Domestic Violence Restraining & No Contact Orders: A Legal Insight
Anyone accused of domestic violence, assault, intimidation, or harassment of a spouse, family member, person in a dating relationship, or housemate might be subject to a domestic personal protection order.
Domestic Personal Protection Orders – Here is What You Need to Know
Domestic Personal Protection Orders can play a crucial role in a society where the safety and security of a victim are paramount. On the other hand, restraining orders are sometimes unnecessary and contrary to a family’s best interest. Top domestic violence criminal defense attorneys in Michigan thoroughly understand these legal instruments and how to get them removed when appropriate. This article will examine the complexities of Domestic Violence Restraining Orders and No Contact Orders from a lawyer’s perspective. We will investigate their intent, application, and the rights of those involved. To help you understand the following information, please be aware that the person seeking the PPO is the “petitioner,” and the person lawfully restrained by the order is the “respondent.” PPOs cannot be mutual; they only protect one person and restrain another.
Understanding Domestic Violence Restraining Orders
A domestic personal protection order (DPPO) is a court-issued order to protect someone from physical pain, injury, or the threat of pain, injury, or abuse. These restraining orders or no contact orders are generally issued against a spouse, person in a dating relationship, family member, or household member.
What is a Domestic Personal Protection Order (DPPO)?
A Domestic Violence Personal Protective Order is a legal document issued by a circuit court judge to protect someone from domestic violence, threats, interference, or intimidation. A domestic PPO is a form of restraining order that gives police officers the authority to arrest someone without a court hearing if they are accused of a violation. In contrast, someone who allegedly violates a civil restraining order, such as those frequently used in divorce cases, is not subject to arrest unless a judge issues a warrant.
How to Obtain a Restraining Order or No Contact Order?
To obtain a domestic PPO, an individual must file a Personal Protection Order Petition in their local circuit court, detailing the circumstances of the alleged domestic violence, harassment, threats, or intimidation. A criminal defense lawyer can play a pivotal role in obtaining a PPO. Judges do not grant PPOs lightly, as they significantly restrain the respondent’s liberty and freedom. If a petition is not correctly filed and adequately supported by admissible evidence, the judge will most likely deny it, resulting in someone not having essential protection and safety. A skilled lawyer ensures the greatest odds of obtaining a restraining order. Anyone who makes a false or untruthful statement in the petition is subject to contempt of court or perjury charges.
Ex Parte Domestic Personal Protection Orders
Michigan law allows someone to petition for and receive a Domestic Personal Protection Order before the respondent knows what happened. A domestic PPO obtained without the respondent’s knowledge, input, or notice is called an “ex parte” PPO. Ex Parte is Latin for “from one party.” A judge will grant an ex parte petition for a domestic PPO if there is reasonable cause to believe that the individual to be restrained or enjoined may harm the petitioner if the petition is denied or set for a contested hearing. According to the statute, the legal burden is as follows: “if it clearly appears from specific facts shown by a verified complaint, written motion, or affidavit that immediate and irreparable injury, loss, or damage will result from the delay required to effectuate notice or that the notice will itself precipitate adverse action before a personal protection order can be issued.”
If the judge denies the ex parte PPO, they will set the case for an evidentiary hearing. If the judge grants the PPO, it must be served personally or by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, delivery restricted to the addressee at the last known address or addresses of the individual restrained or enjoined, or by any other manner allowed by the Michigan court rules.
Motion to Terminate a Domestic Personal Protection Order
If the judge grants the ex parte domestic PPO, the individual restrained or enjoined may file a motion to modify or dismiss the personal protection order and request a hearing. The Motion to Terminate PPO must be filed within 14 days after the individual restrained or enjoined has been served or has received actual notice of the protection order. The law requires the Court to hold the hearing within 14 days of the filing of a Motion to Terminate. These relatively short time limits attest to the fact that the law recognizes the urgent nature of domestic conflicts, the potential dangers they pose, and the potential impact of the restrictions on the respondent’s liberty interests.
