Personal Protection Orders
Personal protection orders are no laughing matter. Depending upon the relationship and the severity of the restrictions, personal protection orders (or PPOs) can seriously impact your freedom to travel, work, congregate, and simply be in the company of family and friends. In many cases, protection orders can be granted against you (or for you) without a hearing – called ex parte orders – if the threat to your or another’s safety is imminent. That is, without you even knowing about it, a court in Michigan can issue a personal protection order against you.
What is a PPO and How Does It Work?
Michigan law classifies personal protection orders in two ways: domestic and non-domestic. While the restrictions the court may impose are approximately the same, the two types of PPOs are distinguished by the nature of the parties’ relationship. A domestic PPO applies to those parties who are spouses, former spouses, who share a child in common, or who have been or currently are in a dating relationship. A non-domestic PPO applies in all other situations.
In order to obtain a PPO, an individual – or petitioner – must complete a form with the local county clerk’s office detailing the nature of the threats, harms, and/or harassment another individual – or respondent – has exhibited against them. They must describe how the respondent’s behavior has made them feel (e.g. scared, afraid, fearful, etc.) and how it has affected them (e.g. lost time at work, difficulty sleeping, changes in routine, etc.). Then they must ask the court – from a checklist of options – for the types of restraints they would like imposed against the respondent to ensure their safety. These can include restraints:
- From entering onto certain premises
- From assaulting, attacking, beating, molesting, or wounding a person
- From threatening to kill or physically injure a person
- From purchasing or possessing a firearm
- From interfering at a person’s place of employment
- From confronting a person on public or private property
- From following or appearing within the sight of a person
If a judge finds a person’s claims to be credible, he or she may grant the petition ex parte (without a hearing) and order the respondent to be served with a copy of the PPO. The judge can also order a hearing to be held. The same procedure roughly applies to extensions, terminations, and/or modifications of existing personal protection orders. All of these forms are available for free on the Michigan State Court Administrative Office website.
The Bottom Line
Whether a PPO has been issued against you – or someone has moved to terminate your PPO – you have a right to a hearing before a judge to explain why there should (or shouldn’t) be a PPO in place and to submit evidence in your case. These hearings are held in circuit court and legal representation is essential! Judges have a great deal of discretion when it comes to granting, terminating, extending or modifying personal protection orders. Don’t take a chance on your freedoms and civil liberties by trying to represent yourself in these cases. Consult an attorney today. Your window to act may be closing fast.
The attorneys at the Peter J. Johnson Law Office, PLLC see dozens of PPO cases each year – sometimes once or twice a week – and represent clients in circuit court hearings on a regular basis. We know what it takes to beat (or defend) a personal protection order, how to prepare for your hearing, how to draft effective pleadings to argue your case, and how to prepare you to testify before the judge. PPOs are a very serious matter that, in some cases, can restrict your ability to see your children, where you can live, and whether or not you can keep or find a job. It’s no laughing matter – and nothing to be ashamed of.
Contact the Peter J. Johnson Law Office today for your free consultation – over the phone or in our office – to discuss your PPO matter. If you don’t reach an attorney when you call, we guarantee a call back within 24 hours. How many attorneys do you know who can make that kind of promise these days? Call today.
 While an ex parte personal protection order may be granted based on a petition, the respondent – or party against whom the PPO has been issued – still has the right to a hearing to dispute the allegations of the petition. The order, however, remains in effect unless and until a judge dismisses it.
 MCL 600.2950
 MCL 600.2950a