Temporary Extreme Risk Protective Orders in NJ
Temporary Seizure of Firearms under New Jersey Red Flag Laws
Sadly, many of our country’s mass shootings could have been prevented because the shooter showed early warning signs of mental illness. In order to be more proactive in trying to eliminate these tragic events, many states have enacted extreme risk protective procedures, otherwise referred to as “red-flag” laws. In recent years, New Jersey joined those states where it proposed a series of gun-related laws aimed at reducing gun-violence and mass shooters. Among these bills, which was later enacted into law, was the Extreme Risk Protective Order Act, codified under N.J.S. 2C:58-20, et. al. The goal of the legislation is to remove firearms from dangerous and unpredictable individuals before it is too late. If your guns and weapons were taken in connection with a Temporary Extreme Risk Protective Order (TERPO) in Bergen County, Morris County, Essex County, Hudson County, Passaic County, Union County, Ocean County, or elsewhere in New Jersey, The Tormey Law Firm is here for you.
Our attorneys have valuable knowledge of the laws and procedural requirements in these cases and we are prepared to represent your best interests at your upcoming hearing. We will thoroughly review the situation with you, build the best case in defense of your mental health and safety, and vigorously pursue the return of your weapons. For more information and a free consultation, contact us at (201)-614-2474 now. We are also happy to set up a meeting with you at one of our local offices in Hackensack, New Brunswick, Morristown, Newark, and Middletown. Don’t delay in getting the legal support and advocacy you need, as time in limited before you need to be represented in court.
Who can File for a Temporary Extreme Risk Protective Order in New Jersey?
A Temporary Extreme Protective Order is a temporary order and will remain in place until a hearing can be scheduled by the court. The purpose of the hearing is to determine whether a permanent or final protective order needs to be entered. A temporary order can only be requested by two types of individuals: law enforcement or family and household members. Family and household members are defined as spouses or former spouses, dating or former dating partners, any person who shares a child or expects to share a child with the respondent of the order, and any person who lives or formerly lived in the same household as the respondent. In essence, a person who shares a familial or domestic type of relationship with the respondent. The respondent is the person who is being accused of posing a risk by having access to a firearm.
If a family or household member is the petitioner, the statute provides that the police are required to assist the person in preparing the application. They are obligated to explain the procedures, aid in preparing the documents, and may also join in the petition. However, what typically occurs is the police receive a complaint and based upon the information they receive, file the petition themselves.
Furthermore, it’s important to note, a licensed health care practitioner may contact the police to report a concern. Physicians are under statutory mandate, knowns as the duty to warn, to notify the chief of police if the doctor learns of a threat of future imminent danger from a patient. Upon receiving the report, the chief of police may file a petition for a temporary order so as long as the officer has probable cause to believe that the individual poses an immediate and present danger of causing bodily injury to him or herself, or to others by having control of a firearm.
Where Can I File for a TERPO in NJ?
A petition for a Temporary Extreme Risk Protective Order may be filed at the Superior Court or with the local police. When filing, it is best to proceed to the court if you are filing between 9:00 am and 4:00 pm. If the petition is being sought outside those time frames, the applicant should visit his or her local police department and after speaking to an officer, a Municipal Court Judge will be contacted.
The request for the temporary order must be filed in the same county where the respondent resides. If he or she lives out-of-state, then the petition must be filed in the same county where the petitioner lives. Additionally, if a person mistakenly seeks to file for an order in the wrong location, the police are instructed to contact the correct municipality and have the local agency file the petition on their behalf.
How Do I Apply to Get Someone Else’s Guns Removed in NJ?
Once the person seeking the order is in the proper location, he or she must explain to the police or judge why a protective order is needed. The petitioner should outline their concerns and explain why he or she believes that the respondent poses an immediate and present danger of bodily injury to themselves or to others by controlling a firearm. Additionally, the issue the order, the court is instructed to consider a number of factors set forth under the statute. The factors relate to the respondent’s background such as, any mental health or substance abuse concerns, any prior arrests or convictions, any prior restraining orders or domestic violence related incidents, or any history concerning animal abuse. Thus, if applicable, it’s important to outline those factors to the police or court.
After the preliminary paperwork is complete, the petition will be reviewed by a Judge ex parte, meaning one side only. Because protective orders are deemed emergent matters, there is insufficient time to contact the subject of the order and hold a full hearing. Rather, the court will review the petition, hear testimony from the petitioner, listen to any other witnesses, and review any relevant documents put forward. Based upon the evidence produced, the court will decide whether to enter a temporary order of protection. If the order is granted, a full hearing will scheduled to be heard in 10 days or less.
A Temporary Extreme Risk Protective Order has been Issued Against Me, What Next?
You should consult with and retain an experienced attorney right away. Seeking to get your firearms back is a complex legal matter and the state takes these cases extremely seriously. In fact, the court often airs on the side of caution when considering whether you pose a danger to yourself or others. Thus, you need a lawyer with a comprehensive understanding of the laws in New Jersey and what can be done to protect your constitutional rights.
Need a Lawyer for Extreme Risk Protective Order Firearms Case in NJ? Contact us Today
If you have concerns regarding a loved one with access to weapons or if you yourself have been served with a temporary extreme risk protective order, please contact our office at your earliest convenience for assistance. Our attorneys represent individuals on both sides of TERPO weapons seizure cases and we will stand on your side in pursuit of your desired outcome. Contact us at (201)-614-2474 to discuss your case with one of our talented weapons attorneys in New Jersey.