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Category Archives: Laws

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3 weeks ago Laws

How To Find The Best Legal Research Topic For You

You may think legal research is only essential to survive law school. However, polishing your research skills will put you on the path to a successful legal career.

Learning how to find a great legal research topic is the first step to write the best term papers in law school. This skill will come in handy when strategizing your cases or pursuing a post-graduate degree.

Want to learn how to polish your research skills? Here are the 4 steps you should follow to find the best legal topics to investigate.

1. Figure Out What Legal Issue You Want to Solve

While we all wish the legal system was perfect, the harsh reality is there’s room for improvement. When trying to figure out the best topic, you should take a look at current legal issues. Do you believe certain laws should change?

Maybe you have always wanted to learn more about how a mineral rights broker sells these rights. Focus on finding law school topics you’re passionate about. If you’re invested in the issue, it will be easier to investigate.

2. Search the Issue on Secondary Sources

Searching your topic on secondary sources is the best way to start your investigation. Treatises, legal encyclopedias, law reviews, legal dictionaries, and American Law Reports are examples of this type of sources.

Secondary sources will brief you on the legal concept and even point out the applicable primary authority sources. You may also use these sources in your thesis or term paper to persuade the reader.

3. Find the Applicable Primary Authority Sources

Cases of law, legislation, constitutions, and regulations are some examples of primary authority sources. No matter if you’re strategizing a case or writing a thesis, these sources are vital to defending your stance.

Make sure to cite these sources in your paper or case strategy. You must reference them even if your stance contradicts them. Keep in mind that you should stay away from topics you can’t find on primary and secondary sources.

4. Analyze and Apply the Controlling Law

Once you gather all your research, it’s time to start writing your paper or case strategy. Analyze all the applicable controlling law and state your stance.

You should also reference secondary sources to support your arguments. Focus on providing a realistic solution to the legal issue you chose.

Can You Find the Perfect Legal Research Topic?

No matter if you’re a law student or seasoned attorney, you can find the best legal research topic for your next thesis, term paper or case strategy. It all comes down to applying the best research strategy. Figuring out the issue you want to solve with your investigation is the first step.

Once you set your eye on a certain issue, it’s time to search for it on primary and secondary sources. The latter will provide an idea of where to find the applicable controlling law and primary authority.

After gathering all the applicable law, you must analyze it and apply it to the issue. At the end of your discussion, it’s vital to conclude stating your view on the legal issue and any suggested changes in the controlling law or its enforcement.

Did you find this article interesting? Check out the rest of our site for more insightful articles.

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3 weeks ago Laws

How To Find The Right Legal Representation For Your Case Needs

The number of lawyers in the US has increased 15% over the last decade, bringing the total 1.3 million.

If you’re in need of legal services, it may seem impossible to find the right one for the job. And you certainly don’t want to choose the first one you find!

When it comes to having a fair fight in court, the right legal representation can be the key to victory in your case. Keep reading to learn how to find the right lawyer for you.

Know Your Niche

Not all attorneys are created equal. Any good attorney will have established a law niche that they specialize in, an area where they consider themselves an expert.

For example, if you need an LGBT divorce attorney, you won’t want to enlist the help of an attorney who specializes in criminal proceedings.

Instead, figure out what kind of lawyer you need. Start by identifying the general law category of your needs, such as divorce proceedings. Then, narrow your case down by any specifics, such as an LGBT marriage or if the divorce involves custody arrangements.

Identifying these specifics before you begin your search will help you know the services you need.

Look at and Ask for Reviews

Once you’ve figured out what kind of attorney you need, it’s time to start your local search by looking at reviews.

First, do a simple internet search such as, ‘legal representation near me.’ Once you come across an attorney that piques your interest, look at their website for previous client reviews and testimonies. Also, look at their reviews on social media.

If you can’t find any, treat this as a warning sign.

If you feel comfortable talking about your legal situation, ask your friends, family, and coworkers for their recommendations. Even better, ask them if they know of any local lawyers you should avoid working with.

Interview the Final Prospects

After finding your niche and looking at reviews, you should have a solid list of attorney leads. Now it’s time to set up an interview with your final prospects to get to know them a little better.

