pennsylvania, know there are ways to build a strong defense.
Some of the most common defenses to domestic violence, which we can explore for your case, include:
- Lack of knowledge
- Lack of intent
- Violence or threat of violence did not occur
How Our NEPA Domestic Violence Defense Attorneys Can Help
Our criminal defense lawyers have a proven track record of getting the results our clients need. We have a comprehensive understanding of Pennsylvania’s legal system and are well-versed in state and federal laws. Our legal team includes a former two-term district attorney for Lackawanna County, former chief public defender for Lackawanna County, and former assistant city solicitor for the City of Scranton. There’s no substitute for such experience. There’s no substitute for success.
In case after case, we consistently obtain favorable outcomes for our domestic violence defense clients. We understand the seriousness of any criminal charge, especially one that’s made by false accusations. That’s why we work tirelessly on every single case we handle. We promise to do the same for you. We will aggressively investigate your case and search for the evidence you need to achieve the result you deserve.
If you are facing charges of domestic violence in Lackawanna, Luzerne, Wayne, or Pike Counties, now is the time to act. Contact the Northeastern Pennsylvania domestic violence attorneys at Mazzoni Karam Petorak & Valvano today for more information.