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Legal Information: Michigan

Restraining Orders

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Updated: 
December 15, 2018

Can the abuser have a gun?

Once you get a protection order, there may be laws that prohibit the respondent from having a gun in his/her possession.  There are a few places where you can find this information:

  • first, read the questions on this page to see if judges in Michigan have to power to remove guns as part of a temporary or final order;
  • second, go to our State Gun Laws section to read about your state’s specific gun-related laws; and
  • third you can read our Federal Gun Laws section to understand the federal laws that apply to all states.

You can read more about keeping an abuser from accessing guns on the National Domestic Violence and Firearms Resource Center’s website

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

Probably not. The law says that courts are prohibited from making available to the public on the Internet any information regarding the registration of a PPO, the filing of a petition for a PPO, 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.1

1 MCR 3.705(C)

What should I do when I leave the courthouse?

These are some things you may want to consider after you have been granted a PPO.  Depending on what you think is safest in your situation, you may do any or all of the following:

  • Review the order before you leave the courthouse. If something is wrong or missing, ask the clerk how to correct the order before you leave.
  • Make several copies of the order as soon as possible.
  • Keep a copy of the order with you at all times.
  • Leave copies of the order at your workplace, at your home, at the children’s school or daycare, in your car, with a sympathetic neighbor, and so on.
  • Give a copy to the security guard or person at the front desk where you live and/or work along with a photo of the abuser.
  • Give a copy of the order to anyone who is named in and protected by the order.
  • You may wish to consider changing your locks (if permitted by law) and your phone number.

You may also wish to make a safety plan. People can do a number of things to increase their safety during violent incidents, when preparing to leave an abusive relationship, and when they are at home, work, and school. Many batterers obey orders of protection, but some do not and it is important to build on the things you have already been doing to keep yourself safe. Click on the following link for suggestions on Safety Tips.

What can I do if the abuser violates the order?

You can call the police, even if you think it is a minor violation. It can be a crime and contempt of court if the abuser knowingly violates the order in any way. A judge can punish someone for being in contempt of court if you file a violation/contempt petition in the court where you got the order to report the violation to the judge. In addition, the police can arrest him/her. In Michigan, if an abuser violates a domestic relationship personal protection order and is 17-years-old or older, the police can arrest him/her, and if s/he is found guilty of criminal contempt, the judge can sentence the abuser to serve up to 93 days in prison and pay a $500 fine.1 If the abuser is younger than 17-years-old and violates the order, police can take the abuser into custody and s/he may be subject to juvenile proceedings.2 If the police are not involved or do not arrest him/her, you still have the right to go to the Circuit Court and file a motion for criminal contempt (or motion to show cause) against the abuser.3 It may be a good idea to write down the name of the responding officer(s) and their badge number in case you want to follow up on your case.

1 MCLA 600.2950(11)(a)(i)
2 MCLA 600.2950(11)(a)(ii)
3 Michigan Court Motion and Order to Show Cause for Violating Valid Personal/Foreign Protection Order form.

Can a PPO be changed, terminated or extended?

You can file an ex parte motion to extend your order (without a hearing) by requesting a new expiration date. The motion to extend must be filed with the court that issued the PPO at least three days before the order is set to expire (and the court must act on the motion within three days after it is filed). However, even if you don’t file the motion to extend on time, you may still be able to start a new PPO proceeding against the abuser.1

You can file a motion to modify (change) or terminate the personal protection order any time after the personal protection order is issued.2 A hearing would be held where both parties can be present and the judge would decide whether or not to grant your request.

There are no fees to file a motion to modify, terminate, or extend a personal protection order.3

Note: The respondent (abuser) has the right to file a motion to modify or terminate an ex parte personal protection order or an ex parte order extending a personal protection order within 14 days after being served with, or receiving actual notice of, the order. If the respondent files any other motion to modify or terminate a personal protection at any other time, s/he must first show that there is “good cause” to do so.4

1 MCR 3.707(B)(1)
2 MCR 3.707(A)(1)(a)
3 MCR 3.707(D)
4 MCR 3.707(A)(1)(b)

What happens is I move? Will my PPO still be effective?

Your order is good throughout Michigan and the United States.  Additionally, the federal law provides what is called “full faith and credit,” which means that once you have a criminal or civil protection order, it follows you wherever you go, including U.S. Territories and tribal lands.1  If you do move within the state, it might be a good idea to call the clerk to change your address but be sure to tell the clerk that you need it to be kept confidential if the abuser does not know where you are living.

You may also want to call the National Center on Protection Orders and Full Faith and Credit (1-800-903-0111 x 2) for information on enforcing your order out of state.

Note: For information on enforcing a military protective order (MPO) off the military installation, or enforcing a civil protection order (CPO) on a military installation, please see our Military Protective Orders page.

1 18 U.S.C. § 2265

What can I do if a domestic relationship PPO is not issued against the abuser?

If the court refuses to grant a domestic relationship PPO, the judge must state in writing the specific reasons s/he refused to issue a personal protection order.  If a hearing is held, the judge must also immediately state on the record (so that it is in the transcript) the specific reasons s/he refuses to issue a PPO.1  If you believe that an error was made in denying you the order, you may want to show the transcript to a lawyer to ask if there are any legal grounds to appeal the decision.  You can read some basic information about appeals on our Filing Appeals page and for legal referrals, you can go to our MI Finding a Lawyer page.

If you are not granted a PPO, there are still some things you can do to stay safe. It might be a good idea to contact one of the domestic violence resource centers in your area to get help, support, and advice on how to stay safe. They can help you devise a safety plan and help connect you with the resources you need. To find a shelter or advocate in your area please visit our MI Advocates and Shelters page under the Places that Help tab on the top of this page.

Also, if an additional incident occurs, you may decide to re-apply for a PPO based on the new incident.

1 MCLA 600.2950(7)