Many experienced attorneys will offer free initial consultations. If an attorney wants a fee or a contract signed before meeting with you, they may not be a good match.

A few things to ask your attorney include:

  • What is your success rate?
  • Can you tell me about a case similar to mine that you’ve successfully represented?
  • How long do you expect my case to last?
  • Will I be working directly with your or a legal assistant?

Just use your best judgment during this step, always go with your gut.

Don’t Skimp on Legal Representation

Once you’ve interviewed legal representation options within your niche with good reviews, then it’s time to talk cost.

The biggest piece of advice we will leave you with is to never choose the cheapest option because of financial reasons. If you’re obtaining the services of an attorney, odds are the matter is important to you. If you find an attorney with good reviews who specializes in what you need, splurge on the expense — your future is worth it.

Need more advice before your legal battle ensues? Check out the blog section of this site for more informative articles like this one.

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3 weeks ago Criminal Law , Laws

Are You Facing Conspiracy Charges? Here Are 5 Thing You Need to Consider

Did you know that just planning a crime is a crime in itself? That’s right; you could face conspiracy charges for planning to commit a crime with somebody else.

These charges are a bit more complicated than the criminal charges we are all familiar with. If you’re facing conspiracy charges, the best thing you can do is talk with an experienced attorney.

Here are five things to consider about your conspiracy charges while you look for legal representation.

1. There Are Three Elements to Prove

For the prosecutor to successfully charge you with conspiracy, they must prove three elements.

  1. To conspire, there needs to be an agreement between at least two people.
  2. The people involved must agree to and intend to commit a criminal act.
  3. At least one person performed an overt act in furtherance of the agreed-upon crime.

While these elements may seem simple, there are several subtleties to them. For example, an overt act can be something as small as buying a tool that will help with a planned burglary.

2. You’re Charged with the Crime and the Conspiracy

When you face criminal charges, you’re charged with both the crime and the conspiracy to commit the crime. These are two separate charges with different elements to prove.

Prosecutors often use this strategy because it enables them to bring in more evidence that they wouldn’t normally get to introduce.

3. You Can Be Found Guilty Alone

While the elements of conspiracy require there to be more than one person, this doesn’t apply to those involved being found guilty. Just because your co-conspirators are found not guilty, doesn’t mean that you will be too.

You and your attorney need to prepare a solid defense even though others involved have been found not guilty.

4. You Don’t Need to Commit the Crime

It isn’t the successful completion of the crime that makes a conspiracy illegal. In fact, you don’t even need to do the crime to be charged with conspiracy.

5. You Need the Right Defense

For most crimes, a solid defense is claiming that you didn’t do it. But when it comes to conspiracy, this can be a difficult thing to prove.  You can click here to learn more about how the right team can help you create the most effective defense for your criminal conspiracy charges.

Three of the most common defense strategies are abandonment, withdrawal, and entrapment. These defenses may sound similar to the defenses or other crimes, but they are a bit more complicated for conspiracy.

To prove withdrawal, you need to show three things. You need to show that you took action to abandon the conspiracy.

That you communicated your abandonment to your co-conspirators in a timely manner. Finally, that you abandoned before the completion of the plan.

Defend Yourself Against Conspiracy Charges

If you’re currently facing conspiracy charges, the best thing you can do is seek experienced legal counsel. A knowledgeable lawyer will explain the legal process and the charges that you currently face. With their help, you’ll be able to craft an effective defense.

Be sure to subscribe to our blog to get legal tips and advice right to your inbox.

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3 weeks ago Laws

What Type of Restraining Order Do You Need?

If there is someone in your life that is threatening the safety of you, your family, or your workplace, a restraining order might be your only solution.

Restraining orders are ordered by the court and prevent a person from performing a specific action, which usually prohibits them from approaching or communicating with you.

If you need to file for a restraining order, it’s important to know which type of restraining order you need. Keep reading to learn about the different types of restraining orders, so you can move forward with the process and stay safe.

Civil Restraining Order

Civil restraining orders involve general harassment, issues with neighbors, and other civil issues.

If someone you know (not a family member) threatens you with violence or acts violently towards you, filing for a civil restraining order is your course of action.

