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A Personal Protection Order (PPO) is a court order, signed by a Judge, that restrains named individuals from contacting you. A PPO is obtained by filing a "petition" for protection with the court. A PPO can provide important relief and protection in certain circumstances. But remember, filing for a PPO is a serious matter.
In order to determine if a PPO is necessary you must determine if you are at great risk of harm. To help evaluate the risk look at the following factors:
If any of those are happening, it may be necessary to take the serious step of filing for a PPO.
To get a personal protection order, follow these steps:
Contact the Police. The personal protection order is a court order which all parties must obey. If an act prohibited by the protection order is committed, then the violator / respondent may be found in contempt of court. First, however, you must report the violation. Call the police immediately - don’t wait a few hours or even a few minutes. Tell the police that you have a personal protection order and tell them what was done to violate that order. A listing of area law enforcement agencies is located in the ‘Law Enforcement Section" of the Muskegon County Prosecutor’s Website. Once the police arrive they will make a determination whether they can arrest the respondent.
Personal Protection Order Violation Hearing At a hearing on a violation of a personal protection order, if the Court finds that a violation has occurred, the respondent can be sentenced to a maximum of 93 days in jail and / or be assessed a fine of not more than $500. If the Court finds that a violation has not occurred, the respondent will be released.
You have certain responsibilities for not causing the PPO to be violated. For example you cannot invite the respondent to come over to your house, you cannot go to the respondent’s house, you cannot go with or meet the respondent for dinner. You cannot socialize with the respondent on any occasion, including birthdays and holidays. Additionally, you cannot intentionally appear at a location where you know this person will be, with the intent of then claiming a violation of the PPO.
If you disregard or try to get around any of the Court’s no-contact provisions you could even be found in contempt of court. A PPO can provide you with security during troubled times. But it should not be abused or ignored.
If you have any questions concerning personal protection orders, the Victim Services Unit of the Muskegon County Prosecutor’s Office can be of assistance and can aid you in obtaining and enforcing a personal protection order in appropriate situations. The Victim Services Unit can be reached at 231-724-6676.