WHAT EXACTLY IS A PPO?

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PPO is a personal protective order, which some may recognize as a “restraining order.” Your mind may think a person you may need protection from is a stalker, peeping tom, or even harassing, threatening individual online. However, most PPOs are for the very people you live with currently or have at one time. The most common type of PPO is a Domestic PPO, which provides a protective order against someone you have a personal relationship with- such as a spouse, ex-girl/boyfriend, parent, or even your adult child.

HOW CAN I GET A DOMESTIC PPO?

A domestic PPO is not something you obtain against someone like a business partner or acquaintance, but instead someone you have had a very personal relationship with, whether short-term or long-term. As we mentioned, frequently, it is an individual you have lived with in the past or currently, usually a domestic partner. In Michigan, you must have (at least) two incidences of harassment or domestic violence that have caused you a great deal of emotional or physical distress. In a petition filed with the court, you must document the instances the abuse happened, the date it occurred, and the harm it has caused you in your life. A common misconception is that you need a police report of the violence or harassment, but that is not true: any instances of harm may be documented through photos, though if you have a police report filed, you can include that in your petition too. It is imperative to have the instances well-documented to prove to the court why your life is in danger. After you file this petition, a court date is issued. Then, the other party is served a copy of it. The petition will include a court order to show up for a selected court date. A domestic PPO, if granted, will always be in place unless a judge lifts it.

WHAT HAPPENS IF I NEED A PPO NOW, AND I’M TERRIFIED OF WHAT THEY MAY DO IF THEY FIND OUT?

Sometimes, you may know that something dangerous could happen to you if your alleged abuser receives the petition, especially those with a history of domestic violence. Leaving an abuser is hard enough without aggravating them and possibly risking your health or even life. There is something called an ex-parte order in these cases; it’s known as an emergency order. An issued emergency order means that you can walk out of the courthouse on the day you file this order with a PPO order in your hand. Your abuser will not know that the PPO has been implemented until they are served with the PPO papers. It is important to note that emergency PPOs are temporary, and the ex parte order stays in place for 182 days in the State of Michigan. Within 14 days, the alleged abuser does have the opportunity to schedule a hearing, where a judge will decide if the PPO will be dismissed or continue to be kept in place.

HAPPENS IF THE OTHER PARTY BREAKS THE PROTECTIVE ORDER?

Violating a domestic PPO is classified as a misdemeanor in Michigan. If the respondent reaches out or contacts you in any way, it’s vital to reach out to law enforcement agencies or your attorney. Your attorney will file a motion to show cause on your behalf. The individual breaking the terms of the PPO will either be arrested or need to show up to a mandatory court date. Breach of a PPO could also mean 93 days of jail time along with a hefty $500 fine as well as criminal charges. Additionally, violation of a PPO can be used as evidence in divorce or child custody cases. If you feel someone has broken a domestic PPO, it’s very important to correct the issue so your safety is not at risk.

If you or someone you love feels threatened by a domestic partner and is worried for their safety, you must start the process of getting a Personal Protective Order as soon as possible. Obtaining an attorney who can walk you through the process and fight for you is essential. McCririe Law has dealt with hundreds of PPO hearings and successfully protected the safety of our clients. Call us today if you feel threatened, and we will work with you to figure out the safest and best possible option for your circumstances.