Defending Against a Personal Protection Order

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The Impact of Having a Personal Protection Order (PPO) against You

Having a Personal Protection Order (PPO) against you can be serious. A PPO case is not a criminal case and doesn’t give you a criminal record. However, it can affect your freedom. For example, PPOs are entered in the police Law Enforcement Information Network (LEIN) and are matters of public record.

If there is a PPO against you, you can be restrained from doing things such as:

  • Appearing in certain locations, including your own home
  • Communicating with the Petitioner and other named people, including your children
  • Having a gun (even if your job requires you to have one)

The PPO can also be a factor in a divorce or child custody case.

You can be arrested without a warrant for allegedly violating a PPO. If a judge determines you violated the PPO, you can face fines and jail time.

What Can I Do?

Because being the Respondent in a PPO case can be damaging, you may want to talk to a lawyer. You can use the Guide to Legal Help to find lawyers in your area.

You can file a motion to ask the judge to change the terms of the PPO or terminate (end) the PPO before it expires. You can use our Do-It-Yourself Motion to Modify, Extend, or Terminate a Personal Protection Order (PPO) tool to do this. 

Petitioners or respondents can use this form. Petitioners can also ask the judge to extend the expiration date of the PPO.

File your motion in the court that issued the PPO. There will be a court hearing where you and the Petitioner will each get a chance to tell your side of the story. At the hearing the judge will decide whether to continue, change, or end the PPO.

Warning! Time Is of the Essence

You only have 14 days after you find out about an ex parte PPO to file a motion to modify or terminate it. An ex parte PPO is a PPO that the judge signs without having a hearing. It means the judge signed the PPO based only on what the Petitioner wrote in their petition.

Once you know about the PPO, the 14 day timeline starts. You could know about the PPO because you received the papers through proper service, or you may have found out another way.

If you don't file your motion within 14 days, you must have good cause before the judge will hear your motion to change or end the PPO. Good cause means you have a valid reason why you didn’t file your motion earlier or why you didn’t appear at the court hearing. If the judge does not believe you have good cause, your motion will be denied.

If you file your motion by the deadline, there will be a court hearing within 14 days. If you are a law enforcement officer and the PPO prohibits you from having a gun, the hearing will be within five days. You must arrange to have the Petitioner served with your motion and the notice of hearing at least seven days before the hearing date.

What Should I Include in My Motion?

Tell the judge whether you want the PPO ended or changed. If you want it changed, explain what parts of the PPO you want changed. Tell the judge why you want the PPO changed or ended. If you believe the Petitioner made false allegations in the petition, tell the judge this. Also tell the judge about any evidence you have (witnesses, documents, e-mails, text messages, etc.) that supports your motion. If you have physical evidence, you can attach copies to your motion.

It is important that you be truthful and as accurate as possible. At the hearing you will be expected to testify to the things you include in your motion.

What Happens after I Get the Forms?

After you complete and print your motion to modify or terminate the PPO, go to Filing to End or Change a Personal Protection Order Issued Against You and read the instructions to learn what to do next. To learn about what to expect at court, watch the Going to Court video.

Finding a Lawyer

You might decide you want a lawyer to help you. If you have a low income, you may qualify for free legal services. Whether you have a low income or not, you can use the Guide to Legal Help to find lawyers in your area. If you are not able to get free legal services but can’t afford high legal fees, consider hiring a lawyer for part of your case instead of the whole thing. This is called limited scope representation. To learn more, read Limited Scope Representation (LSR): A More Affordable Way to Hire a Lawyer. To find a limited scope lawyer, follow this link to the State Bar of Michigan lawyer directory. This link lists lawyers who offer limited scope representation. You can narrow the results to lawyers in your area by typing in your county, city, or zip code at the top of the page. You can also narrow the results by topic by entering the kind of lawyer you need (divorce, estate, etc.) at the top of the page.