What to do if you have been served with an ERPO

I’ve been served with a Petition for an Extreme Risk Protection Order. What do I do now?

Read the papers served on you carefully. The document titled Temporary Extreme Protection Order – Without Notice or Extreme Risk Protection Order tells you when to appear in court. If you were served with a Temporary Extreme Protection Order – Without Notice, then you are prohibited from having any firearm and you must surrender any firearm you currently own or possess to the law enforcement agency that served you with the Petition and Order. You MUST obey the order until the hearing. 

What if I don’t obey the order?

Disobeying the order can result in being subject to both criminal and civil penalties. 

What if I don’t agree with what the order says?

If you disagree with the order that the petitioner is asking for, then you must come to the hearing and explain why you disagree with what the petitioner is requesting. You can read the Extreme Risk Protection Order statute (RCW Chapter 7.94 – Extreme Risk Protection Order Act). 

Should I go to the court hearing?

If you do not go to the hearing, the judge can extend the order against you for up to one year without hearing from you. 

Will I see the person who asked for the order at the court hearing?

Assume that the person who is asking for the order will attend the hearing. 

May I bring a witness to the court hearing?

You may bring witnesses or documents that support your case to the hearing. 

Do I need a lawyer?

It is not required, and you are not entitled to a free court-appointed attorney. You can ask the court clerk about free and low-cost legal services. 

How long does the order last?

If the court issued a temporary Extreme Risk Protection Order before the hearing, it will last until your hearing date. At that time, the court will decide whether to issue an order that can last for one year. 

Can I agree with the protected person to end or change the order?

No. Once the order is issued, only the judge can change or terminate it. You would have to file a request with the court to terminate the order. 

What if I need help to understand English?

At least one week prior to your hearing date, contact the court clerk and ask the court to provide an interpreter, which will be provided for you at no cost. If an interpreter is not available for your court date, you should ask someone who is over age 18 to interpret for you. 

What if I am deaf or hard of hearing?

Assistive listening systems, computer- assisted real-time captioning, or sign language interpreter services are available if you ask at least five court days before the hearing. Contact the clerk’s office.

**Information taken from www.protectionorder.org