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Legal Information: Michigan

Restraining Orders

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March 27, 2024

Who is eligible for a non-domestic sexual assault personal protection order?

A non-domestic sexual assault personal protection order (PPO) can be issued against someone who is not a family or household member who has committed sexual assault against you or threatened sexual assault against you. In addition, a minor may be eligible to apply against someone who gave him/her obscene material. (Note: 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 non-domestic sexual assault personal protection order if any of the following are true:

  • s/he has been convicted of a sexual assault against you;1
  • s/he has subjected you to, threatened you with, or placed you in reasonable fear of sexual assault but has not been convicted for doing so;2
  • if you are a minor, s/he has previously been convicted of giving you obscene material;1 or
  • if you are a minor, s/he has given you obscene material but has not been convicted for doing so.2 (Note: Obscene material is defined as written material containing obscene language, or obscene prints, pictures, figures or descriptions that could “corrupt a child’s morals.” You can read the full definition on our Selected Michigan Statutes page).

1 MCL § 600.2950a(2)(a)
2 MCL § 600.2950a(2)(b)

What kinds of non-domestic sexual assault personal protection orders are there? How long do they last?

A non-domestic sexual assault 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 non-domestic sexual assault 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 one business day 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.1

A temporary non-domestic sexual assault personal protection order will last for at least 182 days, approximately six months, unless the respondent request a hearing and, at that hearing, the judge shortens or dismisses the order. The respondent generally has 14 days from when s/he is served with 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.”2 The hearing will generally be held within 14 days of when the motion was filed, except it will be held within five days if the respondent:

  • 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;
  • is a local corrections officer or a department of corrections employee; or
  • is a federal law enforcement officer who carries a firearm during the normal course of his or her employment.3

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 sexual assault PPO be extended?

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

What protections can I get in a non-domestic sexual assault personal protection order?

In an ex parte or final non-domestic sexual assault personal protection order, the judge can order the respondent not to:

  • go onto a specific piece of property or into a specific place;
  • threaten to sexually assault, kill, or physically harm you or someone else;
  • attend school in the same building as you – but this only applies if you are a minor who has been the victim of sexual assault and you and the abuser are both enrolled in a public or private school from kindergarten to 12th grade;
  • buy or have a firearm;
  • interfere with your efforts to remove your children or personal property from a home or place that is solely owned or leased by the respondent;
  • show up at your home or workplace;
  • interfere with you at your workplace or school or do anything that harms your employment or educational relationships/environment;
  • follow you or come within your sight;
  • approach you or confront you in a public place or on private property;
  • go onto, remain on, place an object on, or deliver an object to, property owned, leased, or occupied by you;
  • contact you by telephone, text message, mail, or email;
  • post any messages through the Internet, a computer, or any electronic medium that violates the law against posting messages through an electronic medium without consent; and
  • do any other specific act or behave in a way that interferes with your personal liberty or that causes you to be in reasonable fear of violence or sexual assault.1

1 MCLA § 600.2950a(2),(3)

If the abuser lives in a different state, can I still get an order against him/her?

When you and the abuser live in different states, the judge may not have power (“personal jurisdiction”) over an out-of-state abuser. This means that the court may not be able to grant an order against him/her.

There are a few ways that a court can have personal jurisdiction over an out-of-state abuser:

  1. The abuser has a substantial connection to your state. Perhaps the abuser regularly travels to your state to visit you, for business, to see extended family, or the abuser lived in your state and recently fled.
  2. One of the acts of abuse “happened” in your state. Perhaps the abuser sends you threatening texts or harassing phone calls from another state but you read the messages or answer the calls while you are in your state. The judge could decide that the abuse “happened” to you while you were in your state. It may also be possible that the abuser was in your state when s/he abused you s/he but has since left the state.
  3. If you file your petition and the abuser gets served with the court petition while s/he is in your state, this is another way for the court to get jurisdiction.

However, even if none of the above apply to your situation, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t get an order. If you file, you may be granted an order on consent or the judge may find other circumstances that allow the order to be granted.

You can read more about personal jurisdiction in our Court System Basics - Personal Jurisdiction section.

Note: If the judge in your state refuses to issue an order, you can file for an order in the courthouse in the state where the abuser lives. However, remember that you will likely need to file the petition in person and attend various court dates, which could be difficult if the abuser’s state is far away.