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Know the Laws: Michigan

UPDATED August 16, 2016

Non-Domestic Stalking Personal Protection Orders

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A non-domestic stalking personal protection order (PPO) is a civil court order that is designed to protect you from someone who with whom you do not have a family or household member relationship.

Basic info

back to topWho is eligible for a non-domestic stalking personal protection order?

A non-domestic stalking personal protection order (PPO) can be issued based on stalking or cyberstalking committed by someone who you do not have an intimate relationship with.  If you have one of the domestic relationships described here, you would file for a domestic relationship PPO instead.

You may be eligible to file for a stalking personal protection order if the respondent has stalked you or cyberstalked you, as described below. The respondent does not have to be arrested for the crime.

1) Stalking is when someone harasses you at least 2 or more times and it reasonably causes you to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or molested (bothered).*  "Harassment" is repeated or continuing unconsented contact with you that has no legitimate (valid) purpose and reasonably causes you to suffer emotional distress (harm).  For contact to be considered “unconsented contact,” it means that s/he contacts you without your consent (including if you agreed to the contact at first, but now you have asked the person to stop and s/he continues to contact you).  Unconsented contact includes, but is not limited to, any of the following:

  • Following you or appearing within your sight;
  • Approaching or confronting you in a public place or on private property;
  • Appearing at your workplace or home;
  • Entering onto, remaining on, or putting an object on property that you own, lease (rent), or that you are currently occupying;
  • Contacting you by telephone; or
  • Sending you mail, email or text messages.*
Note: This PPO can also be based on the respondent committing aggravated stalking, which is when the respondent stalks you in violation of a restraining order, probation, parole, makes a serious threat, or has a prior conviction for stalking.**  To read the exact definition, go to our MI Statutes page.

2) Cyberstalking, for the purposes of this PPO, is when the respondent commits the crime of posting or attempting to post messages about you through the Internet, computer or any other form of electronic communication without your consent – it doesn’t matter if the information is true or not true.  To qualify for a protection order under this ground, all of the following must be true:
  • The respondent knows or should know that posting the message could cause 2 or more acts of unconsented contact with you (by anyone).  (See above for the definition of "unconsented contact");
  • Posting the message is intended to cause conduct (behavior, acts) that would make you feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or molested; and
  • The conduct that comes from posting the message reasonably causes you to suffer emotional distress and to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or molested.***
Note: You cannot get a stalking personal protection order if you are currently a prisoner.****

* MCL § 750.411h(a)-(e)
** MCL § 750.411i(2)
*** MCL § 750.411s(1)
**** MCL § 600.2950a(31)

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back to topHow can a non-domestic stalking personal protection order help me?

In an ex parte or final non-domestic stalking personal protection order (PPO), the judge can order the respondent not to commit behaviors that make up stalking or cyberstalking as those crimes are defined by law.*  The PPO can (among other things) order the respondent not to do any or all of the following:

  • follow you or appear within you sight;
  • appear at your home or workplace;
  • approach or confront you in a public place or on private property;
  • enter onto or remain on property that is owned, leased, or occupied by you;
  • send you mail or other communications (such as email);
  • contact you by telephone;
  • place an object on or delivean object to property owned, leased, or occupied by you;
  • threaten to kill or physically injure you;
  • purchase or possess a firearm; and
  • post any messages in violation of section through the Internet, a computer or any electronic medium.**
* MCL § 600.2950a(1)
** See Michigan Courts website, PPO petition form cc380

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back to topWhat kinds of non-domestic stalking personal protection orders are there? How long do they last?

A non-domestic stalking personal protection order (PPO) can be issued ex parte or after the respondent is notified and a hearing is held.

Temporary ex parte order
When you file for a stalking personal protection order, you could get a temporary ex parte order, which means it is issued without written or oral notice to the respondent or his/her attorney.  The judge must make a decision on whether to issue you an ex parte order within 24 hours of when you file the petition.  An ex parte personal protection order is only supposed to be issued if the allegations in your complaint clearly show that:

  • immediate and severe injury, loss, or damage will result if you have to wait for the respondent to be notified before you get the order; or
  • notifying the respondent would put you in danger.*
A temporary stalking personal protection order will last for at least 182 days (approximately 6 months) unless it is shortened or dismissed by a judge at a hearing that the respondent requests.  The respondent generally has 14 days from when s/he is served with (receives notice of) the order in which s/he can file a motion to modify or dismiss the order and request a hearing.  The time to file the motion can be extended beyond 14 days if there is "good cause."**  The hearing will generally be held within 14 days of when the motion was filed, except it will be held within 5 days if the stalker:
  • has a license to carry a concealed weapon and is required to carry a weapon as a condition of his or her employment,
  • is a police officer sheriff, a deputy sheriff or a member of the Michigan department of state police,
  • a local corrections officer or a department of corrections employee, or
  • a federal law enforcement officer who carries a firearm during the normal course of his or her employment.***
Final personal protection order
If there is a hearing on a petition for PPO and the judge issues an order after the hearing, the order will be a final order that can last for any length of time ordered by the judge.

You may also be able to extend your order.  See Can my non-domestic stalking PPO be extended?

* MCL § 600.2950a(12); see also MCR § 3.705(A)(1)
** MCL § 600.2950a(13)
*** MCL § 600.2950a(14); see also MCR § 3.707(A)(2)

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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 stalking PPO?

Filing
You can file for a non-domestic stalking 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 stalking or any other 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 a non-domestic stalking PPO and to have it served?

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

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

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back to topCan my non-domestic stalking PPO be extended?

Yes. To extend a non-domestic stalking 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 stalking?

You can read more about stalking on our Stalking/Cyberstalking page.   Here are a couple of additional resources you may want to look into: 

  • Safety Net, a project of the National Network to End Domestic Violence, specializes in technology safety. 
  • You may also want contact someone at the National Center for Victims of Crime's Stalking Resource Center at 1-800-FYI-CALL or gethelp@ncvc.org.  The Stalking Resource Center also has information on their website about stalking and cyberstalking, as well as safety tips and resources.

For help with filing for a non-domestic stalking 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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