If you need to file a restraining order against a roommate, it’s important to note that this restraining order does not force them to move out. You’ll have to complete the eviction process before they are forced to leave the residence.

Oftentimes, the person you are filing the restraining order against may want to defend themselves in court. If that’s the case, you’ll definitely want a lawyer by your side. Learn more here about how a lawyer can benefit you in this process.

Workplace Violence Restraining Order

Do you have an employee that has threatened you or your employees with violence, or has even acted violently in the workplace?

If so, you’ll want to file for a workplace violence restraining order.

It’s important to note that only an employer can file for a workplace restraining order. These orders are generally filed if a current or past employee has acted violently or threatened violence to others in the office.

If you’re an employee in need of a restraining order against a fellow employee, you’ll need to file a civil dispute instead.

Family Restraining Order

Family restraining orders are common for those who are trying to escape an abusive partner. If your partner has harmed you pr threatened violence, you can file for a family restraining order to keep them away from you and prevent them from communicating with you.

You can also file a family restraining order against a sibling or a parent that has threatened or abused you.

Dependent Adult/Elder Abuse Restraining Order

This type of restraining order applies to those who are over the age of 65 or who are dependent adults. This population is often abused emotionally, physically, and financially due to age and status.

If someone is abusing you or someone you know due to their age or disability, filing for a dependent adult/elder abuse restraining order will prevent any future abuse, communication, or interaction.

So, Which Type of Restraining Order Do You Need?

Now that we’ve covered each type of restraining order, you should have a better understanding of which one you need. If you are still unsure about the restraining order process, it’s best to consult with an attorney who can help you navigate the court system.

Looking for more helpful legal advice? Check out the rest of our blog for some insightful articles!

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4 weeks ago Crimes , Laws

What Is Financial Crime? All of Your Biggest Questions Answered!

Have you lost money or property due to fraud? You have probably been a victim of financial crime.

But just what is a financial crime?

If you’re not a criminal lawyer or a crime-buster, you certainly know little about financial crimes. This means you can be a victim without knowing or you can even commit a financial crime accidentally and find yourself in trouble.

This is why it’s important to brush up your knowledge of financial crimes. Continue reading to learning more about this, including the different types of forms of financial crime.

What Is A Financial Crime?

By definition, financial crime is any crime committed against property. In this case, property can be anything from money in a bank account to a physical building.

The goal of most financial criminals is to gain monetary benefit. For instance, when a person manages to siphon money from your credit card or bank account, it’s usually because they want it for themselves.

Types/Forms of Financial Crime

There are several types of financial crime. Here’s a brief breakdown of the most common types.

Tax Fraud

Did you know about one in every six dollars owed in federal tax goes unpaid?

If you or your business doesn’t pay your taxes, you could be guilty of tax fraud or evasion.

There are a couple of ways this fraud can happen. If you underreport your income so that you owe less in federal taxes, for instance, the IRS won’t take long to discover your illegal activity. www.paystubs.net has an informative article on the consequences of using fake paystubs to manipulate your earnings.

Depending on how long a person commits fraud and the amount of money involved, they could face anything from hefty fines to time behind bars.

Money Laundering

Money laundering involves trying to make illegally obtained money appear legitimately obtained.

Here’s an illustration:

Let’s say person A robs a bank and steals $50,000. They manage to escape successfully. After a while, they decide to start a small business using the stolen funds as capital.

The business picks up and starts making sales. A takes this income and banks it in the business’ account. He/she then withdraws the money and uses it without a worry in the world.

This is a simple case of money laundering, but there are usually more complex ones involving a web of bank accounts across the globe.

Identity Theft

Identity theft happens when a person uses another person’s identification details to commit fraud, such as applying for credit or filing taxes. In 2017, over 14 million consumers in the United States were victims of identity theft.

Terrorist Financing

Terrorists and terrorist groups need money to fund their heinous acts. Anyone who provides financial support, monetary or otherwise, to these individuals groups commits a financial crime.

Understand Financial Crimes

Financial crime is a major issue in the United States and abroad. As a consumer, it’s important to understand these crimes and how they can affect you. Reading this article on “what is a financial crime” is a good place to start, but don’t stop here.

