Fifth Judicial District of Pennsylvania
County of Allegheny
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 arraignment.

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.

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Family Division - PFA Department
440 Ross Street, Suite 3030
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
412.350.6489 fax
directions by Google maps
Hours of Operation
Monday through Friday
8:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.
Protection from Abuse (PFA) Intake Hours
8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.