We regularly have people contacting our law firm about Personal Protection Orders (PPOs), and we want to take a moment to answer a few questions you may have about them, and address a couple of concerns.
For starters, we point out to you that while it is entirely possible, and completely legal in Michigan, to ask the court for a PPO on your own without an attorney, we don’t recommend it. Understanding the law about Personal Protection Orders is only the first step and it includes comprehending the statute and the elements that have to be met in order to get a PPO granted. Knowing exactly what needs to be filed, where and when, can be confusing and making even the smallest mistake on your paperwork can result in rejection of the request, delays and complications down the road.
Providing incorrect information, or insufficient information, can mean delays in getting your PPO signed by a judge, which can mean even longer periods of time where you are not protected against someone who might do you harm.
The three most important aspects of getting your PPO, are as follows:
Getting the order signed by a Circuit Court judge.
Providing legal notice of the court’s order to the person who is to be restrained.
Following up with local law enforcement agencies to ensure that they have entered the order in LEIN (Law Enforcement Information Network)
Forgetting any of these steps, or not completing them properly, will interrupt your process. A PPO must be signed by a judge; the person you are hoping to be protected from must be notified of the order, and you should follow up with the police afterwards.
If the judge requires a hearing in order to view the evidence against the person you are seeking protection from, you must be willing to provide that evidence. The court will not accept “hunches” and “gut feelings”. You must have evidence that the person threatened to harm you or has continuously harassed you and that evidence must be properly presented to the court. Having witnesses increases the credibility of your story. If you are uncomfortable presenting your case to the Court, remember, lawyers spend years learning the law, learing the court procedures and understanding the Michigan Rules of Evidence.
In addition, you (the “petitioner”) are entitled to request a hearing if you want one. Bear in mind that both you and the person you are seeking protection from must (the “respondent”) be present at all PPO hearings. You will also both be given an opportunity to speak. If you don’t have an attorney representing you in court, you will need to take your own notes, present your own case, and properly offer your own evidence.
Getting a PPO without an attorney is entirely doable, and many people have done it. However, because we understand the complexities of the system, and know exactly what the process entails, we would be happy to represent you during this difficult process. So if you are struggling with a PPO in Michigan, call us immediately. We can help you.