The attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. are often called upon to help people who have had personal protection orders (PPOs) entered against them. These court orders, sometimes referred to as restraining orders, are court-issued directives compelling a person to not threaten or harm another. The severe ramifications for someone who is the subject of a PPO are little known among the public but they can haunt someone for the rest of his or her life.
What is a PPO?
A personal protection order (PPO) is a court order to stop threats or violence made by one person against another. They are intended to protect from people from threats, harm, or harassment. PPOs will be granted a petitioner convinces a court that he or she has a reasonable fear for his or her personal liberty or safety.
The three types of PPO’s are domestic relations PPOs, non-domestic (stalking) PPOs, and non-domestic (sexual assault) PPOs.
Note: although the issuance of a PPO creates an inference that there is abuse, we prefer to use the technical terms petitioner (the person who asked for the PPO) and respondent (the person against whom the PPO was entered) to describe the parties. Respondents are not defendants and many PPOs are the result of false allegations made by petitioners.
What Should I Do If I Have a PPO Against Me?
This is one of the most important questions, one that people either forget to ask or ask too late. If someone petitions for and has a PPO against you, you have 14 days FROM THE TIME YOUR ARE SERVED or you have actual notice of the order to file a Motion to Terminate. If you do not act within 14 days, the PPO will stay in effect and you will not have a right to a hearing to dispute the accusations.
Why Should I Care About a PPO if I Don’t Want to See that Person Either?
People commonly believe that PPOs don’t make any difference if they are not interested in making contact. There are two problems with that line of thought:
First, the PPO is entered into the Michigan State Police’s Law Enforcement Information Network (LEIN), essentially meaning that it is on your record. When someone searches the network for your name, the PPO will come up, suggesting that you are a dangerous person.
Second, if the petitioner comes to court and alleges a violation of the order, the burden of proof is substantially lower than in criminal matters. If you are charged with a crime, the prosecution must demonstrate that you committed the crime BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT. In PPO violations, however, the court will rule based on a preponderance of the evidence, meaning it will hear from both sides and weigh the evidence equally. Though that may sound fair, it means that the chances of you being found culpable are higher. The petitioner may make accusations that you violated the PPO, the court may find you in contempt of the order, and you may be imprisoned for up to 93 days and fined up to $500. Once out, the petitioner could make the same accusations again, leading to more and more jail time and fines as long as the PPO stands.
You Need An Advocate
If you believe someone has obtained a personal protection order against you, call one of the attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C at (248) 263-6800 or complete a Request for Assistance Form. We have decades of experience dealing with personal protection orders in Wayne County, Oakland County, Macomb County, and throughout Michigan. If you believe someone has a PPO order against you, it is in your best interest to hire a tenacious attorney to fight the allegations made against you. Contact us immediately because time may be ticking!