The following are frequently asked questions about Personal Protection Orders (PPO's) in Macomb County.
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What is a Personal Protection Order (PPO)?
A Personal Protection Order ("PPO") is a Circuit Court injunctive order that protects victims of Family Violence, Dating Violence or Stalking. A PPO is filed by a Petitioner against a Respondent to stop or restrain the Respondent 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 her children or property
- purchasing or possessing a firearm
- interfering with or engaging in conduct that impairs Petitioner's employment or educational environment
- allowing a non-custodial parent from having access to Petitioner's home or work address or telephone numbers through a minor child's records
- any other specific act that interferes with the Petitioner's personal liberty or causes a reasonable fear of violence
A PPO Cannot:
- evict a person in a landlord/tenant relationship
- establish custody or parenting time
- protect personal property from damage
- mediate neighbor disputes
- stop a person from being rude or spreading rumors
Are there different kinds of PPOs?
Yes. There are 3 kinds of PPOs:
Domestic Relation PPO - if the respondent is (i) current/former spouse, (ii) current/former dating relationship, (iii) current/former resident of your household, or (iv) you have a child in common.
Non-Domestic Stalking PPO - if you and the respondent do not have a domestic relationship, then you must establish that the respondent has been stalking you.
Non-Domestic Sexual Assault PPO - if you and the respondent do not have a domestic relationship, then you must establish that the respondent has sexually assaulted you or placed you in reasonable apprehension of sexual assault.
How is a PPO different from a "no-contact" bond condition?
A restraining order (including a PPO) is a civil action between citizens.
A "no-contact" bond condition can be imposed on a defendant during a pending criminal prosecution. It means that a defendant can not personally --- or have a third-party --- contact, call, write, etc. the victim or any other party with whom the judge orders the defendant to have "no contact". This is a common bond condition for defendants charged with violent or assaultive crimes, and protects victims if the defendant is released from jail while the charge is pending. Like all other bond conditions (e.g., appearing at future court proceedings, not violating criminal laws, not leaving the state, etc.), any violation could cause the judge to raise or revoke the bond, in which case the defendant could remain in jail until the case is finished. A judge has the discretion to issue (or not issue) any bond condition, as he sees 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 at the sentencing as part of the conditions of probation.
Who can get a PPO?
- Anyone who has been physically, emotionally or sexually abused by a current or former spouse, a current or former dating partner, a person with which you have a child in common, or a current or former household member. (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 "Non domestic or stalking PPO".)
- Anyone who has been sexually assaulted, subjected to, threatened with or placed in a reasonable apprehension of sexual assault.
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 legally incapacitated person). An unemancipated minor cannot get a PPO against his/her parent.
Can a PPO be issued against a minor?
Yes and No. Michigan now allows PPOs to be issued against a minor (you can not apply for a PPO for a minor under the age of 10 years old)--- someone under 18 years old. [See Forms CC 375M and 377M.] . 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.
Where can I apply for a PPO?
As of June 13, 2018 all new PPOs must be filed electronically at https://mifile.courts.michigan.gov. You may receive assistance with completing all the necessary PPO documents online at the Personal Protection Order Office which is located in the Macomb County Circuit Court building on the 1st floor.
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 and without advanced notice to the other party. The judge assigned to your case has 24 hours to make a decision on the PPO. If you want an ex-parte order, you must convince the judge with specific facts contained in your petition 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.
"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?
The facts that you include in the PPO application are very important. Tell the Judge what your relationship is with the respondent, and what has happened recently that makes you need a PPO ... in short, tell why you need to be protected. Provide detailed and factual information with dates of the incidents you list.
What information and documents should I bring when I file for the PPO?
To file a PPO, you must have the full name and age of the other party. If you can support the facts with evidence, do it!
- Information or documents that support the facts - police reports, medical records, reports from social agencies, photographs (of injuries or property destruction), affidavits or notarized written statements from witnesses to the events you describe in your petition, etc.
- Descriptive information about the person to be restrained, such as name, home address, place of employment, date of birth, driver's license number, and physical description (hair color, eye color, height, weight, tattoos, scars, etc.).
Will the person who is being restrained see everything I file, including where I am living?
A copy of your petition and anything you attach to your request for the PPO is public record and will be given to the person you want restrained. If you do not want to include your home address or phone number in these documents, use an alternate address that the respondent already knows. If you do not have an alternate address to use, please speak to the PPO advocate. NOTE: The email address used to create your MiFILE account can be seen by the respondent.
The Respondent is a law enforcement officer, or is licensed to carry a gun. Is he treated differently?
