Who is eligible for a non-domestic stalking personal protection order?
A non-domestic stalking personal protection order (PPO) can be issued based on stalking (including aggravated stalking) or cyberstalking, as defined below, even if it’s never reported to the police. (If you have one of the domestic relationships described here, you would file for a domestic relationship PPO instead.)
Stalking is when someone commits harassment against you two or more times and it reasonably causes you to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or bothered (“molested”). Harassment is repeated, unwanted contact that has no valid purpose and that reasonably causes you to suffer emotional harm (distress). It includes, but is not limited to:
- 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.1
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 posted 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 two or more separate acts of harassment (by anyone) against you.
- The respondent has the intention of causing someone to act in a way that would terrorize, frighten, intimidate, threaten, harass, or bother (“molest”) you and you actually do feel one of those emotions as a result of actions someone committed based on the post.
- You suffer emotional distress as a result of actions someone committed based on the post.3
Note: Someone who is in prison cannot apply for a stalking personal protection order while incarcerated.4
1 MCL § 750.411h(a)-(e)
2 MCL § 750.411i(2)
3 MCL § 750.411s(1)
4 MCL § 600.2950a(31)
What 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.1
A temporary stalking personal protection order will generally 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 stalking 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 stalking personal protection order?
In an ex parte or final non-domestic stalking personal protection order (PPO), the judge can order the respondent not to:
- follow you or appear within your 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 deliver an object to) property owned, leased, or occupied by you;
- threaten to kill or physically injure you;
- 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);
- purchase or possess a firearm; and
- 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.1
1 MCL § 600.2950a(1); see Michigan Courts website, PPO petition form cc380
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 “personal jurisdiction” (power) 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.