I receive many calls regarding Personal Protection Orders. Quite frequently those calls come after the order has been issued. If you are seeking a personal protection order you will find that the courts are set up so that it is very easy to file a Petition for a Personal Protection Order on your own behalf. If a Personal Protection Order has been issued against you it is very wise to hire an attorney to help you in that you already have a hurdle in that the judge has made a decision to issue based on one parties story and usually errors on the side of caution on a reversal. The last thing a judge wants to do is to reverse an order and than have the person seeking the order get hurt by the person who had the order lifted.
Prior to 1994 you could seek an injunction against domestic abuse. In 1994 the legislature inacted MCLA 600.2950. Under this law a person who lived with or had lived with a party, or had a child in common with a party, or who was married or had been married to a party could file a petition for a Personal Protection Order. Further if there was a threat of immediate harm the judge could issue an order ex-parte and on this sort of order the other party is not given a chance to object or get notice until after an order is issued. Usually if the facts appear to be very harmful and appear to be true than the judge will issue an order without a hearing. On the other hand if the judge cannot tell what happened or thinks a party is untruthful than they will set a hearing without issuing an order.
The person filing for the action is known as the Petitioner and the person who is subject to the order is the Respondant. Personal Protection Orders are issued after the judge has considered testimony, documents, and other evidence. The court will also consider whether the Respondant has previously committed or threatened to commit bad acts that are subject to the statute. It is important to remember that if the Petitioner uses false statements in support of a request for a PPO that he or she may be held in contempt of court for using false information.
A petition can be filed in any county and if an ex-parte order is requested the decision to issue the order must be made within twenty four hours of filing. In the event that the parties have a prior action in the same county in which they oppose each other than the case will be heard by the judge who was assigned to the prior action. If the court issues a Personal Protection Order it must be served upon the Respondant and it is best to have the civil division of the county sheriff serve the petition although it can be served by anyone over 18 who is not a party in the case. After the order is served the respondant has 14 days in which to request a hearing. The request can be later if good cause is shown. The judge must place the reasons for upholding the PPO or for rescinding the PPO at the hearing.
The PPO can be dismissed if the court determines that there is not enough merit to the allegations, if the petitioner does not show for the hearing, or if they are not served in a timely fashion. If the PPO remains in effect and the respondent violates it’s terms than the judge can impose up to a $500.00 fine and impose up to 93 days in jail. If a person is picked up on a violation and held in jail than the violation hearing must take place within 72 hours.
A person has a PPO issued against them needs to remember that there are other issues that will come up. It is one thing to be ordered to stay away from a person but it is not pleasent when the PPO affects other rights such as the ability to possess or carry a firearm or their ability to earn a living. If you have been granted a PPO without an attorney and the Respondant hires an attorney you should be represented by a prosecutor or by your own attorney. Should you be in need of answers to your questions regarding your rights in this area call me and I can help.
My name is John Bain and I am an attorney with 27 years of expierence who has extensive expereince in family law and domestic issues. I have offices in Novi and Howell and have many clients in Brighton, Fowlerville, Howell, Novi, Northville, Plymouth, Livonia, Milford, Commerce, Redford, Farmington Hills, Walled Lake, Wixom, Highland, Fenton, Hartland, and South Lyon.