We regularly have people contacting The Kronzek Firm about Personal Protection Orders (PPOs), asking questions, and trying to figure out if they even need our help with this. As such, we’d like to take a moment to answer a few questions you may have about PPOs here in Michigan, and address a couple of your concerns.
For starters, we want to point out that while it’s 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 Michigan Personal Protection Orders is only the first step, and it includes understanding both the statute and the requirements you need to meet in order to have the court grant you a PPO.
Knowing exactly what needs to be filed, along with where and when the filing needs to happen, can be really confusing. Making even the smallest mistake on your paperwork can mean rejection of the request and other complications down the road. Providing incorrect information, or not enough information, can mean delays in getting your PPO signed by a judge. This can mean even longer periods of time where you’re not protected from someone who might hurt you. Complicating all of that is the fact that different kinds of PPOs requires different allegations and procedure.
The three most important aspects of getting your PPO, are:
- Getting the order signed by a Circuit Court judge.
- Providing legal notice of the court’s order to the person that has been restrained.
- Following up with local law enforcement agencies to make sure that they’ve entered the order into LEIN (Law Enforcement Information Network)
Forgetting any of these steps, or not completing them properly, can interrupt your process. Unfortunately, there are no exceptions. A PPO must be signed by a judge; the person you’re hoping to be protected from must be notified of the order, and you really should follow up with the police afterwards. Note that in an unusual step, the Michigan legislature created the Personal Protection Order law such that it is effective as soon as the judge signs it. However, many judges will not enforce a PPO unless the person being restrained knows about the PPO having been signed by a judge.
If the judge requires a hearing in order to hear the evidence against the person you’re seeking protection from (called the “Respondent”), you (called the “Petitioner”) must be able to provide that evidence. The court will not accept “hunches” and “gut feelings”. You must have evidence that the person threatened to harm you, has continuously harassed you or that some other statutory basis exists for the court to grant your request (called a “Petition”). Also, that evidence has to be properly presented to the court in conformance with the Michigan Court Rules and the Michigan Rules of Evidence. .
When providing the court with evidence, having witnesses with firsthand knowledge of the facts increases the credibility of your story. If you’re uncomfortable trying to learn the law to properly present your case to the Court, remember, lawyers spend years learning about the law and court procedures, and understanding the Michigan Rules of Evidence. So if you aren’t comfortable representing yourself with authority, you will definitely need an attorney!
In addition, either side, you (the “petitioner”) or the Respondent, are allowed to request a hearing, if you want one. Bear in mind that both you and the person you are seeking protection from (the “respondent”) have to be present at all PPO hearings. You’ll both be given an opportunity to speak. If you don’t have an attorney representing you in court, you’ll need to take your own notes, present your own case properly, properly offer your own evidence, learn how to cross examine a witness and be prepared for a formal legal proceeding.
Getting a PPO without an attorney is entirely doable, and many people have done it. However, because we understand the complexities of the legal system here in Michigan, and know exactly what the process entails, we would be happy to represent you during this difficult process.We represent both Petitioners and Respondents in PPO cases. So if you are struggling with a PPO in Michigan, call The Kronzek Firm immediately at 866 766 5245. Our skilled attorneys can help you, no matter how complicated your situation may be.