A PFA is a Protection from Abuse Order. It is a civil order that provides protection from harm by family or household members, sexual or intimate partners or persons who you have a child in common with. Basically,it is a paper that is signed by a judge and tells the abuser to stop the abuse or face serious legal consequences. It offers civil legal protection from domestic violence to both female and male victims. Generally, they are issued on a temporary basis for a limited amount of time (around 2 weeks - 20 days) until a hearing can be set and a determination be made whether to make the PFA permanent (3 years).
Depending on the circumstances of the case, a PFA can
- Order the abuser not to abuse, harass, or stalk you, your relatives or your minor children;
- Order the abuser to be removed from the home where you both live and grant you possession of the home; Note: Under certain circumstances, if you are living in a home of which the abuser is the only owner or tenant, the judge can still remove the abuser from the home or, with your consent, order him to provide you with suitable alternate housing.
- Award temporary custody or temporary visitation rights of your minor children;
- Order the abuser to pay financial support (including medical bills, health insurance, rent or mortgage payments) to you or your children;
- Prohibit the abuser from having any contact with you or minor children, including staying away from your or your child's place of employment or business or school;
- Order the abuser to turn any of his firearms, other weapons, and ammunition to the sheriff or police, if he used them or threatened to use them during the abuse, and prohibit him from getting additional firearms;
- Order the abuser to pay you for reasonable losses resulting from the abuse (this may include the cost of medical/ dental care, relocation and moving expenses, attorney and counseling costs, as well as loss of earnings or support); and
Grant any other appropriate relief you request.
If a PFA order has been entered and it is alleged that the defendant has violated the PFA order, the alleged abuser could be arrested and incarcerated pending a contempt hearing on the charge of violating the order. Oftentimes, the alleged violation of the PFA order is on the basis of the victim's word without any physical evidence or other witnesses statements. A defendant in a PFA action should never, never make any contact by telephone, email, mail, text message, in person, through third parties or otherwise with the plaintiff in a PFA action. The defendant is strictly prohibited from all contact with the plaintiff even if the plaintiff requests that the defendant visits the plaintiff at the plaintiff's residence or requests that the defendant otherwise contacts the plaintiff.
If the judge finds that the PFA was violated, potential sanctions include up to 6 months in jail and a fine up to $1,000, though a judge has the liberty to impose one or the other, or both, as well as other sanctions them deep approriate.
Because it is a no-contact order, I believe it doesn't matter what county it was issued in, I think it's good throughout the state. However, I am not a Florida law, so I would strongly advise your son to seek the counsel of a local family law attorney who can advise him about the PFA and what he needs to do to address it.
Good luck to you. If you have any additional questions, please press the reply button, and I will be happy to assist you further.
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