On April 1, 2019, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court enacted new rules affecting firearm possession by defendants in Protection from Abuse Cases. Previously, a defendant could relinquish firearms to family or friends to comply with Protection from Abuse orders. Now, a defendant in a Pennsylvania Protection from Abuse hearing is required to relinquish firearms to local law enforcement. Family and friends can no longer hold firearms for a defendant. Instead, local law enforcement must keep the defendant’s firearms. Under the new rules, if a defendant fails to relinquish firearms pursuant to a Protection from Abuse Order, the defendant will charged with a second degree misdemeanor. Additionally, a third party can be charged under the rules for giving firearms to a defendant in a Protection from Abuse case.
Other changes require the Court to grant a defendant in a Protection from Abuse case a continuance in the event the hearing is scheduled within three (3) days of service of the summons to appear. Also, a plaintiff can request an extension of a Protection from Abuse Order without new showings of abuse if the defendant has been released from jail within the last ninety (90) days or will be released from jail within the next ninety (90) days. And a plaintiff must be notified in the event a defendant requests their firearms back at the expiration of a Protection from Abuse Order.
If you are facing a Pennsylvania Protection Abuse hearing and are located in Washington, Allegheny, Westmoreland, Greene, or Butler Counties, contact the Pennsylvania family attorneys at Dodaro, Matta, & Cambest, P.C. today at