Can I file a petition on my own? Do I need a lawyer?
You do not need a lawyer to file a sexual violence or intimidation protection order – you can file on your own. However, you may wish to have a lawyer represent you on the case, especially if the abuser has a lawyer. If you can, contact a lawyer to make sure that your legal rights are protected. If you cannot afford a lawyer but want one to help you with your case, you can find information on legal assistance on the PA Finding a Lawyer page.
The court staff will provide you with basic forms to help you file for your restraining order and will assist you in English and Spanish with filing for an order if you do not have a lawyer. The court staff will also give you contact information in English and Spanish for local sexual assault services, legal services, and bar associations to find a lawyer.1
1 42 Pa.C.S. § 62A05(e)(1),(2)
If you are going to be in court without a lawyer, our Preparing for Court – By Yourself section may be useful to you.