62A05. Commencement of proceedings
(a) General rule.–An adult or emancipated minor may seek relief under this chapter for that person or any parent, adult household member or guardian ad litem may seek relief under this chapter on behalf of a minor child, or the guardian of the person of an adult who has been declared incapacitated under 20 Pa.C.S. Ch. 55 (relating to incapacitated persons) may seek relief on behalf of an incapacitated adult, by filing a petition with the court alleging the need for protection from the defendant with respect to sexual violence or intimidation.
(a.1) False reports.–A person who knowingly gives false information to a law enforcement officer with intent to implicate another under this chapter commits an offense under 18 Pa.C.S. § 4906 (relating to false reports to law enforcement authorities).
(b) No prepayment of fees.–The petition shall be filed and service shall be made without the prepayment of fees.
(c) Assessment of fees and costs.–
(1)(i) No plaintiff seeking relief under this chapter shall be charged any fees or costs associated with the filing, issuance, registration or service of a petition, motion, complaint, order or any other filing. Prohibited fees or costs shall include, but are not limited to, those associated with modifying, withdrawing, dismissing or certifying copies of a petition, motion, complaint, order or any other filing, as well as any judicial surcharge or computer system fee.
(ii) No plaintiff seeking relief under this chapter shall be charged any fees or costs associated with filing a motion for reconsideration or an appeal from any order or action taken under this chapter.
(2) When an order is granted under this chapter, fees and costs shall be assessed against the defendant. The court shall waive fees and costs upon a showing of good cause or when the court makes a finding that the defendant is not able to pay the fees and costs.
(3) Nothing in this section is intended to expand or diminish the court’s authority to enter an order under Pa.R.C.P. No. 1023.1 (relating to Scope. Signing of Documents. Representations to the Court. Violation.).
(c.1) Surcharge on order.–When an order is granted under section 62A06 (relating to hearings), a surcharge of $100 shall be assessed against the defendant. All moneys received from surcharges shall be distributed in the following order of priority:
(1) Twenty-five dollars shall be forwarded to the Commonwealth and shall be used by the Pennsylvania State Police to establish and maintain the Statewide registry of protection orders provided for in section 62A04(c) (relating to responsibilities of law enforcement agencies).
(2) Fifty dollars shall be retained by the county and shall be used to carry out the provisions of this chapter as follows:
(i) Twenty-five dollars shall be used by the sheriff.
(ii) Twenty-five dollars shall be used by the court.
(3) Twenty-five dollars shall be forwarded to the Department of Public Welfare1 for use for victims of sexual assault in accordance with the provisions of section 2333 of the act of April 9, 1929 (P.L. 177, No. 175),2 known as The Administrative Code of 1929.
(4) The surcharge allocated under paragraphs (1) and (3) shall be used to supplement and not to supplant any other source of funds received for the purpose of carrying out the provisions of this chapter.
(1) The court shall adopt a means of prompt and effective service. If the court so orders, the sheriff or another court-designated agency or individual shall serve the petition and protection order. Under no circumstances shall the plaintiff be obligated to serve the petition or protection order.
(2) The petition and order shall be served upon the defendant.
(3) Within two business days, the order shall be served upon the police department, sheriff and district attorney in the jurisdiction where the order was entered.
(4) A certified copy of the order shall be issued to the plaintiff.
(5) In the case of a minor victim of sexual violence, a copy of the petition and order shall be served upon the county agency and the Department of Public Welfare. For purposes of this subparagraph, the term “county agency” shall be as defined in 23 Pa.C.S. § 6303 (relating to definitions).
(6) A copy of the order shall be issued as otherwise ordered by the court or hearing officer.
(7) Failure to serve the police department, sheriff or district attorney’s office shall not stay the effect of a valid order.
(e) Assistance and advice to plaintiff.–The courts and hearing officers shall:
(1) Provide simplified forms and clerical assistance in English and Spanish to help with the writing and filing of the petition for an order for an individual not represented by counsel.
(2) Provide the plaintiff with written and oral referrals, in English and Spanish, to local sexual assault services in the case of sexual violence and to the local legal services office and to the county bar association’s lawyer referral service in the case of sexual violence or intimidation.
(f) Effect of departure and nonresidence.–The right of the plaintiff to relief under this chapter shall not be affected by the defendant’s absence from this Commonwealth or the defendant’s nonresidence in this Commonwealth, provided that the court has personal jurisdiction over the defendant in accordance with section 5322 (relating to bases of personal jurisdiction over persons outside this Commonwealth).