PPO Frequently Asked Questions

HOW LONG DOES A PPO LAST?
Once granted, it remains in effect for 180 days from the date of issuance. You may request the judge to lengthen it.

WHAT IF RESPONDENT VIOLATES THE PPO?
If your situation is an emergency, CALL 911. Otherwise, call the nearest police department.

DOES THE VIOLATION HAVE TO OCCUR IN FRONT OF A LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER?
No. A police officer may make a warrantless arrest of a PPO Respondent if the officer has reasonable cause to believe that a PPO has been violated.

WHAT IF THE PPO VIOLATOR HAS LEFT THE SCENE BEFORE THE POLICE ARRIVE
The PPO statute does not impose a time limit on the police officer's arrest authority, so a warrantless arrest may happen even if the Respondent has left the scene of an alleged violation. If the police cannot find the Respondent, they may choose to file a warrant request for Stalking or Aggravated Stalking if all other elements of those crimes are present.

WHAT HAPPENS IF RESPONDENT IS ARRESTED?
The police may arrest the restrained party if they were previously served with a copy of the PPO. The police are encouraged to arrest if they have evidence of a PPO violation, but they have discretion to arrest or not to arrest. If arrested, the restrained party will be brought to a Circuit Court judge within 24 hours. At that time, the Judge can set a bond; if the Respondent posts the bond, they can be released. The Judge will also set a date for a hearing where you and other necessary witnesses will testify about how the Respondent violated the PPO. The St. Clair County Prosecutor's Office may be involved in this hearing. You will be notified of the hearing date by subpoena.

WHAT IF RESPONDENT IS NOT ARRESTED FOR VIOLATING THE PPO?
The police might not arrest the restrained party, especially if the officer did not witness the acts violating the PPO, or if there was insufficient proof that the Respondent had been served with the PPO papers before the alleged violation occurred.

If the restrained person is not arrested, you will have to file a motion to show cause in the Circuit Court Clerk's Office to have a hearing about the PPO violation. A show cause action focuses on whether the Respondent should be held in contempt of court for violating the PPO. Like the original PPO application, you will have to write out what the Respondent did and said, and attach supporting witness statements, police reports, photographs, etc. Your motion to show cause will be reviewed by the Judge. If the judge believes that a violation likely occurred, they will schedule a show cause hearing and will issue a show cause order directing the Respondent to appear in Court to respond to your allegations that Respondent violated the PPO.

WHAT IS THE PROSECUTOR'S ROLE IN PPO EVIDENTIARY HEARINGS?
The Prosecuting Attorney must prosecute all evidentiary proceedings, unless the Petitioner retains their own attorney for this purpose.

WHAT KINDS OF PUNISHMENT CAN RESPONDENT GET FOR VIOLATING THE PPO?
A PPO is a court order, so any violation is criminal "contempt of court". The Judge can send the violating Respondent to jail for up to 93 days for each violation, and/or impose a fine of up to $500.

WHAT CAN I DO TO HELP "MAKE A CASE" FOR A PPO VIOLATION?
PPO violations happen in seclusion and in public, at night and in broad daylight. Many times, police are not present when the violations occur. The constant is YOU. Therefore, your help is necessary in order to prove that a violation occurred.

Preserve all available tangible evidence of the PPO violation, such as notes or letters, voice mail messages, etc. Keep written notes of when and where the violations happened, what was said and done, who else may have seen or heard the Respondent's conduct, etc. Take photographs of property damage. Give all of these to the police when you make a police report.

CAN A RESPONDENT BE CHARGED WITH BOTH A PPO VIOLATION AND A SEPARATE CRIMINAL OFFENSE FOR THE SAME BEHAVIOR?
Yes. Michigan statutes clearly state a Legislative intent that criminal sanctions be imposed in addition to whatever criminal penalties apply for a separate criminal offense. Also, appellate decisions have stated that separate convictions do not violate double jeopardy, even though they were based on the same conduct.

WHAT IF I RESUME CONTACT WITH THE RESPONDENT AFTER THE PPO HAS BEEN ISSUED?
The PPO is directed to the Respondent's behavior, NOT the Petitioner's. Regardless of the Petitioner's wishes for contact, the Respondent will have violated the court's order. The Petitioner's invitation or consent may mitigate sanctions, but it is no defense to the violation.

A Petitioner should not "send the wrong signals" to the Respondent by actually or seemingly allowing contact that violates the PPO. The PPO means what the order says and applies when the order says, NOT just when it is "convenient" to the Petitioner for the terms to apply. If you do not want or need the PPO in effect anymore, move to set it aside or modify it.

HOW DO I DISMISS THE PPO? HOW DO I CHANGE THE TERMS OF THE PPO?
Only a court can change a PPO; the parties cannot do this privately or informally. If you decide to get back together (reconcile) with the person you had restrained, or you no longer want the order to remain in effect, either you or the Respondent must file a Motion to Modify, Extend, or Terminate PPO or Motion and Order to Dismiss Action for PPO. Otherwise, the order will remain in effect until the date the judge originally set for it to expire. It is at the judge’s discretion whether or not to modify/dissolve a PPO, not the Petitioner or Respondent’s. A form to modify (change the terms of) or dissolve (dismiss) the PPO is available in the Circuit Court Family Division or County Clerk's Office. The same form is used to change any of the terms of the order (i.e. your new home/work address).

The Respondent may move to modify or rescind the PPO within 14 days after service or actual notice, or for good cause shown after the 14 days have elapsed. A hearing must be held within 14 days after a request for modification or rescission.

A motion is also necessary to obtain a PPO which is effective longer than the time allowed in the ex-parte order.

PPO Forms



Contact Information

St. Clair County Prosecuting Attorney
201 McMorran Blvd., Suite 3300
Port Huron, MI 48060

Phone: (810) 985-2400
Fax: (810) 985-2424
Email: Prosecuting Attorney

Photos courtesy of the Port Huron Times Herald and St. Clair County Sheriff's Department