Fighting a Restraining Order in Michigan
October 12th, 2022
A restraining order, which in Michigan is technically known as a Personal Protection Order (PPO), is put in place to protect victims of domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking. The PPO prevents people accused of domestic violence from taking action that could threaten or harm another person. Once a PPO has been issued, police are empowered to intervene if the person who filed for the PPO feels threatened.
Having a restraining order filed against you does not mean you have a criminal record. However, a restraining order can restrict your freedom and prevent you from going to certain places or communicating with certain people. In certain instances, you might be prohibited from possessing a firearm even if you are otherwise eligible to do so.
If you were notified that someone has filed for a restraining order against you, you can take action to fight it. Elmen Legal represents people who have received notice of a restraining order. I will argue against having the order issued. And if the judge does issue a PPO, I will fight to make it as minimally restrictive as possible.
How the Court Grants a Request for a PPO
The burden of proof for obtaining a PPO is relatively low. The person requesting the restraining order (the petitioner) must show that there is reasonable cause to issue the order. Reasonable cause is higher than a reasonable suspicion but less than probable cause.
In Michigan, a PPO can be granted in one of two ways. The first is through an ex parte order. Ex parte means “with respect to one side only.” In this case, it means the judge issued a restraining order without hearing from the other side.
An ex parte restraining order will be granted if the judge believes that the person requesting the order is at risk of immediate and irreparable injury, harm, or damage that cannot be repaired by a court after the injury has occurred.
Once an ex parte restraining order has been granted, the court will schedule a hearing to rescind the order within 14 days from the date you received notice of the PPO. If you have been notified that someone has filed for an ex parte PPO against you and you failed to respond, a full PPO will be issued, and it will be much harder to challenge the restraining order.
The second type of PPO is a non-emergency restraining order. In this situation, the petitioner requests a hearing before a circuit judge, asking to have a restraining order issued. The judge will hear testimony from both sides about why the restraining order should be issued. If the judge grants the request for a PPO, it will take effect as soon as it is signed by the judge. The restraining order will remain in effect as long as the judge’s order specifies.
Defeating a PPO
Every request for a PPO is different, and there is no single strategy that can be used to challenge a request for a restraining order. Hiring a lawyer will significantly increase your chances of beating a PPO. Beyond that, there are basic things you can do to address the issues present in your case.
What Circumstances Gave Rise to the Request for a Restraining Order?
When someone requests a PPO, they must identify specific facts and circumstances that they believe entitle them to a PPO. Review the request for a PPO and think about each circumstance that is identified. People seeking a PPO have a tendency to exaggerate and see ill intent when there was none. Discuss the situation with your lawyer, and be prepared to offer an explanation for the circumstances the petitioner has identified.
Who Has the Burden of Proof?
The petitioner (the person seeking the restraining order) has the burden of proof. They must present evidence in the form of witness testimony and documents that they believe prove that they are entitled to protection.
Consider the three different types of restraining orders that can be issued in Michigan and why they are granted. Then discuss the circumstances with your lawyer and be prepared to explain why the petitioner has not shown why they are entitled to additional protection.
What About the Rules of Evidence?
Many people who request a PPO will do so without the assistance of a lawyer. If the petitioner did not hire a lawyer and does not know the rules of evidence, you have a better chance of defeating their request.
At the hearing, many non-lawyers will try to introduce evidence that is not admissible. A lawyer can challenge the admissibility of the evidence. By excluding key pieces of evidence, your lawyer can eliminate the basis for the PPO and defeat the request for a restraining order.
Contact Elmen Legal to Fight a Restraining Order
I know that unique circumstances often surround requests for restraining orders. I also understand that having a restraining granted against you can harm your reputation and limit your freedom.
Unfortunately, many people request a PPO to try to gain leverage in cases of divorce or a child custody dispute. Regardless of your specific situation, if someone has filed for a PPO against you, you will benefit by working with a lawyer who has experience fighting a request for a restraining order.
If someone has filed a petition for a restraining order against you, remember that you only have 14 days to respond. If you do not respond, the PPO will be granted and will remain in effect for as long as the order specifies. Once the restraining order has been granted, it will be much more difficult to fight it.
When you work with Elmen Legal, I will learn about the unique circumstances of your case, offer advice, and develop a strategy to fight the request for a PPO. In many cases, I can successfully defeat the petition for a PPO. And even if the judge does grant it, I will fight to make sure it is as minimally restrictive as possible.
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Categories: Domestic Violence