Protection From Abuse (PFA) | PFA Violations- Indirect Criminal Contempt (ICC)
Arrests/Filing an ICC complaint/Issuance of ICC warrants: The police may arrest
a defendant without a warrant for violation of a PFA Order based on probable cause.
Probable cause may consist of the verification of a valid PFA Order and the credible
statement of the victim. Other corroborating evidence may be used in addition to
establish probable cause.
The police may also arrest a Defendant pursuant to an arrest warrant. A warrant
may be obtained during business hours from the Magisterial District Judge who has
jurisdiction or from Allegheny County Arraignment Court during evening, weekends
and court holidays. To obtain the warrant, either the victim or a police officer
must complete a "Complaint for Indirect Criminal Contempt.” If probable cause is
found, the Magisterial District Judge will execute an arrest warrant.
|Arraignment Court is located at:
||Municipal Courts Building
660 First Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
The police in the municipality where the Defendant is located should arrest the
Defendant pursuant to a warrant and proceed to the appropriate authority for an
ICC Arraignments/Bond/Hearing dates: When a Defendant is arrested,
s/he will be
arraigned on the charge of Indirect Criminal Contempt by the Magisterial District
Judge who has jurisdiction, or at Arraignment Court. The Defendant will be arraigned
on the charge(s), and bond and/or conditions will be set. A hearing will be scheduled
for the next available Wednesday at 9:00 a.m. in Family Division.
Notice of hearing date: The Plaintiff should receive notice of
the ICC hearing date by mail, or the police officer may notify the Plaintiff of
the hearing date and time. If the Plaintiff has not received notice soon after
the Defendant's arrest, the Plaintiff should call the PFA Department at (412) 350-4441
to confirm the hearing date. If the Plaintiff does not appear for the hearing
and notice cannot be verified, the Court will reschedule the hearing and mail notice
of the new hearing date to the Plaintiff.
ICC hearings: ICC hearings are scheduled on Wednesdays at 9:00
a.m. in Family Division. An Assistant District Attorney ("ADA") is present to review
the ICC complaint and determine whether the District Attorney's office will prosecute
the case. Plaintiffs may choose to be represented by private counsel. For cases
not prosecuted by the District Attorney's office, Plaintiffs may request a continuance
to apply for free representation through Neighborhood Legal Services or they may
proceed pro se. Cases prosecuted by the District Attorney's office will be scheduled
for a hearing before a judge in the Criminal Division. Cases not prosecuted by
the District Attorney's office will be scheduled for a hearing before a judge in
Family Division. Indigent Defendants may apply to the Public Defender’s Office
to request free legal representation.
It is advisable for Plaintiffs to bring any relevant evidence or witnesses with
them. The arresting officer is not required to appear at the hearing unless subpoenaed
to do so.
The burden of proof required in an ICC hearing is "proof beyond a reasonable doubt".
Punishment for violation of the PFA Order is a maximum of six months in jail or
a $1000 fine. PFA Orders may also be extended and/or modified through an ICC hearing.