Breakups are often difficult, but, for some people, they are also dangerous. When someone is so upset and angry over a breakup that they are determined to physically harm their former partner, a breakup becomes a scary and threatening situation. In Michigan, measures can be taken to protect the threatened partner, including filing for a Personal Protection Order (PPO). While a PPO can’t prevent every physical attack, it is useful in some situations and is an important step to take when you think a former partner may be dangerous.
What Is a Personal Protection Order?
A PPO is a document issued by the court ordering a person (the respondent) to stay away from you (the petitioner) and to stop making threats against you. It can be issued against a former domestic partner—spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend, roommate, co-parent, etc.—or against anyone who has harmed or threatened you two or more times—known as a Stalking PPO. While a PPO is a legally enforceable order, it is just a piece of paper and, if a violent person is determined to do harm, a PPO can’t prevent it. Because of this, many people think it’s not worth the effort to file for one. However, a PPO provides options for you to file criminal charges against someone who has attacked or threatened you, so it can be a valuable tool for protection.
When Should I File for a PPO?
If a former partner physically attacks you, it is too late for a PPO. Criminal charges can be filed, which will likely also include a no-contact order, but a PPO won’t be effective in this situation. The reason for a PPO is to prevent such an attack in the first place. If you have a reasonable fear that someone may assault you, you can file for a PPO in your local jurisdiction. Demonstrating reasonable fear may consist of providing evidence that someone has been:
- Harassing or stalking you with incessant phone calls
- Making repeated threats to harm you
- Exhibiting erratic behavior
- Making threatening posts on social media
If you think you will be in greater danger if the person learns that you have filed for a PPO, you can file for an immediate, ex parte order. This means that the person who is threatening you does not have to be present when you file for the order.
What Is the Process for Filing for a PPO?
The process is similar in most jurisdictions in Michigan. Whether you live in Wayne or Oakland County, you can fill out the initial form online, print it out, and bring it to the court. To ensure a successful application, we advise clients to do the following:
- Make sure your story is very detailed. Explain everything the person has done—every threat, every time he showed up on your doorstep, etc.
- Include specific dates of incidents.
- If the police have ever responded to a call about the person, include a copy of the police report or incident number with your application.
If you are seeking an immediate, ex parte PPO, you may have to wait for several hours in the courthouse, but you should be able to leave with the order in your hands.
What Should I Do My Ex Violates the PPO?
For a PPO to have the teeth it should have, you will have to do your due diligence if it is violated. This means calling the police every time the PPO is violated. Tell the police that your ex violated a PPO, and he will face criminal charges, even if he did not physically assault you. Criminal charges such as stalking or violating a PPO will mean that child custody and financial support decisions are more likely to go in your favor down the road. It could also mean that he could be sent to prison.
Learn More About PPOs From The Cronin Law Firm
If a former domestic partner is threatening you or you are the victim of a non-domestic partner stalker and don’t know what to do, please contact us to learn more about PPOs and other options that may be available to you. Our domestic violence defense attorneys are here to help you. Click the “Text Us” button on this page, complete our contact form, or call us at 248-258-3500 today to schedule an appointment for a complimentary initial consultation.