Personal Protection Orders

Personal Protection Orders (PPO)

 

     A Personal Protection Order (PPO) is a civil protection order against violence, the threat of violence and various forms of stalking. Michigan law provides for criminal enforcement measures against persons who violate a PPO. For example, Michigan authorizes warrantless arrests for individuals who violate a PPO. This means that a person accused of violating a Personal Protection Order can be immediately arrested by police without need of an arrest warrant.

 

     The parties involved in a PPO action are called the petitioner and the respondent. The petitioner is the party seeking the protection of the PPO; this person is sometimes called the Plaintiff. The respondent is the party against whom the PPO is sought; this person is sometimes called the defendant.

 

     In Michigan, there are two distinct types of Personal Protection Orders (or PPO’s). These are differentiated based on the relationship between the parties. The first type is a Domestic Relationship PPO (MCLA 600.2950). It is available to restrain behavior (including stalking which is defined by statute) that interferes with the petitioner’s personal freedom or that causes a reasonable fear of violence. The Domestic Relationship PPO applies if the respondent:

 

(i) is a current spouse or former spouse;
(ii) has a child in common with petitioner;
(iii) resides or has resided in the same household as petitioner; or
(iv) has or had a dating relationship with petitioner.

 

     The second type is a Non-Domestic Stalking PPO (MCLA 600.2950a). This type of PPO protects victims of stalking, regardless of the relationship between the parties. “Stalking” is defined as:

 

I. A willful course of conduct involving repeated or continuing harassment of another individual;
II. That would cause a reasonable person to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or molested; and
III. That actually causes the victim to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or molested.

 

     A court may issue a PPO after the accused is provided notice that a PPO has been requested and a hearing is held to determine whether a PPO is warranted. However, in many circumstances a PPO is issued without a hearing or notice to the alleged offender. This is called an ex parte PPO. The judge must issue a PPO if it is clear from the facts and circumstances that immediate and irreparable harm would result from the delay necessary to effectuate appropriate service on the respondent. An Ex Parte PPO is effective when it is signed by the judge and is immediately enforceable whether or not the respondent has even received notice of the order. If an Ex Parte PPO has been issued against you, there is a very short period of time in which to object to the PPO and ask the court to set aside or terminate the PPO. DO NOT wait! Contact an attorney before it is too late! You can reach an experienced PPO defense attorney by calling 1-248-489-8780.

 

     PPOs can be devastating to an individual’s personal and professional life. Once a PPO is issued against you, you may no longer have the right to purchase firearms or even possess firearms you currently own, including firearms used for hunting and/or sport. For certain types of employment where you are required to carry firearms, such as corrections officers and police officers, your employer will be notified of the PPO. You may also be prohibited from entering certain premises which may effect both employment and recreation. It is possible to prevent the issuance of a PPO or to terminate an existing PPO, but you should contact an attorney immediately before your time runs out! Michigan law protects your right to challenge a PPO in court. Our firm safeguards your right to challenge the PPO aggressively.

 

PPOs are often initiated during a divorce or custody proceeding. A PPO’s potential effect on access to children makes it tempting for some parties to use in order to gain an advantage over custody or parenting time. Because a PPO may affect the parties’ access to children – particularly if it excludes a parent from premises – it may, as a practical matter, grant custody to one parent. Additionally, parenting time is to be granted in accordance with the best interests of the child. Domestic violence, regardless of whether directed against or witnessed by the child, is relevant to a child’s well-being and is a best interest factor considered by courts.

The Holographic Will
When is a suicide note, more than a goodbye message to the world? I have had the pleasure of assisting a few clients during a very difficult time in their lives. They had a relative take their life, or seemingly take their own life, leaving behind a handwritten note that describes the manner in which they want their Estate to be distributed to their heirs. Consider the following cases: Case #1: A gentleman marries his long term girlfriend, with whom he has experienced an up and down relationship. Within days of their Las Vegas wedding, she takes off on a party filled trip with her girl friends and others. The gentleman continues to work while she is away, and after a while, decides to rent a room in a local hotel. He ingests a large volume of prescription and non-prescription drugs, and begins to write out a 5 page note detailing the problems in his life. He also expresses his desire to leave his 5 rental homes to his two biological children (from a prior marriage), his car and a few other items to his only brother, and SPECIFICALLY EXCLUDES HIS NEW WIFE from receiving any of his worldly belongings. I represented the brother, and worked with an attorney who represented the children. The wife attempted to secure all of the assets and burn through the funds. Fortunately, my client became suspicious and hired our firm to investigate the matter. Following a limited time for discovery, and a complete handwriting analysis, the case was presented for trial. Four days of witness testimony and dozens of documents, convinced the court to rule that the gentleman's handwritten note constituted a holographic will. The homes were secured, sold and the assets then deposited into trust accounts for the children. The wife was barred from accessing any additional money, and was physically evicted from the marital home. The legal requirements for Holographic are specific, but include the general concept of a written note by the declarant, that is dated and signed. In our case, the paperwork was not dated. We were able to arrive at the date through other evidence that was compelling to the Court. Case #2: An elderly man is taken to the hospital. His wife is to frail to join him, and remains home. When he recovers and returns to the home, he discovers his wife dead. A gun lies on the floor, and a bullet traveled through her scull. A note is discovered in her pocket, leaving their entire estate to the dead wife's sisters. As the couple have no children, their estate would have passed to their siblings. Following a series of Court hearings, the hand writing analysis confirms that the note was not written by the deceased woman. We believe that her sisters wrote the note and then shot their sister. Fortunately, the sisters are now excluded from the Estate. Criminal charges may be pending.
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