An Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) is a tool that may help to prevent a crisis from turning into a tragedy. When someone you care about shows signs that they may be at risk of harming themselves or others, it can feel very scary and overwhelming. It can be helpful to know that there is something you can do to try and intervene.
Take a deep breath and give yourself a moment to walk through the steps of filing for an ERPO. Allow yourself time to think about what is concerning you about their behavior, download and fill out the forms, and plan to spend a few hours at the courthouse to file the petition and see the judge.
If you or someone else is in immediate danger, call 911.
Start the Process
In cases involving a high risk where delay could result in a tragedy, you may want to file for a Temporary ERPO, which would go into effect immediately if a judge believes, based on the evidence you provide, that the person poses a significant danger in the near future.
If you do not believe the person poses an immediate threat, or their firearms and concealed pistol license have already been removed, then you may want to petition for an ERPO without seeking a temporary or emergency order. For either type, you will need to complete a petition. The only difference is whether it goes into effect immediately or after that person is notified and a hearing takes place.
Fill out your petition forms.
These forms should capture and document the specific evidence and facts that show that someone is at a high risk for harming themselves or others. That person is called the “respondent.” All the forms and instructions are available here. Be prepared that the court may have additional forms for you to fill out once you appear.
Forms you may need include:
- Form XR 121: this is the Petition for a Temporary Extreme Protection Order-Without Notice—fill out all of this form if you are filing for a temporary ERPO. Download the instructions here.
- Form XR 101: this is the Petition for an Extreme Risk Protection Order—fill out all of this form if you are NOT filing for a temporary ERPO. Download the instructions here.
- Form XR 141: this is the Petitioner and Respondent information and “Respondent Identifiers”—fill out page 1 of this form. Download the instructions here.
- Form XR 102: this is a photo sheet showing examples of firearms.
File your petition with the court.
If you are seeking a Temporary ERPO, you may file your petition in any local court (District, Municipal or Superior Court).* After you fill out the forms, you must go in person to the clerk’s office of the court to file your petition. If you are not seeking a temporary order, you must file your petition in Superior Court. You’ll go to the Superior Court in the county where either you or the respondent lives. Find the address of the Superior Court for your county.
*All final ERPO hearings are held in Superior Court, even if you petition in a District or Municipal Court. The District or Municipal court will transfer the case to Superior Court for you. You just need to be sure to appear if you want the order to stay in effect.
Attend a temporary hearing.
If you file a petition for a Temporary ERPO, you may need to talk with a judge in a courtroom during a temporary hearing that same day. The judge will ask you questions and you will need to answer truthfully under oath. The judge will then decide whether or not to grant your petition.
Once you file the petition, the court will schedule a full hearing within two weeks, which is when the court will determine whether the Temporary ERPO will be extended for a full year.
Law enforcement notifies the respondent.
Law enforcement will visit the respondent to serve them with a copy of the petition you filed and inform them of the date of the full hearing. If a temporary order is issued, law enforcement will also remove their firearms and concealed pistol license at this time.
Appear at a hearing.
Because this is a civil order, you must appear at the hearing if you want the order to remain in place. If you do not appear at the hearing, the court will dismiss the case. You can hire an lawyer to represent you at the hearing—but you are not required to have one. The respondent will likely also be at this hearing and may also bring an lawyer.
Be prepared for the judge to ask you questions about why you filed the petition or ask you to speak about why the order should be put in place. The judge will also hear (or take testimony) from the respondent and/or the respondent’s lawyer. After hearing from both sides, the judge will decide whether or not to sign an ERPO, which lasts for a full year.
Law enforcement removes the firearms (if not already removed by a temporary order).
Once the ERPO has been granted by a judge, law enforcement will request that the respondent immediately turn over any and all firearms and concealed pistol licenses. If the firearms are not turned over immediately, the respondent must turn them in within 48 hours of receiving the order at the hearing.
Renew, if necessary.
An ERPO lasts for one year. If needed, it can be renewed, one year at a time. If you need to renew, you must fill out the renewal form (XR 151).
Termination: Please be aware that the respondent has the right to ask the court to end the order once per year. If the respondent chooses to seek a termination, you would be notified so that you can be heard about it. You have the right to oppose or agree to the termination.