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Restraining Order

Michigan residents reported 66,316 incidents of domestic violence in 2016, the last year for which statistics are available, according to Michigan Incident Crime Reporting data. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 41% of women and 14% of men are injured by intimate partner violence, and 16% of murders overall stem from this type of violence.

The large number of incidents, injuries, and deaths related to domestic violence has resulted in a rising amount of attention paid to these crimes over the past several decades. Unfortunately, the increased attention has also resulted in a number of false accusations leveled as a means of exacting revenge or retribution on the wrongly-accused party.

One of the mechanisms available to people who complain of domestic violence is a restraining order, which is called a personal protective orders (PPOs) in Michigan. If you are the subject of a PPO, it's important to know what it is and what it does. Violating the terms of a PPO can subject you to severe penalties. Always consult with an attorney who can advise you of your rights and work to see that your rights are protected.

Are There Different Types of PPO's?

Michigan has different types of PPOs. All PPOs are, generally speaking, “restraining orders.” A restraining order is a legally enforceable civil court order restricting a person’s actions toward another person. A PPO, in particular, is a restraining order preventing a person from engaging in violence, threats of violence, or stalking against another person. A PPO must be signed by a judge. It is enforceable not just in Michigan, but throughout the U.S.

Michigan PPOs address the actions of people in a “ domestic relationship” under Michigan law. Under the law, domestic relationships don't necessarily mean being married or currently living in the same residence. Domestic relationships can be between a spouse and former spouse, between people in a dating relationship or former one, between people who have a child in common, or among residents or former residents of the same household.

There are some exceptions to these definitions. Though a child may have resided in the household with a parent, children may not bring PPO's against a parent, or vice versa. These are considered family court matters in Michigan.

There are two general types of PPOs under Michigan law:

Domestic PPO

A domestic PPO can be brought before a judge by someone in a domestic relationship with you if you are accused of committing or threatening violence, or interfering with personal freedom. The PPO acts as a court order directing you to stop this and related behavior.

Examples of covered behavior may include:

  • Assaulting, attacking, beating, molesting, or wounding them
  • Threatening to kill or physically injure them
  • Entering their legal premises unlawfully
  • Taking minor children (if you don't have a custody or parenting order)
  • Purchasing or buying a firearm
  • Interfering with their attempts to remove their children or personal property from a house or other premises that you own or rent
  • Interfering with their work or school or behaving in a manner that is considered to harm their job or school environments or relationships
  • Accessing information about a minor child in common that will tell you the phone number or address of the child or the parent's work address
  • Stalking or aggravated stalking, even in the absence of an arrest for those charges
  • Injuring, killing, neglecting, or torturing an animal that you own in common, with intent to cause mental distress or exert control, or threatening to do such acts
  • Other specific acts or behaviors considered to reasonably cause fear of violence or interference with personal liberty
Stalking PPO

A stalking PPO can be requested if you are accused of committing two or more acts that make someone in a domestic relationship feel threatened, harassed, molested, or frightened.

What is the Process?

Once a judge signs a PPO, you will be served with it. PPO's are served in several different ways. You may be served by law enforcement, certified mail, or a process server. After the person seeking the PPO has proof that you've been served, they need to file a "proof of service" with the court clerk.

Many PPOs are temporary. If so, they will be in force for 182 days. Usually, a court date is set during the early stages of the temporary order. At that point, it is possible to file a motion to change the terms of a PPO or end it before it expires. The person who brought the PPO against you can also request that it continue.

What are the Consequences of a PPO?

It's important to understand that PPOs are not criminal charges. They are civil court matters. The chief initial consequence is that you must abide by the terms. To violate them risks an arrest, for which there can be criminal charges and penalties, including prison and fines. As a result, you could miss time from work or even lose your job.

It is possible to violate a PPO unwittingly. If you are not supposed to have contact with the person who obtained it, for example, any contact with that person, even contact the person agrees to, no matter how minor, can be viewed as a violation of the order.

Law enforcement can arrest you even if you are just accused of violating the provisions of a PPO as well. You don't need to be found specifically guilty of a violation, and the police don't need a warrant.

Although PPOs are not criminal documents, they are matters of public record. They can affect your reputation and public standing as a result. PPOs can also be considered in divorce and child custody proceedings.

Being the subject of a PPO can be disturbing, but it is very important to keep calm and abide by every provision of the order.

How a Michigan Restraining Order Lawyer Can Help

A restraining order lawyer can help explain the PPO process and your options for protecting your interests and rights. It's important to understand every restriction contained in a PPO, so that you do not mistakenly violate it. An experienced Michigan restraining order lawyer can guide you through a complicated and often distressing process that begins when a judge signs a PPO. Contact Michigan Defense Law today to learn more

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