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DOMESTIC VIOLENCE & PERSONAL
PROTECTION ORDERS INFORMATION

Personal Protection Order Enforcement

The Prosecutor represents the state's interest in prosecuting those persons who violate personal protection orders.  The prosecutor does not become involved in the case until someone has filed a violation of an already existing personal protection order and the court has presented the violation to the prosecutor.  A personal protection order is a civil protection order against domestic violence that provides a combination of civil and criminal remedies to prevent abuse.  A person may file for a protection order against a spouse or former spouse, a person with whom the petitioner has had a child in common, a person who resides or who has resided in the same household as the petitioner, a person with whom the petitioner has or has had a “dating relationship.”  A violation of a personal protection order requires proof by a preponderance that the respondent has committed one of the refrained from actions listed in their personal protection order which may include:

  • Enter onto the premises
  • Assaulting, attacking, beating, molesting, or wounding a named person
  • Threatened to kill or physically injure a named person
  • Removing minor children from the person having legal custody of them, except as otherwise authorized by a custody or parenting order
  • Interfering with the petitioner's efforts to remove the petitioners children or personal property from the premises solely owned or leased by respondent
  • Purchaing or possessing a firearm
  • Interfering with the petitioners at the petitioner's place of employment or engaging in conduct that impairs the petitioners employment relationship or environment
  • Doing any other specific act that imposes upon or inerferes with personal liberty or that causes a reasonable apprehension of violence

Domestic Assault and Battery under Michigan Law

The Genesee County Prosecutors Office prosecutes domestic violence under MCL 750.81 which states in pertinent part: "an individual who assaults or assaults and batters his or her spouse or former spouse, an individual with whom he or she has or has had a dating relationship, an individual with whom he or she has had a child in common, or a resident or former resident of his or her household, is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than 93 days or a fine of not more than $500.00 or both."

Repeat Offenders
An individual who has one prior conviction for the above-listed offense and is convicted a second time faces a possible penalty of one (1) year imprisonment or a fine of not more than $1,000.00, or both.  An individual with two prior convictions of domestic violence who is convicted again faces a possible penalty of two (2) years imprisonment or a fine of not more than $2,500.00, or both.

Aggravated Domestic Assault under Michigan Law
MCL 750.81a provides for even stiffer penalties for those individuals who commit domestic violence which causes serious or aggravated injury upon the victim.  In those situations, the possible penalty increases to 1 year or a fine of not more than $1,000.00, or both, for first time offenders and possibly 2 years imprisonment or a fine of $2,500.00, or both, for subsequent offenses.

Pleading Guilty to Domestic Violence "Under the Statute"
A defendant with no prior domestic violence convictions may be offered the opportunity to plead guilty under MCL 769.4a which allows the defendant to be placed on a term of probation (usually one-year) and attend an anger management program authorized by the Court.  Upon successful completion of the terms of the probation, the person is discharged from probation and the case is dismissed by the Court.  An individual may only have one discharge and dismissal under this section.  The Genesee County Prosecutor's Office takes many variables into consideration before agreeing to a "plea under the statute."  Such variables include the overall evidence and facts of the case and the wishes of the victim.  The final decision whether to ask the Court to allow a "plea under the statute" or even possible dismissal of a case before trial rests with the Prosecutor even though the victim may be asking that the case be dismissed.  This is due to the common knowledge that victims of domestic violence are oftentimes under the control of the defendant and are intimidated.

Image: Cycle of Violence

Domestic abuse is verbal, physical and sexual behaviors in which a person in a relationship uses control, intimidation and force to dominate the other person. It is an escalating cycle that may start in a subtle manner that diminishes the victim's self-esteem to the point that eventually the victim may feel like they deserve the treatment they are getting.

The forms of abuse may be different in every case. These are examples of different types of abuse:

  • Emotional abuse: Degrading the victim--Ex: You are ugly, fat, stupid-nobody would want you. You don't do anything right. Don't you know anything? Showing the victim "the right way to do it."    Emotional abuse also includes calling the victim names, cutting down his/her friends and family. The abuser may play mind games to confuse the victim or keep them off guard. The abuser will attack the victim's self-esteem and belittle them to gain control. The abuser may be very possessive.

  • Threatening: The abuser may threaten the victim with physical harm by words or physical actions--Ex. You better be home by 5:30 p.m. or I will hurt you or the kids. Abusers may also have a secret warning look or action to control the victim--Ex:  Sneering at the victim or raising their hand to indicate they are about to slap the victim when nobody is looking.

  • Physical abuse: Pushing, shoving, slapping, choking, kicking, grabbing, beating, pulling hair, tripping, biting, using weapons, punching. Many abusers will try not to leave visible marks on the victim so others aren't aware of what is happening. Usually the abuser will make the victim feel like they deserve or caused the abuse.  The abuser may be extremely nice after the abuse to convince the victim that things aren't as bad as they seem.

  • Stalking: Following the victim, leaving notes, calling, sitting outside the victim's work or home.

  • Sexual assault or abuse: Forced or unwanted sexual activity or assault of private areas of the body.

  • Isolation: Controlling where the victim goes and who the victim sees or talks to, moving to an area away from family and friends.

  • Economic abuse: Not allowing the victim to work, controlling the finances, not allowing the victim to have money or giving a small allowance, making the victim ask for money or explain when money is spent.

If you have been a victim of Domestic Violence, contact the police department immediately by dialing 9-1-1. (See list of Police Departments) You may also contact the YWCA 24-hour crisis line at

(810) 238-SAFE or 810-238-7233.  You may also want to obtain a Personal Protection Order at the Genesee County Circuit Court, 2nd floor-east located at 900 S. Saginaw St., Flint, Michigan. The phone number for the Personal Protection Order office is (810) 257-3610.

 


Image: YWCA
Image: Safe House (YWCA)