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J.D. v. M.H. – PFA

My client retained me more than 2 years ago to defend him on a felony criminal charge where J.D. was the “victim”.  While defending the criminal charges, a PFA was brought against my client, M.H.  For tactical purposes, we decided not to contest the PFA and entered into an agreement for a consent order, which means there was no formal finding of abuse but the PFA would remain in effect for 2 years.

In August, my client was served with a notice of hearing for a LIFETIME extension of the PFA.  My client was beside himself as he wanted nothing to do with the “victim” and he just wanted to get on with his life.  My client retained me to defend him at the hearing.  We had a hearing on the merits and the judge agreed to extend the order for ONE YEAR ONLY with a condition that no further extensions could be sought by the “victim”.  The judge specifically ordered that my client be allowed to use and possess firearms and made no formal finding of abuse on the record.

PFA’s are tricky.  If the judge makes a formal finding of abuse, the client loses their gun privileges for life.  Often times, it’s in everyone’s best interests the PFA without a hearing.  Both parties have a lot to lose if the judge rules against one side or the other.  However, many times we have no choice but to go to hearing.  In those instances, we pursue a very aggressive line of questioning against the “victim” and use the transcripts for the defense of the criminal case.

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