WHAT IS A “PPO” IN MICHIGAN?

Many people have heard the term “Restraining Order.”  But, in Michigan, restraining orders are actually known by a confusing acronym, “PP0,” which stands for Personal Protection Order.  PPOs are court orders signed by a Circuit Court Judge which typically prevent any contact with a protected person.  They are civil orders, and are therefore sought by individuals, not by prosecutors or police.  And they are often signed by Family Court Judges, and held before those judges.

Dan Geherin, owner of the Geherin Law Group PLLC (GLGMichigan) in Ann Arbor, is an ex-prosecutor and board-certified criminal trial attorney who only handles cases with a criminal justice element.  As part of this practice, GLG handles many PPO cases—including both seeking and defending PPOs for clients.   

Every day, Dan answers calls from people seeking to get or defend a PPO, many of whom ask the same questions:

“How do I get a PPO?”

“Do I have to testify in court to get or defend a PPO?”

“What happens if I violate the PPO?”

“How will a PPO entered against me affect my job, my life, my record?”

“How long will the PPO last?”

PPOs are generally divided into two categories:  Domestic and Non-Domestic.  Domestic categories require that the Petitioner (person seeking the PPO) and Respondent (person against whom the PPO is sought) have a current or past relationship (usually defined as marriage, dating, living together, or child in common).  Non-Domestic encompasses all other relationships.  To get a PPO, a Petitioner has to show a need for protection, usually some legitimate fear of intimidation/harassment in the relationship.  Judges can sign these PPOs “ex-parte,” meaning without a hearing and only upon the Petitioner’s written request.  However, if the Judge requires testimony before signing the PPO, then a hearing will be scheduled at which both the Petitioner and Respondent would testify and a judge would decide if enough evidence exists to sign the Order. 

PPOs generally stay in place for one year, and sometimes longer.  If a Respondent contacts a Petitioner in violation of the PPO, he/she will usually face a Contempt of Court charge, at which time the Judge will likely impose jail.  Additionally, the county prosecutor will often then charge the Respondent with Aggravated Stalking, a felony which can result in prison time.  A PPO can have a very damaging effect on a person’s reputation/freedom, as the entry goes onto police computers, and often results in a people losing their jobs, being denied weapons permits, and facing other obstacles.   

Unfortunately, PPOs are occasionally levied by a disgruntled lover/neighbor/co-worker, or by an angry spouse aiming to get advantage in a divorce/custody fight.  So, for people facing these reputation-altering Orders, the best option is to consult with an experienced, aggressive, intelligent criminal defense attorney with a history of successfully defending PPOs.

On the flip side, people who want to get a PPO often don’t understand the process or are intimidated to seek one on their own.  Having an experienced attorney with the knowledge, experience and resources to help can soothe that fear and become a powerful ally. 

So, if you are in need of a PPO and don’t know where to turn; or, if you are served with a PPO in Ann Arbor or throughout Washtenaw County, please contact Dan Geherin and his firm at GLG Michigan immediately.  We’re available 24/7, and we will put our 20+years criminal justice experience to work in protecting your interests.  Schedule online at GLGMichigan, or call 24/7 (734) 263-2780.   GLG Michigan:  Handling PPO cases throughout Ann Arbor, Washtenaw County and Southeastern Michigan. 

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