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Defending Against a Personal Protection Order


    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. But, it can affect your freedom. These are just some of the possible consequences of having a PPO against you:

    • The PPO is entered in the police Law Enforcement Information Network (LEIN) and is a matter of public record;

    • You can be restrained from:

      • 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)

    • You can be arrested without a warrant for allegedly violating a PPO;

    • You can be charged with criminal contempt for allegedly violating a PPO;

    • You can face fines and jail time for violating the PPO;

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

    What Can I Do?

    Because being the Respondent in a PPO case can be damaging, you may want to talk to a lawyer. If you need a lawyer and are low-income, you may qualify for free legal help. You can use the Find a Lawyer section on this page to look for legal help in your area.

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

    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, extend, or terminate it. An ex parte PPO is one the judge signs without having a hearing. It means the judge signed the PPO based only on what the Petitioner said in his or her petition.

    Finding out about an ex parte PPO doesn’t necessarily mean you got proper service of the papers. Once you know about the PPO, the 14 day timeline starts.

    You must have good cause before the judge will hear your motion to change or end the PPO if:

    • You don’t file your motion within 14 days of when you found out about an ex parte PPO, or

    • The judge issued the PPO after having a hearing

    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 notice of the hearing date and time.

    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 forms, read the Checklist in the Someone Has a Personal Protection Order Against Me toolkit to learn what to do next. To learn about what to expect at court, watch the Going to Court video.