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Extreme Risk Protection Orders

The Extreme Risk Protection Order: What is it?

A family member or the police can ask the court to restrain a person from possessing firearms. They file a written petition with the court that gives the reason why they think the person should not possess firearms.  If the judge agrees, the judge can order a person not to possess firearms for a period of one year. The judge can also order the person to get a mental health evaluation and a chemical dependency assessment.   

The Consequences of the Extreme Risk Protection Order: Gun loss and stigma.

Loss of Second Amendment rights is significant to many people but not to everyone.  Some people don't own or possess guns and never will. But for everyone, the label of being a judge labeling you an “extreme risk” or a “significant danger” to others is a big problem. This type of court order screams, “Watch out! This person is a high risk for gun violence." The can effect housing, education, career and basic happiness.  

How People Can Find Out About an Extreme Risk Protection Order

Licensed gun dealers, must run a NICS check on a buyer.  This background check will reveal those who have been limited by court order from possessing a firearm.  But what if you aren't concerned about buying a gun at all? What if you're concerned about school or an employment background check?

Anyone can easily find out about an Extreme Risk Protection Order.  The extreme risk protection order case can be found at the Washington State Courts website by a simple name search.  A person's court cases will pop up.  Click on the case number and the Extreme Risk Protection Order proceeding is there. With the case number, anyone can go look up the court file and see the documents filed with the court and exactly what was alleged.

Petitions for ERPOs do not contain flattering stories or complete pictures of a respondent. The petitions set forth the detailed reasons why the petitioner believes the respondent is a substantial danger to self or others.

Avoiding An Extreme Risk Protection Order

You have a right to a hearing and you have a right to lawyer.  You have a right to have a judge listen to the evidence and make a decision.  The Petitioner must prove that you are a substantial danger and must do that with evidence.  There are many factors the court looks too like history of violence, history of protection orders, mental illness, to name a few.   The court can look at statutory factors (those are the factors specifically described in the statute) and the court can look at any other factors that are relevant.  The first and most important thing to do to give yourself a chance is to start with a lawyer who knows how to prepare you and your case for this important proceeding.

Please feel free to contact us for help.  (206) 933-2414.

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