Keep reading our blog for more insights on financial crime and related laws.

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4 weeks ago Laws , Legal Fees

Serving Legal Papers on an Individual: Everything to Know

The United States racks up more than 40 million lawsuits every year. Frivolous or practical, people find a reason to remain in conflict with one another.

Sometimes, serving legal papers is the right route to resolving issues.

People go to court for many reasons; if you haven’t guessed it already, money is the number one motivator. But fighting broken contracts, protecting property, and recovering damages rank high on the list.

It’s unfortunate that the words of people are no longer their bond. But suing helps you protect yourself and your interests.

If you’re looking for the proper way to give someone legal notice, you need to read this to learn everything about serving legal papers.

Serving Legal Papers Start With the Right Process Server

There are certain upfront restrictions involved when you decide to serve someone legal papers. The first is age and responsibility.

You must be 18 years of age or older to serve someone.

The individual serving the notice cannot have a personal interest or stake in the case. Meaning, by law, they cannot be the petitioner or respondent. If you’re responsible for setting the case in motion, you don’t have the legal authority to serve.

However, a relative, coworker, or friend could serve in your place if the courts approve. They must meet all the required restrictions.

If this is your first time serving, you should lean towards securing professional help. Hire a process server. A process server does just that—serve legal documents to help set the process in motion.

They also provide evidence of served papers via an affidavit of service. This protects you from missing steps required by law in the serving process. Doing so could prolong it.

Knowing Who to Serve

Cases vary. In some instances, you may need to serve one individual, while in others, you’re required to serve multiple people.

Here’s how it works:

  • Suing one person – Serve one person
  • Suing multiple people – Serve each individual person
  • Suing a shady landlord – Serve the property owner
  • Suing a business – Serve a partner in the business
  • Suing a large corporation – Serve an officer
  • Suing your city – Serve your city’s clerk

Keep in mind: the respondent must reside in the same state you’re filing. But in some cases, there are exceptions; for example, if you’re suing your landlord but he or she lives outside of the state.

Timing and Location

Time is always a factor in legal proceedings. Make sure you know your state’s deadlines on serving papers.

A professional process server should deliver papers to your respondent within five to seven days. They don’t serve on Sundays, so keep this mind when you’re following your state’s regulations.

Time also depends on the accuracy of the location. You can’t serve papers if you don’t have a proper location for your respondent. Lock that down right away.

If you cannot secure a location for them, you must provide that information to a judge. A judge may require details of every date and address of each attempt to reach the respondent.

Serve Papers

Serving legal papers is usually a last resort. But sometimes, it’s the best way to resolve conflict.

Before you declare yourself a petitioner, secure a reliable server. Then follow through, according to your state’s guidelines.

Need more expert advice? Read more here to see how we can help you with your lifestyle situation.

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1 month ago Laws

Get Organized: The Best Law Practice Management Software

Did you know that there are over 1 million lawyers in the United States? With so many attorneys, the competition is pretty high.

One of the best ways to stand out from the competition is to stay organized. Have you been looking to streamline your law firm operations? You’re in the right place!

Keep reading to learn the best law practice management software available.

Best Law Practice Management Software

If you’re currently running a law firm, you’ll probably agree that it’s not the easiest task around. You have different things to keep in order, from court documents for multiple cases to managing different cases, as well to accounting.

Thanks to technology, you can streamline many of your job tasks and keep yourself and your firm in order.

Beyond Counsel

BeyondCounsel.io offers affordable monthly options based on your firm’s needs. Their goal is to bring order to any chaos your law firm might be experiencing at the moment. You also have the ability to create and produce documents that you need without frustration and headaches.

They help law firms that specialize in estate planning and truly work to make their lives easier and their firm run smoothly. Part of the “why” behind their company is to avoid lawyers from burning out and exhausting themselves.

AbacusNext

This legal practice management software is meant for solo legal practitioners or for small law firms. It’s a great option because it can be customized to fit your needs. No matter the specialty, it can be personalized.

Different things you can get organized with this option include legal workflow processing based on court rules, billing and invoicing, legal calendaring, and payroll processing.

MyCase

This software option offers a secure client portal to keep everything in order. You also have the ability to send messages to your staff or clients through different communication tools that are available.

