Personal Protection Order (PPO)
I am a personal protection order attorney serving all of Northern Michigan. A personal protection order (PPO) is a civil injunction designed to protect the petitioner. A PPO is also called a restraining order or a protective order. The Michigan statutes are MCL 600.2950 & MCL 600.2950a. The petitioner(the person seeking protection) completes a basic form and attaches a letter detailing all of the respondent’s abusive or stalking behavior. Because Personal Protection Orders include potential criminal behavior, the 13th Circuit Court acts quickly upon receipt of a petition for a protection order. Often, protection orders are signed ex parte, which means without a hearing or an opportunity for the respondent to contest the order. When a PPO is signed ex parte, the respondent has 14 days to request a hearing before a Judge. If the petitioner fails to request a hearing, the protection order will remain in effect for a year.
Terminating a Personal Protection Order
Terminating or fighting a personal protection order requires fast diligent work on behalf of the respondent. Quickly the respondent and their attorney must formulate a strategy to contest the petition. There isn’t a lot of time to prepare for a PPO hearing. At the hearing, the petitioner has the burden of persuasion. An attorney representing either a petitioner or respondent in a PPO hearing must have the trial experience to represent their client effectively. There is no formal discovery associated with PPO hearings. As a result, an attorney must be quick on their feet and able to advocate new strategies on the fly.
Reasons to Terminate a PPO
Ex Parte PPOs must be served on the respondent before the order is effective. With an Ex Parte PPO, the Judge signs the order without a hearing, and the protection found in the order takes effect upon the respondent as soon the paper is delivered to him or her. Once delivered, the respondent has 14 days to file a response, a motion to modify or terminate the PPO. If the respondent timely fills this motion, then the Court will hold a hearing and decide if the Ex Parte PPO will continue. So what happens after the initial 14 days? The Michigan Court Rules, MCR 3.707 outlines the law in this situation. After 14-days, the Respondent must show “good cause” to terminate the PPO.
Good Cause to Terminate PPO
1. A change of circumstances that conflicts with the respondent’s rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The respondent’s right to religious worship at the church of their choosing. The petitioner starts a new job across the street from the respondent’s church. The petitioner moves next door to the respondent’s place of employment. In these situations, there would be good reasons for a judge to modify a PPO to allow the respondent to enjoy his rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
2. A substantial change that renders the PPO unnecessary. One or more of the parties move out of town. An avid hunter values his or her right to go hunting. If the petitioner is gone, why keep the PPO and restrictions on firearms? Another example would be the respondent who falls ill with a terminal illness. In short, the respondent couldn’t hurt the petitioner if they wanted to.
3. Finally, the last general category would be an equity argument. In lawyer talk, we called this argument unclean hands. The classic example of this situation is where the petitioner, after motioning for the PPO, turns around and communicates with the respondent. The petitioner’s behavior is 100 percent inconsistent with the behavior of a victim.
There are three kinds of PPOs in Michigan: Domestic Relationships, Non-domestic (stalking), and Nondomestic Sexual Assault. Follow the link to find the SCAO forms for the three types of PPOs. It is important to plead the requirements for each type of PPO. A domestic relationship PPO requires facts to establish a relationship and either stalking behavior or past domestic violence. A Nondomestic PPO requires pled facts to establish stalking as defined by Michigan Law. The key component is a clear, unequivocal communication to the respondent that the petitioner doesn’t want any contact with the respondent ever again. I have drafted many letters indicating as much for my clients.
Ex Parte PPOs must be served on the respondent before the order is effective. With an Ex Parte PPO, the Judge signs the order without a hearing, and the protection found in the order takes effect upon the respondent as soon the paper is delivered to him or her. Once delivered, the respondent has 14 days to file a response, a motion to modify or terminate the PPO. If the respondent timely fills a motion to modify or terminate, then the Court will hold a hearing and decide if the Ex Parte PPO will continue. So what happens after the initial 14 days? The Michigan Court Rules, MCR 3.707 outlines the law in this situation. After 14-days, the Respondent must show “good cause” to terminate the PPO.
The Crazy Hearing and Why I am Good at it
Personal protection order hearings frequently involve outrageous allegations and high anxiety for the parties. Typically the Court schedule a hearing quickly, so there isn’t much time to prepare. Because PPO hearings produce anxiety for the parties, representation by an experienced litigation attorney increases the chances of a favorable outcome. I possess all of the qualities essential for representing clients at a PPO hearing because of my years of litigation experience in the 86th District Court. I am currently accepting clients who are either petitioners or respondents. Please do not hesitate to contact me for an appointment
I have helped many people prepare for and win a PPO hearing on very short notice.