Request an Extreme Risk Protection Order
Contact for Request an Extreme Risk Protection Order
Boston Municipal Court Department and District Court Department
The Details of Request an Extreme Risk Protection Order
What you need for Request an Extreme Risk Protection Order
A family or household member or the police department in the city or town where the respondent lives can file an ERPO petition. To request an ERPO, you must first fill out a Petition for Extreme Risk Protection Order (FS-1). You should provide as much information as possible about the specific statements, actions, or facts that show the respondent poses a risk of physically hurting themselves or others by having firearms, rifles, shotguns, machine guns, stun guns, or ammunition and a license to possess or carry guns. You should also provide as much information as possible about how many firearms the respondent has access to and where those firearms are. If necessary, provide any paperwork that will help the judge decide whether to issue an order.
In addition to the petition, you must also fill out:
The information you provide on the Petitioner Confidential Information form will be used to provide notifications regarding any changes or modifications to the ERPO. It may also be provided to the police if they need more information to serve the order on the respondent. Otherwise, the information in the Petitioner Confidential Information form isn’t available to the public. Except for your home and work address, the information is also not given to the respondent, although you may ask the court to not give that address information to the respondent as well. If you have a good reason why any other information provided shouldn’t be available to the public, you must file a Motion for Impoundment.
How to request Request an Extreme Risk Protection Order
- If you're asking for an order during court business hours — File a petition in the clerk’s office in the District Court location or BMC location for the city or town where the respondent lives.
- If you're asking for an order during non-court business hours — Go to the police station in the city or town where the respondent lives and tell the police that you’d like to file a petition for an ERPO. If you can’t go to the police station in the city or town where the respondent lives, go to the closest police station.
Next steps for Request an Extreme Risk Protection Order
For emergency orders (after court hours)
A police officer will call an “on-call” judge and tell the judge that you’re asking for an emergency ERPO. The police officer will read your petition to the judge over the phone, or the judge may ask that you read the petition over the phone. The judge may also ask you questions.
If the judge issues an emergency ERPO, the order is temporary, and will only be in effect until the end of the next court day, when court closes for business at 4:30 p.m.
The judge will have a police officer in the city or town where the respondent lives serve the order to the respondent. If you want the order to be in effect longer than the end of the next court day, you must go to the District Court or Boston Municipal Court for the city or town where the respondent lives at 9:00 a.m. and tell the clerk’s office that an on-call judge issued an emergency ERPO during non-court hours that you’d like to have extended. If the police have already provided the petition that you submitted at the police station to the clerk, you won’t have to fill out a new petition for the judge’s consideration — if they haven’t, you’ll need to fill out a new petition and information forms.
During court hours
You’ll have to appear in front of a judge. You shouldn’t leave the courthouse until you’ve appeared in front of a judge and the judge has ruled on your petition. A judge may not review and rule on your petition unless you’re in the courthouse. If the judge allows your petition, an emergency ERPO will issue and will be in effect for up to 10 days. The judge will tell a law enforcement officer to serve a copy of the order on the respondent.
If the judge issues an emergency order in court, the judge will schedule a hearing which the respondent has a right to be at with or without a lawyer. Even if the judge doesn’t issue an emergency order, but thinks that a hearing is necessary, they can still schedule a hearing with notice to the respondent. This hearing will happen within 10 days of filing of the petition.
You, and your lawyer, if you decide to be represented by one, should come to this hearing, regardless of whether the respondent comes to the hearing.
At this hearing, you must establish that it’s more likely than not that the respondent poses a risk of hurting themselves or others by controlling, owning or possessing a gun or ammunition.
If an ERPO is issued after a full hearing, it will be in effect for one year, or for less than one year as ordered by the judge. When an order is issued, the judge will give a specific date for when the order will expire.
More info for Request an Extreme Risk Protection Order
After a judge issues an ERPO, both you and the respondent have the right to ask the court to change, suspend, or terminate the order at any time. If either party makes such a request, the judge will hold a hearing. If the respondent makes the request, the clerk’s office will notify you. The court is also required to notify a petitioner 30 days before an order is set to expire.
If you want to renew the order, you must go to court on the date that the order is set to expire and fill out a new petition, checking the box that says that you’re asking that the order be renewed. If you don’t go to court on that date, the order will expire. If you can’t appear in court that day, you should call the clerk’s office and tell them that you can’t appear.
After an ERPO is terminated or expires, a license to possess/carry firearms won’t be reinstated, and any surrendered items won’t be returned unless the police department where the respondent lives decides that the respondent is suitable to be licensed and to possess or carry firearms. For questions on the suitability process, please contact your local police department.
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Contact for Request an Extreme Risk Protection Order