A bonus is your clients can get assistance with using their portal if they need it, thanks to the certified consultants available through MyCase.

ProLaw

This software includes multiple things to keep you organized. You have court docketing, budgeting capability, time tracking, expense tracking, document assembly, and legal calendaring available to use. There’s also contingency analysis and disposition available, along with billing analysis and disposition.

You also have the option to add other modules if you need them. Extras you can add include electronic billing to making billing easier or Westlaw legal calendaring if you prefer.

Hello Organization

Once you find and choose the perfect law practice management software for your firm, you’ll be able to get everything organized and take some stress off your shoulders. You’ll be able to manage your client’s cases and access their records without wasting any time or searching through mountains of paperwork.

Don’t forget to bookmark our site to never miss any of our latest posts to help you with all things legal!

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Are monopolies lawful? Can you combat them in court?

In this heightened age of capitalism, it’s easy to believe that everything is based on competition and that there’s no limit of what an individual or a small company can achieve as long as they can provide value to the market.

But what exactly is the value? How do we measure it? Through the pricing? The number of problems solved? Or through just sheer emotion and the way we feel after using a specific product or service?

The thing is that value is a very subjective thing, it doesn’t really have a universal explanation and can’t be measured based on pure logic. It needs to take the subjective impact it has on its consumers. Only after that can it be taken into account and compared to the rest of the world in a sense.

But no matter what type of product is created nowadays, we always hear a large tech or other corporation mimic it and “monopolize” it. Take for example the search engine “industry”. No matter how much any new service may try to enter the market, they will be met with a brick wall called Google.

Nobody is complaining that Google is the most used service right? But what if we look at the market share of this tech sector? Can you name a few search engines off the top of your head? Ok, Bing and DuckDuckGo, but those are slowly dying as we speak, and the companies that operate them don’t really believe in their success in the future, and neither do the few people that use them.

In this sense we can easily say that Google has a monopoly over the search engine sector, right? But does the government or a law firm have the capability, or the authority to challenge it? In a sense, yes, yes it does, but it will be quite hard to outline the clear signs of monopolies.

You see, a monopoly is defined not by how much market share a particular brand holds in a specific segment, but how much they try and disrupt competition.

One example that we have about just pure, blatant monopoly is Regular Oil way back in the past. The company was purposely lowering their prices to a point where they were losing money, as long as they could limit that income for new competitors.

It’s not like Google is lowering its prices or anything, right? Well, because it doesn’t have anything to sell on a B2C basis, it’s more B2B.

However, on that B2B basis, it does indeed have the opportunity to offer the best deals should it decide to. You see, the competition that Google has right now is not “alarming for them, meaning that they don’t have to worry about lowering prices or disrupting the competition in any way. This is why no lawyer or government can challenge them in terms of antitrust law.

But as soon as a new search engine appears that does indeed offer a lot of competition and prices move, it may be perceived as a method for disrupting the competitor’s business, and can be tried in court. 

This is a very basic explanation of how one can just spot a monopoly. Combatting one is a completely different topic, and is usually the government’s job.

What if the government owns the monopoly?

Combatting a privatized monopoly in the 21st century is not a hard process, as in most cases lawyers from the individual are not required. The only thing that can be done is the supply of information to relevant agencies such as the DOJ in the United States, which will then take care of the issue.

But what can one do when the government itself is the owner of the monopoly? Do they have the right to it? Well, they are the law, so why wouldn’t they, right? No, not really.

In most cases, one may believe that governments own monopolies in manufacturing industries. Things such as natural resources, consumer goods, etc. But in some countries, governments even control several service segments.

One example of a government-held monopoly is in Finland, of all places, and most of the Nordic countries as well.

The governments in these countries refuse to privatize the gaming sector, thus narrowing it down to one or two companies that are SOEs( State Owned Enterprises).

How does one combat this?

Well, for one, it needs to be decided if the monopoly is unlawful in the sense that, the end customer is getting much less value than he or she is paying for.

In the case of government-held monopolies, this is rarely the case, as the government is usually not oriented on profit as much as a private company would be.

But the Nordics are a completely different example as they monopolize the gaming industry to “get rid of it”.