A law enforcement officer or person licensed to carry a gun has no special protections against a PPO petition.
NOTE: 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 item #2 of either PPO Petition form (CC 375 or CC 377).
As of July 1, 2000, a Respondent's employer must be notified immediately if a PPO is issued against a person who is identified in pleadings as a law enforcement officer. Also, the County concealed weapons licensing board must be notified if a PPO prohibits a Respondent from owning or purchasing firearms.
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 does it.
What happens at the Courthouse when I file for the PPO?
PPOs are only filed electronically. You can file a PPO remotely from any computer with internet access (https://mifile.courts.michigan.gov). There are several computers in the PPO Office (located at the Macomb County Courthouse, 40 N. Main Street, Mt. Clemens, MI 48043 on the 1st floor) available to complete and file your personal protection order. An advocate is available to assist Monday - Friday from 8:00am - 12:00pm and 1:00pm - 4:00pm (closing from lunch 12-1).
Before filing, please re-read your ppo and attachments. Are they complete? Do they fully and accurately tell the Judge what the respondent has done and why you need a PPO? If you are alleging that he/she is stalking you, do your facts prove the legal definition?
- Sign up for a MiFILE account (https://mifile.courts.michigan.gov).
- Submit and file all completed forms and information in your MiFILE account.
- If you are asking for an ex-parte (emergency) order, the Judge must personally review the documents you filed and has 24 hours to make a decision on the ex-parte request.
- Once the Judge has made the decision, you will be emailed a copy of the order approving or denying the PPO.
- If the PPO is granted, it is now your responsibility to have the PPO paperwork printed and served to the respondent.
- If the Judge denies your ex-parte order, you may request a hearing by completing a motion to enter and request for a hearing and having the respondent served with those documents.
- If the Judge denies your ex-parte order and sets a hearing date, you must print and have the respondent served with a copy of the PPO documents.
How do I serve the papers?
Anyone who is over the age of 18 --- other than you --- can serve the respondent. There are 3 ways service of process can be completed:
- By Process Server: hire a process server. Find them online.
- By Personal Service: have a friend or relative over the age of 18, who has no involvement in the PPO request, personally hand the PPO paperwork to the person being restrained; or
- By Mail: serve the person being restrained by registered mail (return receipt requested) with delivery restricted to him/her. The registered mail package should include a copy of the notice of hearing (if it is for a Hearing Motion), a copy of the entire packet you filled out and filed with the clerk as the PPO, and a copy of the order.
- Can the Respondent be given oral notice of the PPO?
As of July 1, 2000, a law enforcement officer or clerk of the court who has knowledge of the existence of a PPO may serve the PPO on the Respondent or give oral notice of the existence of the PPO. After doing so, he/she must file a proof of service or proof of oral notice with the court.
CLICK HERE to download complete instructions on how to serve a PPO and motion.
What happens after the person being restrained is served with the PPO?
Once the respondent is served, you must scan and file your completed proof of service into your MiFILE account. The proof of service requires information on the date, time and place where service occurred. The Circuit Court Clerk will send the completed and signed proof of service to the Michigan State Police for entry into the Law Enforcement Information Network (LEIN).
When does the PPO go into effect?
The order goes into effect as soon as the judge signs it. The PPO can be enforced immediately. However, if the Respondent has not yet been served with a copy of the PPO, he/she will be orally informed of the terms of the order by the responding police officer and given an opportunity to comply with the order.
What if the Respondent violates the PPO?
If your situation is an emergency, CALL 9-1-1 ! Otherwise, call the nearest police department
Does the violation have to occur in front of a law enforcement officer?
No. A police officer may make a warrantless arrest of a PPO respondent if the officer has "reasonable cause" to believe that he violated the PPO.
ALWAYS CARRY A COPY OF YOUR PPO! - A Police Officer can then quickly confirm the terms of your Order when investigating your report that the Respondent has committed a violation.
What if the PPO was issued in another state?
As of 04/01/2002, a peace officer, without a warrant, may arrest and take into custody a person when the officer has positive information that a "foreign protection order" has been violated in Michigan. An officer may rely on a copy of the order if it contains all of the following: (i) parties' names, (ii) issuance date that is prior to the date when enforcement is sought, (iii) terms and conditions against the respondent, (iv) name of issuing court, (v) judicial officer's signature, and (vi) no obvious indication that the order is invalid (such as an expiration date occurring before the date when enforcement is sought). Verification on L.E.I.N. or the NCIC national protection order file is not required. The officer may rely on the petitioner's or respondent's statement that the respondent has received prior notice of the order. A person who violates a foreign protection order that is a conditional release order or a probation order issued by another court in a criminal proceeding is guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 93 days and/or $500. [See 2001 PA 197; MCL 600.2950m.]
