Michigan law allows anyone to petition the court for a Personal Protection Order (PPO). The petitioner must explain how the respondent’s behavior: (1) serves no legitimate purpose or (2) meets the legal definition of harassment. Harassing behavior includes but is not limited to: stalking, cyberbullying, (sexual) assault, domestic violence, and threats of violence or intimidation. Typically, a PPO petition is granted or denied after a court hearing. However, if the judge believes the respondent’s conduct puts the Petitioner at risk of serious imminent harm, the petition may be granted ex-parte, without a hearing.
There are several considerations, a Petitioner must consider when contemplating a PPO filing. Thankfully, cost is not one of them. There are no costs or filing fees to file and have a hearing on a PPO petition. It is important to note that PPO petitions differ based on the relationship of the petitioner and respondent. If the parties have ever lived together or have been in a relationship-married, dating or have a child in common, a domestic PPO petition must be filed. Non-domestic PPO petitions are used when the parties have had no previous relationship. Also, the respondent’s behavior must be repeated or ongoing. It’s highly unlikely your PPO petition will be granted if the respondent has only committed one act of harassment or stopped the harassing behavior when asked.
As with all legal matters, it is important to be proactive. If the PPO is granted and the respondent violates the order, the petitioner should contact the police immediately. If the respondent is not arrested, the petitioner should file a motion to show cause. If the court finds that the respondent has in fact violated the order, the court may impose a fine of up to $500 and/or 93 days in jail. Because of the complexities of the PPO process it is advised to seek legal counsel.
Questions? Contact Great Lakes Legal Group today!