But, we all know that getting rid of an industry is impossible simply through limiting its supply. The only thing that can be done through this just decreases the number of people that openly use the product, while in reality, the number remains the same as people find “illegal” means to access the product.

This is exactly the case in Northern Europe, according to Сasinopånett website, a local gaming news outlet.

Experts from the outlet say that people use untraceable currencies in order to surpass the country’s firewall, and access online methods of gaming as local, monopolized services are simply too taxing. This means that by decreasing the value of the product, the government is hoping to remove the sector completely when in reality, they are subjecting their users to even more risk than a privatized company would.

The only way to combat these monopolies is through sheer democracy, and the folks in Finland have already started.

If you want a very detailed explanation of the process, you can follow this link and see the outlet’s report. But, in short, it’s just the beginning of the process.

First is the task of determining that it’s an issue, which means surveys on surveys. Once the surveys show a majority recognizing it as a current or potential problem, it could be used as data to draft a bill in parliament. Naturally, though, it will have to be done through an opposition party, as the majority would never back such a thing.

Once the bill is drafted, it needs to be promoted across the nation, to a point where a referendum will have to be held for its approval. At that moment, the citizens have much more power than the lawmakers, therefore potentially making them into lawmakers.

This is the most democratic way of achieving justice, but it most certainly isn’t an easy way.

Therefore, if you are an owner of a small business, and find yourself at a disadvantage from a monopoly, make sure you identify it first before you draft a complaint to the government.

If it is a government-held monopoly, however, it’s best to inform research firms about it, or hire lawyers that are experts in antitrust law. Popularising the problem is the only way through that mess at this point in time.

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1 month ago Laws

Attorney Funding: A Brief Guide to the Fundamentals

A lawyer knows that growing his or her business in the law industry is quite tricky without the proper financial stability. The expenses are always too high, and it takes years to get the payouts for the settlements. Attorney funding, also popularly called the law firm loan or the lawyer funding, will help your law firm to keep going as the case gets solved. This financial arrangement helps your attorney firm to grow and get the best benefits in the future as well. This financing is provided by the lawyers, and for lawyers, to have access to capital, helpful to run law firm.

This legal funding will help the attorneys to run their operations smoothly, as it becomes difficult in some situations to continue without proper funding.

The attorney funding is made as per the needs of attorney to fit their capital needs and budget. Various companies offer legal funding solutions to help the law firms to get access to capital so that they can build more cases without waiting for the current one to resolve or settle. There are various types of law funding options available in the market as like the voucher funding, cost financing, attorney law of credit, and many more.

Difference between the law firm funding and traditional funding

Several law firms still approach local or national financial institutions for capital. These banks will give the business loan or the Line of credit (LOC). But, the problem with traditional banking is two-folded. They do not consider the intricacies that are involved in the legal practice, and they do not offer enough funds that are required.

Besides, if your law firm is not having good terms with the bank, you have to guarantee the finances personally. This means that you have to risk the capital you have earned to help to secure money. But, several reputed funding providers provide the law firm loan depending upon the current case portfolio of the attorney. The funding agreements are non-recourse, and thus, you do not have to be the guarantee of the money.

Why should you apply for legal law funding?

The law firm funding or attorney funding is very important for capitalizing the costs that are associated with legal cases. This law funding is crucial for those who are involved in complicated legal settlements that are difficult to resolve. The attorney funding will help you as the lawyer to get sufficient cash so that you can produce the strongest arguments for the clients, studies, and can make the required expenses.

The legal law firm funding is made keeping in mind the requirement of the customers. The professionals understand the time delay in case of acquiring traditional loans. Thus, they provide the attorney funding that is much more favorable and time saving for the clients. The loan approval process is quite easy and once the loan gets approved, the law firm funding provider will receive some amount of the future receivable and will provide the cash or LOC (Line of credit). The providers will give the funds as soon as possible without any delay.

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1 month ago Laws

Can You Challenge or Appeal a Restraining Order in PA?

Yes. If a restraining order has been entered against you in Pennsylvania, there is something you can do about it. Let’s review the types of restraining orders in Pennsylvania.

