Domestic Violence Attorney

Facing domestic violence charges can be highly stressful and can disrupt your life significantly. The allegations can lead to legal consequences such as incarceration and fines. They can also affect your reputation and your right to maintain custody of your children. Knowing how to defend yourself against domestic violence allegations is challenging. An experienced Pennsylvania domestic violence attorney with a thorough knowledge of criminal and family law can help you understand your rights and options.

If you are the subject of a protection from abuse order or have recently been charged with domestic violence, the Pennsylvania domestic violence lawyers at SMT Legal understand the challenges you are facing. We have provided domestic abuse legal representation in Pennsylvania for many years, and we are ready to give you the support and advocacy you deserve. Call us today at (412) 819-2686 or contact us online for a free consultation to learn more about our domestic violence legal services.

About Domestic Violence Cases in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania law does not consider domestic violence a crime in itself. Rather, domestic violence describes a situation where an individual commits certain crimes against someone who is a member of their household or family. In such cases, the accuser can seek a protection from abuse (PFA) order against the accused. Those who are eligible to seek a PFA in such circumstances include:

  • Spouses or ex-spouses
  • Current and previous romantic partners
  • Those who have children together
  • Those who have cohabited
  • Parents
  • Children
  • Siblings
  • Other blood- or marriage-related family members

Domestic violence cases are all different, and the accuser involved in your case might be someone other than those on the list above. Regardless of their identity, you should seek assistance from a domestic violence lawyer who can fight for your rights and interests.

About Protection from Abuse Orders

A PFA is a restraining order prohibiting an accused abuser from seeking contact or communicating with the alleged victim. A court can grant a temporary PFA without any input from the alleged abuser. A hearing typically occurs within ten days, permitting both parties to testify and present evidence. At the end of this hearing, the judge will determine whether to issue a final PFA, which can be in effect for up to three years.

If the judge grants a PFA, you may be prevented from contacting the accuser as well as your children. The PFA may require you to leave your shared home and surrender your right to possess firearms. Violating a PFA can lead to charges of contempt of court. A conviction can result in up to six months in jail and fines of up to $1,000.

The experienced team at SMT Legal can represent you at your PFA hearing and help you understand the implications of the order for issues such as custody and financial support. We can also help you understand your options to move forward without the risk of violating your PFA.

Domestic Violence Charges We Can Help You Fight

If domestic violence is an aggravating factor in the following charges, you may face harsher penalties if you are convicted.
  • Simple assault – Attempt to cause or intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causing bodily injury to another
  • Aggravated assault – Attempt to cause serious bodily injury to another or causing injury with extreme indifference
  • Harassment – Actions taken with intent to harass, annoy, or alarm another person
  • Stalking – Repeated acts or communications causing fear of bodily injury or emotional distress
  • Sexual abuse – Charges including rape, sexual assault, statutory sexual assault, indecent assault, and aggravated indecent assault
  • Kidnapping – Unlawfully taking another person a substantial distance or confining them for a substantial period
  • False imprisonment – Knowingly restraining another person unlawfully in circumstances exposing them to the risk of severe bodily injury
  • Burglary – Entering an occupied structure with intent to commit a crime therein
  • Criminal trespassing – Entering or remaining in a place knowing one is not licensed or privileged to do so
  • Reckless endangerment – Recklessly engaging in conduct which places or may place another in danger of death or serious injury
Some of these crimes are felonies, and a conviction can lead to lengthy prison sentences. Working with our team can help you understand your legal options for defending yourself against these charges and overcoming any protection orders you may be subject to.

Penalties for Domestic Violence Crimes

Some crimes associated with domestic assault are classified as felonies, and others are classified as misdemeanors. The types of charges you face will depend on the specific crime you are charged with, as well as its severity. Conviction of a misdemeanor can lead to fines of up to $10,000 and jail sentences of up to five years. Felony convictions can carry fines of up to $25,000 and a prison sentence of up to 20 years. However, the penalties a court assigns are determined on an individual basis.

While the penalties for some crimes relating to domestic violence may be more severe than others, it is always essential to seek legal representation from an experienced criminal defense attorney.

How a Pennsylvania Domestic Violence Attorney Can Help

Domestic violence cases can be overwhelming, and it can feel challenging to know how best to handle facing accusations or charges. However, it is essential to remember that working with an experienced domestic violence attorney is the most effective way of overcoming these challenges. A seasoned attorney can help by:

Offering Knowledge of Pennsylvania Domestic Laws and Assault Statutes

A skilled lawyer will have a thorough knowledge of state laws associated with domestic violence cases, allowing them to help you understand your charges, the possible consequences, and how to overcome them. They will also understand the Pennsylvania court system.

Protecting Your Rights

Going through the process of a domestic violence case can be legally and logistically challenging. An effective lawyer will work to protect your rights, form a solid defense strategy, and fight to prevent you from incurring a more severe sentence than is appropriate or necessary.

Fighting False Allegations

Domestic violence accusations can sometimes be false or misplaced. Being the subject of such allegations can be frustrating, overwhelming, and terrifying. A skilled attorney can protect you and help you prove your innocence by collecting and presenting evidence that absolves you of responsibility for the charges.

Providing Support and Advocacy

Being accused of domestic violence can be among the most emotionally damaging experiences a person can endure. Working with a compassionate domestic violence attorney can help you find resources and connections to counseling services that can allow you to process the emotional trauma you might be experiencing. Your lawyer can also provide guidance on how to manage your emotions while the case is ongoing, allowing you to make clearer and more effective decisions.

Facing Domestic Violence Accusations? Call SMT Legal Today

The team at SMT Legal understands how challenging life can feel in the wake of a domestic violence accusation or charge. However, it is crucial to remember that, however difficult things feel right now, a knowledgeable attorney can help you understand your options. When you work with a dedicated member of our team, you can significantly improve your chances of a successful conclusion to your case. Call us today at (412) 765-3345 or contact us online to learn more about how our Pittsburgh domestic violence attorneys can help you.

ATTORNEY SPOTLIGHT

Thomas Sporrer Thomas Sporrer - SMT Legal Thomas Sporrer - SMT Legal
Thomas’s clients say of working with him that he was “very clear with his strategy of my case from the consultation to the court date.” Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Thomas enjoys helping his hometown community.

Practice Area

Pittsburgh Legal Blog