Domestic PPO Evidentiary Hearing
Suppose someone files a petition for an ex parte domestic PPO, and the judge is not convinced they should grant the petition without input from the respondent. In that case, the Court will schedule an evidentiary hearing to learn more about the allegations and the need for protection. In deciding whether to issue a PPO, the judge may consider testimony, documents, or other evidence offered to support the request and whether the individual to be restrained or enjoined has previously engaged in conduct ordinarily prohibited by a PPO. The judge will also consider evidence presented by the respondent. At the conclusion of the hearing, the judge will only grant the PPO if they are persuaded there is factual support for the request, and there is a need for court-ordered protection. When making this decision, judges often give the benefit of the doubt to the petitioner. Note that the petitioner is not required to produce police or medical reports, findings of any administrative agencies, or physical signs or evidence of abuse or violence.
Duration and Renewal
DVPOs are temporary, but they can be renewed if the threat persists. This renewal process is where legal counsel can make a significant difference in protecting a client’s rights. When granted, domestic PPOs are valid for not less than 182 days. The maximum duration of a personal protection order is one year; however, the petitioner can request extensions of the order as needed for their protection. The respondent has the right to request termination of any extension by promptly filing a Motion to Terminate.
What does a Domestic PPO prohibit?
A Domestic PPO prohibits the restricted person, the respondent, from doing things that might endanger the petitioner. Many restrictions or prohibitions are standard; however, the petition can request custom provisions. Some examples of standard prohibitions include the following:
- entering or appearing at a home or workplace
- assaulting, attacking, beating, molesting, or wounding the petitioner (and possibly their dependents)
- threatening to kill or physically injure the petitioner (and possibly their dependents)
- removing or taking your children from you
- buying, using, or possessing a firearm
- interfering with you taking your children or personal property from the respondent’s property
- interfering with you at your place of employment or education,
- adversely impacting your employment or education,
- modifying or deleting your home address, work address, or telephone number in records that concern children in common between the petitioner and respondent
- stalking activities
- deliberately or recklessly causing the petitioner mental distress, controlling them, harming or threatening to harm an animal they own, taking the animal from them, or keeping it from the petitioner
- any other specific act or behavior that interferes with the petitioner’s personal freedom or makes them reasonably afraid
Seeking Help From an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney is a Smart Move
A criminal defense attorney can help individuals seeking the protection of a Domestic Personal Protection Order or seeking to terminate one. A skilled, experienced lawyer can provide the following assistance:
Legal Guidance: A criminal defense attorney can provide valuable guidance on the legal process for obtaining or terminating a Domestic PPO. They can explain the necessary steps, paperwork, and deadlines involved. Most importantly, they can ensure you appear at the court with the evidence needed to win!
Evaluating Eligibility: Attorneys can assess whether someone meets the legal criteria for obtaining a PPO or if the respondent has a legitimate chance of winning a Motion to Terminate. This includes demonstrating the existence or lack of the necessary domestic relationship between the petitioner and respondent and proof of threat or lack of danger.
Preparing the Petition or Motion to Terminate: Crafting a compelling petition or termination motion is crucial. A skilled attorney can help individuals gather evidence, interview and call witnesses to testify, admit documentation of incidents of abuse or false allegations, and create a persuasive narrative to present in court.
Legal Representation: Attorneys can represent the petitioner or respondent in court hearings related to the domestic PPO. They can present the case effectively, cross-examine witnesses, and argue for the necessity or lack of need for a restraining order.
Protection of Rights: It’s essential to balance protecting the petitioner’s and respondent’s rights. A defense attorney can ensure that due process is followed and their client’s rights are upheld and protected.
Addressing Complexities: In cases with legal complexities, such as custody issues or multiple parties involved, an attorney can navigate these complexities and advocate for their client’s best interests.
Appeals and Modifications: If a DV PPO is denied or improperly granted, an attorney can explore options for appeals. They can also help individuals modify or extend existing orders if the threat continues. Conversely, they can request termination of an extended PPO if no legitimate threat exists.
Why should you hire LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. to help you?
The team of lawyers with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. has decades of experience helping clients seeking PPOs or requesting termination of personal protection and restraining orders. Regardless of whether you seek a PPO or want to terminate one, our attorneys have an unparalleled track record of success in courts throughout Michigan. Call us for a free consultation. We will take the time to talk with you, answer your questions, and work with you to develop a winning strategy. Our lawyers and staff treat all clients with dignity and respect.
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