Types of Restraining Orders in Pennsylvania

Protection from Abuse Order

Depending on what you have been accused of, there are a variety of protective orders a judge could issue against you. The most commonly issued protective order is a Protection from Abuse (PFA) order. 

PFA orders can only be issued when there is a domestic relationship between the alleged victim and abuser. These orders follow two stages:

  1. A Temporary Protection Order (TPO) goes into effect when someone formally accuses you of domestic violence and asks a court for protection. It only lasts 10 days or until a hearing is held to decide if the order is legally justified.
  2. A Final Protection Order (FPO) takes effect after a judge hears the arguments for and against a restraining order and rules to issue one. This order initially lasts three years but can be extended indefinitely in three-year increments at a judge’s discretion.

What is the difference between a PFA and a Restraining Order?

“Restraining order” is just a generic term for a variety of court orders forbidding contact with an alleged victim of stalking, domestic violence, sexual assault, and similar crimes. 

In Pennsylvania, a PFA order is a specific type of restraining order. PFA stands for protection from abuse and these orders only apply when there is a domestic relationship between the victim and offender, such as husband/wife or child/parent.

There are three types of restraining orders in Pennsylvania:

  • Protection from Abuse Order
  • Sexual Violence Protection Order
  • Protection from Intimidation Order

Does a restraining order go on your criminal record?

Restraining orders are not criminal convictions. They are civil orders, and like other family law matters, the specifics of the complaint are not easily accessible to the public. 

There is a central database available to Pennsylvania courts and Law Enforcement that lists active restraining orders, but the order itself will not appear in simple background checks or criminal history checks. 

If you hold or are applying for a job with a federal agency (Department of Defense, FBI, DEA, etc) that requires a security clearance, the restraining order will be seen and could result in a revocation or denial of security clearance in certain circumstances. 

Other possible negative consequences of a restraining order are:

  • Lost child custody rights
  • Loss of professional licensing
  • Loss of firearm rights
  • Criminal charges, if you violate a restraining order

How Can You Challenge a PFA Restraining Order in PA?

First, Defend Against the Entry of a Final PFA Order

Your first course of action is to appear at the hearing when it is scheduled in the Court of Common Pleas. The initial restraining order is only temporary (TPO) and the person seeking a restraining order against you must convince the judge to make it permanent. It is wise to retain an attorney to help you explain to the judge what happened if your version of events is different.

Statistics available at the PA Courts website indicate that after a TPO is entered:

  • 30% of the time, Plaintiff/Petitioner to fail to appear at the hearing – no FPO
  • 21% of the time, Plaintiff withdrew the petition – no FPO
  • 20% of the time, the parties come to an agreement – no FPO
  • 6% of the time, the TPO is dismissed and no FPO is entered
  • 5% of the time, the judge does not enter an FPO after the hearing

When a TPO is entered, an FPO is thereafter entered about 18% of the time. An attorney will almost certainly improve your chances further.

Second, File a Motion for Reconsideration or an Appeal

If the judge enters a final PFA and you believe that is an error, you have two options:

  • File a Motion for Reconsideration with the judge who entered it;
  • File an appeal with the Superior Court of PA

You need not file a Motion for Reconsideration prior to filing an appeal – you can appeal immediately if you wish.

Motion for Reconsideration of the FPO

A motion for reconsideration must be filed within 10 days from the entry of an FPO. In your motion you will argue that the judge made a mistake. If the judge denies your motion, you have the option of filing appeal.

Appeal the Entry of an FPO

An appeal of an FPO is made to the Superior Court of PA. A Notice of Appeal must be filed with the prothonotary of that court within 30 days of the entry of the FPO. A legal brief and other documents must also be filed according to the procedural rules of the court.  In your brief, you must argue to that court that the judge either made a mistake of law, a mistake of fact, or both.

Third, the FPO Expires in 3 years

The plaintiff has the option of filing a motion to renew the FPO. You will get notice of that and have another opportunity to argue against it.  You may prevail, and if you do not, you have the same options available to you as with the initial entry of the FPO.

About the Author

Veronica Baxter is a writer, blogger, and legal assistant operating out of the greater Philadelphia area. She frequently works for busy Philadelphia appeals attorney Todd Mosser, Esq.

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