What if the PPO violator has left the scene before the police arrive?
The PPO statute does not impose a time limit on the police officer's arrest authority, so a warrantless arrest may happen even if the respondent has left the scene of an alleged violation. If the police cannot find the respondent, they may choose to file a warrant request for Stalking; repeated violations of a PPO may constitute the crime of Aggravated Stalking.
What happens if the respondent is arrested?
The police may arrest the restrained party if he/she was previously served with a copy of the PPO. The police are encouraged to arrest if they have evidence of a PPO violation, but they have discretion to arrest or not arrest. If arrested, the restrained party will be brought to a Circuit Court judge within 24 hours. At that time, the Judge can set a bond; if the respondent posts the bond, he/she will be released. The Judge will also set a date for a Show Cause hearing where you and other necessary witnesses will testify about the how the Respondent violated the PPO. The Macomb County Prosecutor's Office may be involved in this Show Cause hearing (see below).
What if the respondent is not arrested for violating the PPO?
The police might not arrest the restrained party, especially if the officer did not witness him/her commit the acts violating the PPO, or if there was insufficient proof that the respondent had been served with the PPO papers before the alleged violation occurred. If the restrained person is not arrested, you will have to file a motion to show cause and a request for a hearing in your MiFILE account. A "show cause" action focuses on whether the respondent should be held in contempt of court for violating the PPO. Like the original PPO application, you will have to describe what the respondent did & said, and attach supporting witness statements, police reports, photographs, etc. Your motion to show cause will be reviewed by the Judge. A hearing will be set for the motion to show cause and the respondent will be ordered to appear in court. You will have to have the motion and hearing date served upon the respondent. You must attend the show cause hearing; bring eye witnesses and supporting evidence, because testimony will be needed if the respondent disputes what you alleged in your motion.
What kinds of punishment can the respondent get for violating the PPO?
A PPO is a court order, so any violation proven beyond a reasonable doubt is criminal "contempt of court". The Judge can send the violating respondent to jail for up to 93 days for each violation, and/or impose a fine of $500, and (as of July 1, 2000) can place the Respondent on probation up to 2 years in lieu of jail time.
What can I do to help prove a PPO violation?
PPO violations happen in seclusion and public, at night and in broad daylight. Many times, police are not present when the violations occur. The constant is you. Therefore, your help is necessary in order to prove that a violation occurred. Preserve all available tangible evidence of the PPO violation, such as notes or letters, voicemails, texts, etc. Keep written notes of when and where the violations happened, what was said and done, who else may have seen or heard the respondent's conduct. Take photographs of property damage. Give all of these to the police or Prosecutor.
Can a respondent be charged with both a PPO violation and a separate criminal offense for the same behavior?
Yes. Michigan statutes clearly state a Legislative intent that criminal sanctions be imposed in addition to whatever criminal penalties apply for a separate criminal offense. [See MCL 600.2950(23) and 600.2950a(20).] Also, appellate decisions have stated that separate convictions did not violate double jeopardy, even though they were based on the same conduct.
What if I resume contact with the respondent after the PPO has been issued?
The PPO is directed to the respondent's behavior, NOT the petitioner's. Regardless of the petitioner's wishes for contact, the respondent will have violated the court's order. The petitioner's invitation or consent may mitigate sanctions, but it is no defense to the violation. If you do not want or need the PPO in effect any more, move to set it aside or modify it.
How do I change the terms of the PPO or How do I dismiss the PPO?
Only a court can change a PPO; the parties cannot do this privately or informally. If you decide to get back together (reconcile) with the person you had restrained, or you no longer want the order to remain in effect, either you or the respondent must file a motion to terminate the order. Otherwise, the order will remain in effect until the date the judge originally set for it to expire. You may file a motion to modify (change the terms of) or terminate (dismiss) the PPO in your MiFILE account. Assistance can be obtained from the PPO Office. The respondent may move to modify or terminate the PPO within 14 days after service or actual notice, or for good cause shown after the 14 days have elapsed.
How do I extend my PPO?
A PPO may be extended, the request must be filed at least 3 business days before the expiration date on the order. Please contact the PPO advocate for further instructions.
Is there a fee to modify or cancel a PPO?
There is no filing fee when parties seek to modify or terminate a PPO.