Personal Protection Orders & Instructions
A Personal Protection Order (PPO) is a civil order granted by the circuit court prohibiting the person you file your PPO against from engaging in various harassing, threatening or violent behaviors towards you. A Personal Protection Order is granted in cases where there is found to be present and on-going harassment or violence against one person from another. This type of order is initiated by the individual that is being harassed/threatened/abused making it a civil order in the court system.
Violations of a Personal Protection Order however, are a criminal matter and will be prosecuted as the crime “Contempt of Court”.
When an individual files a petition for a Personal Protection Order and is granted that order it is expected that the petitioner will also abide by that order by not initiating or engaging in any prohibited contact with the person they are having restrained. Doing so could bring about a termination of the order.
It is always very important to contact the police immediately whenever there is a violation of your Personal Protection Order.
Obtaining a Personal Protection Order
When you get a PPO without an attorney, you are representing yourself. The system is designed so that you can do this. Please read the instructions so that you will have an understanding of the process involved, please note that the court clerk is unable to give any legal advice regarding your petition, but can answer any procedural questions when you pick-up or drop-off of your forms.
If you would like to file a petition for a Domestic Relationship Personal Protection Order (see section I below) and you would like assistance you can contact the Victim Coordinator at (906) 387-2117 or The Women's Center at (906) 387-4554. They can provide you with the PPO forms and help walk you through the completion of the petition. They can also help provide victims of domestic violence with emergency shelter and/or connect you with counseling services for you and/or your children and other resources that can help you get back on your feet. Advocates are available to provide advocacy support through the court process when you are the victim in a criminal case, assist you with safety planning if you decide to stay and provide a 24 hour crisis line should you need help or someone to talk to anytime of the day or night.
If you find yourself in need of a Personal Protection Order these are the basic steps to follow:
Go to the County Clerks Office to get the Forms
There are two types of Personal Protection Orders- domestic (form-cc375)and stalking (non-domestic, form-cc377). 'Domestic" means that you and the person you want restrained are currently or have lived together, dated, been married, or have a child in common. If any of these are true, you need the domestic forms. If none of these apply, you need the stalking (non-domestic forms). The forms consist of a "Petition" an order. No matter which one you need, you will need both forms.
Instructions for Completing Personal Protection Order
Step One - Complete the Personal Protection Order Information Sheet and Petition for Personal Protection Order. Domestic (form-cc375) and stalking (non-domestic, form-cc377).
You must write a statement explaining why you need a Personal Protection Order. Use a separate page to do this. You must include all important information in your statement, but be as brief and descriptive as possible. Your statement might include the following:
- A description of the most recent assault and/or threat. Include when and where it happened, what the respondent did and/or said; any injuries you suffered, if weapons were involved, whether your children or others were harmed, if property was damaged, or the police were called.
- Include, the type and length of the relationship (if domestic related); how long assault/threats have been happening, how frequently they occur, past convictions or arrests, or other violent behavior or threats by the respondent.
- A description of any other behavior the respondent engages in that threatens you, such as the following; constant phone calls, interfering with you at work, school or other places; refusing to leave or stay away from your home, etc.
- Whether drug or alcohol use contributes or is related to respondent’s behavior.
- Other steps you have taken for protection, such as going to a shelter, filing charges, etc.
- Whether there are police reports, medical records, custody orders (if domestic related), etc.
Step Two – File the Paperwork
File the Petition at the County Clerk’s Office along with your written statement. The Clerk will bring your Petition to the Judge for review*. The Judge has three options:
1. Grant the Personal Protection Order without a hearing (ex parte) County Clerk’s Office.
2. Deny the ex parte Personal Protection Order with the right to have a hearing. You will be sent an order of denial notice advising you of your right to request a hearing if you would like your petition to be considered further. A Notice of Hearing form may be obtained at the County Clerk’s Office. Contact Probate Court directly to obtain a hearing date, complete the Notice of Hearing form, and return completed forms to the County Clerks Office.
3. Deny the request for a Personal Protection Order. You will be sent an order of denial notice. You may re-file; however, you’ll need to provide additional information regarding the necessity of a Personal Protection Order.
The Court Clerk will contact you by phone at the number you supply on your contact information page you completed when filing your petition.
*Please note: Ex-parte petitions are to be reviewed by a judge within 24 hours, occasionally a judge is unable to review and decide the request within 24 hours because of other pending emergency petitions and hearings. If your ex-parte petition is not decided within 24 hours call the court at (906) 387-7053 and court staff will assist you by providing an estimate of when the judge may have the petition decided.
Violations of the PPO
If the person restrained is contacting you, call the police. It will be easier to enforce your PPO if you let law enforcement know about contact right away, and not allow it to progress to a point where you might be in greater danger.
When the police arrive, they will make a decision as to whether they can arrest the person. If the police do make an arrest or send a notice of violation to the prosecutor’s office, the prosecutor will determine whether there is enough evidence to take the issue to court and try to have that person held in contempt. You may need to be present at the court hearing. This can take place within a few days after the arrest or violation, but could be adjourned for a number of weeks, depending on the amount of evidence, number of necessary witnesses, and the court's schedule. The police or prosecutor’s office will contact you regarding when you need to appear.
Prior to the hearing, the person you had restrained will be eligible to post bond and be released, but the PPO will still remain in effect.
If the police do not make an arrest or request a warrant and the prosecutor’s office does not file a charge, you or your attorney (if you have one) may ask the judge to hold the person in contempt. This would happen at a hearing in court. If you want to have this hearing, you need a form (Michigan Court form #cc382) called “Motion and Order to Show Cause”. You can get this form at the County Clerk’s office. If you choose to file a Motion to Show Cause form, you take the form to the clerk's office, and the court clerk will send it to the judge's office for a hearing date.
At the time of the hearing, you should be prepared to be a witness and testify, under oath about how the respondent violated the PPO. If the violation concerned letters or any other documents or recordings, including police reports, bring them with you so the judge can see all of the evidence that supports the violation.