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Know the Laws: Michigan

UPDATED August 16, 2016

Non-Domestic Sexual Assault Personal Protection Orders

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A non-domestic sexual assault personal protection order (PPO) is a civil court order that is designed to protect you from someone who you do not have a family or household member relationship with who has committed or threatened sexual assault against you or given obscene materials to a minor.

Getting the order

back to topCan I get an order against a minor?

If you were abused by a minor, you may qualify for an order against him/her if the minor is at least 10 years old.  However, you cannot get an order against a minor of any age if the minor is your child (and is unemancipated).  Also, an unemanicpated minor child cannot get an order against his/her parent.*

MCL § 600.2950a(28) 

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back to topHow do I file and serve a non-domestic sexual assault PPO?

Filing
You can file for a non-domestic sexual assault personal protection order in the family division of circuit court.*  If the respondent is 18 or older, you can file in any county in Michigan, regardless of where you and the respondent live.*1  If the respondent is a minor, you can file in the county where either you live or the respondent lives (if s/he does not live in Michigan, you would file in the county where you live).*2  The respondent does not have to be arrested or charged with a crime to qualify.*  The steps to file may be similar to the steps for getting a domestic relationship PPO.

Service
The order can be served upon the respondent in one of the following ways:

  • personally,
  • by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, with delivery restricted to the addressee (respondent) at his/her last known address(es) or
  • by any other method allowed by the Michigan Court Rules.
If the respondent is under 18 years old, his/her parent, guardian, or custodian must also be served in one of the ways listed above.*3  If it is not clearly written on the order, you may want to ask the judge how you are supposed to serve the order.

Note: If the respondent has not been served, a law enforcement officer or clerk of the court who knows that the order exists may, at any time, serve the respondent with a copy of the order or verbally advise him/her of the existence of the order, of the specific terms of the order, the penalties for violating the order, and where the respondent can get a copy of the order.  This type of oral notice (or oral "service") would still be considered valid service.*3  Often times, oral notice of the order may happen if you call the police due to a violation of the order and the respondent has not yet been served.  At that point, the officer is supposed to serve the respondent with a true copy of the order or “serve” him/her orally with the information described in the first sentence of this paragraph.  Then the respondent would be given the chance to comply with (follow) the PPO before s/he can be arrested for violating it.*4

* MCL § 600.2950a(1)
*1 MCR 3.703(E)(1)
*2 MCR 3.703(E)(2) & MCL 712A.2(h)
*3 MCL § 600.2950a(18)
*4 MCL § 600.2950a(22)

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back to topHow much does it cost to file for and serve a non-domestic sexual assault PPO?

There is no fee to get the forms for a PPO* but it seems that some counties may charge a fee to file the forms in court. Michigan law specifically says that fees cannot be charged to file a motion to modify, terminate, extend, or to enforce a personal protection order if it is violated** and Michigan law states that a fee cannot be charged to start a civil action for a PPO*** (but as of 2017, some counties are still charging to file a PPO). 

When it comes to service, the petition and order can be served by anyone who is not a party to the case who is over 18. However, if you want law enforcement to serve it, service of PPO may cost anywhere from $10.00 to $100.00 depending on the travel costs associated with locating the respondent.****

* See MCLA 600.2950b(4)
** MCR 3.707(D); MCLA 600.2529(1)(e)
*** MCLA 600.2529(1)(a); MCL 3.703(A)
**** See PPO Instructions on Michigan Courts website

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back to topCan my non-domestic sexual assault PPO be extended?

Yes. To extend a non-domestic sexual assault PPO, you can file a motion to extend the order by requesting a new expiration date.  The motion must be filed with the court that issued the PPO no later than 3 days before the order is to expire.  The court must act on the motion within 3 days after it is filed.

If you do not file the motion to extend within this timeframe, you may still be able to file a new petition for a new PPO against the respondent and start the process all over again.*

* MCR § 3.707(B)(1)

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back to topWill someone be able to search on the Internet to see that I have a PPO?

Probably not.  A new law that went into effect in September 2014 makes it clear that courts are prohibited from making available to the public on the Internet any information regarding the registration of, filing of a petition for, or the issuance of PPO if such publication would be likely to publicly reveal the identity or location of the party protected under the order.*

* MCR 3.705(C)

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back to topWhere can I find additional information on sexual assault?

You can read more about sexual assault on our Sexual Assault/Rape page and our Marital/Partner Rape page.  You can also find support resources on our National Organizations page for Rape/Sexual Assault.

For help with filing for a non-domestic sexual assault personal protection order, you may find legal referrals on our MI Finding a Lawyer page.

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WomensLaw.org thanks Cheryl Rogers, Esq., Director of Nonprofit Legal & Management Assistance at the Michigan Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence for her help in reviewing these pages.

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