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Legal Information: Pennsylvania

Statutes: Pennsylvania

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December 14, 2023

6107. Hearings

(a) General rule.–Within ten business days of the filing of a petition under this chapter, a hearing shall be held before the court, at which the plaintiff must prove the allegation of abuse by a preponderance of the evidence. The court shall, at the time the defendant is given notice of the hearing, advise the defendant of the right to be represented by counsel, of the right to present evidence, of the right to compel attendance of witnesses, of the method by which witnesses may be compelled, of the possibility that any firearm, other weapon or ammunition owned and any firearm license possessed may be ordered temporarily relinquished, of the options for relinquishment of a firearm pursuant to this chapter, of the possibility that Federal or State law may prohibit the possession of firearms, including an explanation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(8) (relating to unlawful acts) and 18 Pa.C.S. § 6105 (relating to persons not to possess, use, manufacture, control, sell or transfer firearms), and that any protection order granted by a court may be considered in any subsequent proceedings under this title. This notice shall be printed and delivered in a manner which easily attracts attention to its content and shall specify that child custody is one of the proceedings where prior protection orders may be considered.

(b) Temporary orders.–

(1) If a plaintiff petitions for temporary order for protection from abuse and alleges immediate and present danger of abuse to the plaintiff or minor children, the court shall conduct an ex parte proceeding.

(2) The court may enter such a temporary order as it deems necessary to protect the plaintiff or minor children when it finds they are in immediate and present danger of abuse. The order shall remain in effect until modified or terminated by the court after notice and hearing.

(3) In addition to any other relief, the court may, pursuant to section 6108 (relating to relief), direct that the defendant temporarily relinquish to the sheriff any firearms, other weapons or ammunition for the duration of the temporary order if the petition demonstrates any of the following:

(i) Abuse which involves a firearm or other weapon.

(ii) An immediate and present danger of abuse. In determining whether an immediate and present danger of abuse exists, the court shall consider a number of factors, including, but not limited to:

(A) Whether the temporary order of protection from abuse is not likely to achieve its purpose in the absence of such a condition.

(B) Whether the defendant has previously violated a protection from abuse order.

(C) Whether past or present abuse to the plaintiff or any of the plaintiff’s minor children resulted in injury.

(D) Whether the abuse occurred in public.

(E) Whether the abuse includes:

(I) threats of abuse or suicide;

(II) killing or threatening to kill pets;

(III) an escalation of violence;

(IV) stalking or obsessive behavior;

(V) sexual violence; or

(VI) drug or excessive alcohol use.

(4) If the court orders the defendant to temporarily relinquish any firearm, other weapon or ammunition pursuant to paragraph (3), the defendant shall decide in what manner the defendant is going to relinquish any firearm, other weapon or ammunition listed in the order. Relinquishment may be to the sheriff pursuant to section 6108(a)(7) or to a third party for safekeeping pursuant to section 6108.3 (relating to relinquishment to third party for safekeeping).

(c) Continued hearings.–

(1) If a hearing under subsection (a) is continued and no temporary order is issued, the court may make ex parte temporary orders under subsection (b) as it deems necessary.

(2) If a hearing is scheduled to take place within three business days after a defendant is served under section 6106 (relating to commencement of proceedings), the court shall grant a continuance until the three-business-day period has elapsed, if requested by the defendant.

(3) The court shall notify the defendant of the right to such continuance.