Final Extreme Risk Protective Order Hearing Attorneys in NJ
New Jersey Gun Rights Defense Lawyers for Clients with Weapons Removed
New Jersey has enacted a series of new laws focused on reducing gun violence. In one such example, the Extreme Risk Protective Order Act was passed as a proactive measure to remove dangerous weapons from individuals who display early warning signs of potential violence. This approach is not unique to New Jersey and many other states have similar legislation, which are commonly referred to as “red flag” laws. When a judge issues a Temporary Extreme Risk Protective Order (TERPO), the court will hold a hearing soon after at which point the case will be resolved in one of two ways. The judge will either decide to place a Final Extreme Risk Protective Order into effect, or to dismiss the temporary order. If the order becomes permanent, a person will be prohibited from having a gun, ammunition, or related permits moving forward.
If you have an upcoming hearing for a final extreme risk protective order in New Jersey, you are well-advised to retain knowledgeable legal counsel if you want to maintain your rights to own weapons and get your guns returned. Going to this highly complicated legal proceeding alone can be disastrous, as you may be permanently barred from possessing a firearm for the rest of your life if the outcome goes the wrong way. In fact, you may lose your rights under the Second Amendment if you are deemed to be a danger to your own safety or dangerous to the public at large. The red flag laws that apply in New Jersey may be used to remove your weapons in Bergen County, Morris County, Essex County, Passaic County, Hudson County, Middlesex County, and throughout the state, so consulting with a lawyer as soon as possible is of paramount importance if you become involved in one of these cases. To discuss your particular situation with an experienced NJ firearms attorney at The Tormey Law Firm who can advise you about what happens next and what can be done to preserve your interests, contact us at (201)-614-2474. We can be reached anytime, day or night, to assist you. Consultations are free and entirely confidential, so we encourage you to reach out at your earliest convenience.
What is a Final Extreme Risk Protective Order (FERPO)?
A Final Extreme Risk Protective Order is a permanent court order that forbids a person from possessing a firearm, ammunition, or permit. The order will remain in place and be enforceable unless and until another court order is entered vacating the restrictive mandate. To determine whether an order is necessary, a hearing will be held in the Superior Court and both the petitioner and respondent can testify, call witnesses, and present documents and material to support their respected cases. In deciding whether to issue a final order, the Judge will be narrowing in on the following factors:
- Is there any history of threats or acts of violence;
- Is the respondent the subject of a temporary or final restraining order;
- Has the respondent violated the temporary or final restraining order;
- Does the respondent have any prior arrests, pending charges, or convictions for criminal offenses;
- Does the respondent have any prior arrests, pending charges, convictions for offenses related to the cruelty to animals;
- Is there any history of alcohol or drug use;
- Is there any history of mental health treatment or civil commitments;
- Has the respondent recently acquired a firearm, ammunition, or any other deadly weapon;
- Has the respondent recklessly used or brandished a firearm; and
- Are there prior extreme risk protective orders and has the respondent violated the terms of the order.
If, after hearing all the evidence and weighing the listed factors, the court finds, by a preponderance of evidence, that the respondent poses a significant danger of bodily injury to self or others by possessing a firearm, the court shall issue a final protective order. The order itself will prohibit the respondent from possessing a firearm as well as forbid the person from securing or holding a firearms purchaser identification card, permit to purchase a handgun, and permit to carry a firearm. The order shall also command the respondent to surrender to law enforcement any firearms, ammunition, and firearm related permits.
Who Can Seek a Protective Order for Firearms in NJ?
A protective order can only be requested by law enforcement or family and household members. A person will be accepted as family or household member if the individual is a spouse, former spouse, significant other, past dating partner, shares a child with the respondent, is pregnant and expects to share a child with the accused, or any person who lives or formerly lived in the same household as the respondent.
In most cases, the police will be petitioning the court. Typically, if during the course of their own duties, an officer discovers some information leading him or her to believe a specific individual poses a threat if armed with a firearm, the officer must file for a protective order. Also, if a family or household member visits the police and seeks to file for a protective order, the police can join or take over the petition if they have good cause to believe the individual may be dangerous if armed.
However, it is lawful for a family or household member to petition the court themselves. Under those circumstances, the statute provides that the police are required to assist the person in preparing the application. They are obligated to explain the procedures and assist in authoring the court documents, which must be sworn to under oath and under the penalties of perjury.
Lastly, in addition a risk protective order, a family or household member can also simultaneously seek a restraining order. As discussed earlier, a protective order is a civil injunction preventing a person from possessing a firearm. A restraining order is a court ordered command barring a person from contacting another.
What does the Prosecutor do in an Extreme Risk Protective Order Case in NJ?
Whomever the petitioner, the county prosecutor is expected to play a role. More specifically, if a police officer is serving as the petitioner, the prosecutor shall advocate on behalf of the officer. If the petitioner is a family or household member, the State is not required to serve as an advocate but may assist in the process and serve as a “friend of the court.” Additionally, the prosecutor is obligated to provide as much background information about the respondent to the court as practically possible. The State should produce information related to the respondent’s criminal history, juvenile record, motor vehicle history, and any past or present restraining orders.
Consult a Hackensack NJ Final Extreme Risk Protective Order Lawyer Near You
If you have court for seizure of your weapons based on an extreme risk protective order in New Jersey, the time to seek answers is now. Our gun lawyers have experience handling FERPO hearings in Monmouth County, Union County, Somerset County, Warren County, Sussex County, and throughout the state and we understand what is on the line for you. Call (201)-614-2474 for a free consultation with a member of our team today.