PERSONAL PROTECTION ORDERS
WHAT IS A PERSONAL PROTECTION ORDER?
A Personal Protection Order (PPO) is a Circuit Court injunctive order that helps protect victims of Family Violence, Dating Violence, or Stalking. A PPO is filed by a Petitioner against a Respondent to stop or restrain from:
contacting the Petitioner through any means (in person, by phone, by mail or e-mail, etc.)
entering the Petitioner’s residence property or work place
assaulting, attacking, beating, or wounding the Petitioner
harassing, stalking, or threatening the Petitioner
removing any minor children from where they live unless their removal is part of court-ordered visitation
interfering with the Petitioner’s efforts to remove the children or property
purchasing or possessing a firearm
HOW IS A PPO DIFFERENT FROM A “NO CONTACT” BOND CONDITION?
A “no-contact” bond condition is imposed on a defendant during a pending criminal charge. A restraining order (including a PPO) is a civil action between citizens.
A “no-contact” bond condition means that a defendant can not call, write, have a third party contact, or themselves physically contact the victim or any other party with whom the judge orders the defendant to have “no contact”. It is generally placed on the bond of a defendant charged with a violent or assaultive crime who is released from jail while the charge is pending. Like all other bond conditions (e.g., not violating criminal laws, not leaving the state, appearing at future court proceedings, etc.), any violation could cause the judge to raise or revoke the bond, in which case the defendant would remain in jail until the case is finished. A judge has the discretion to issue (or not issue) any bond condition, as they see fit. A “no-contact” condition stays in effect for the entire duration of the criminal case, or until the victim requests that it be removed or “lifted” (with the judge’s approval). A “no-contact” provision can also be imposed as part of a sentence.
WHO CAN GET A PPO?
Anyone who has been physically, emotionally, or sexually abused by a current or former spouse, a family member, a domestic partner, the other parent of your child, a current or former roommate, or a current or former person in a dating relationship. (This is called a “domestic PPO”.)
Anyone who has been stalked – repeatedly harassed to the point of being terrorized, intimidated, or threatened. (This is called a stalking PPO.)
CAN A PPO BE ISSUED FOR A MINOR?
Yes and No. A minor cannot get the PPO in his or her own name. An adult must be appointed by the court as a “Next Friend” for a minor under 17 years of age (or a legal incapacitated person). An unemancipated minor cannot get a PPO against their parent(s).
CAN A PPO BE ISSUED AGAINST A MINOR?
Yes and No. Michigan now allows PPOs to be issued against a minor – someone under 18 years old. But a parent cannot get a PPO issued against his/her own unemancipated minor child. Don’t forget: many of the same “no contact” protections that you can receive through a PPO can be added as bond or probation conditions if the minor is prosecuted for assaultive, destructive, harassing or stalking behavior.
GETTING YOUR PPO
WHERE CAN I GET A PPO?
A “do-it-yourself” PPO packet, containing instructions and all necessary forms, is available at your local Circuit Court Clerks Office.
By using the “do-it-yourself” Personal Protection Order, YOU ARE CHOOSING TO REPRESENT YOURSELF IN A LAWSUIT. You have involved the Court, so YOU MUST FOLLOW THE COURT’S RULES! If you miss one of the required steps, the Order you get from the Court could be ineffective and you could remain unprotected.
CAN I GET A PPO RIGHT AWAY, OR DO I HAVE TO WAIT FOR A HEARING?
If you are in immediate danger, you may request an ex-parte order, which will take effect immediately without a hearing upon the judge’s signature and without advanced notice to the other party. It may take up to 2 1/2 hours to complete the petition. If you want an ex-parte order, you must convince the judge with SPECIFIC facts contained in your motion that you are in danger of immediate and irreparable injury, harm, or damage (injury that cannot be repaired by a court order after the injury happens) if the PPO is not issued. Ex-parte PPOs do not require a court hearing, unless the defendant requests a hearing to modify or terminate the order. If a hearing is requested, both parties must be present.
“Non-emergency” PPOs will require a hearing in front of the circuit court judge before the PPO will be issued. At this hearing, the judge will listen to testimony by witnesses regarding what has happened that necessitates a PPO.
WHAT FACTS DO I HAVE TO INCLUDE IN THE PAPERS?
The facts that you include in the PPO application are the most important part. It may take a couple hours to complete the application. You may want to consider picking up the PPO packet and taking it somewhere safe to fill it in. Tell the Judge what your relationship is with the Respondent. Tell the Judge what has happened recently that has caused you to need a PPO…in short, why you need to be protected. The forms give you very little room to include facts, but you can attach additional pages. Include detailed facts to support your need for a protection order, like dates, times, locations, witnesses and details.
YOU MUST ADVISE THE COURT IF THE PERSON YOU ARE TRYING TO RESTRAIN IS A LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER OR PERSON WHO MUST CARRY A WEAPON AS A CONDITION OF EMPLOYMENT! CHECK THE APPROPRIATE BOX IN THE PPO PETITION FORM.
WHAT INFORMATION AND DOCUMENTS SHOULD I BRING WHEN I FILE THE PPO?
If you can support the facts with evidence, do it! Attach:
information or documents that support the facts – police reports, medical records, reports from social agencies, photographs of injuries, affidavits or notarized written statements from witnesses to the events you describe in your motion, etc.
court documents – complaint for divorce, annulment or separate maintenance papers, divorce decree, custody orders, lease agreement, etc. The PPO is not an alternative to eviction proceeding.
descriptive information about the person to be restrained, such as name, home address, place of employment, date of birth, Social Security number, driver’s license number, and physical description (hair color, eye color, height, weight, tattoos, scars, etc.)
HOW MUCH DOES A PPO COST?
There is no filing fee for PPOs. However, the cost of serving a copy of the PPO on the restrained person (which is the Petitioner’s responsibility) may vary depending on who serves it.
Next week, How to defend against a PPO, Personal Protection Order if you are served one?
For questions or information pertaining to this article or PPO filing, feel free to contact us through this site or contact Mount Pleasant Michigan Lawyer, Todd Levitt at 989-772-6000