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Extreme Risk Protective Order (ERPO) | Maryland ERPO Lawyer

When facing an Extreme Risk Protective Order (ERPO) in Maryland, it's crucial to understand what you're up against. These orders, often referred to as "Red Flag Laws," are civil orders that temporarily prohibit individuals from possessing firearms if a Judge or Comissioner makes a finding that they are a risk to themselves or others

At FrizWoods LLC, we are committed to helping you navigate through the legal maze that accompanies ERPOs, ensuring that your rights are upheld every step of the way.

Understanding an Extreme Risk Protective Order

The Extreme Risk Protective Order is a civil order issued by the court upon the request of a concerned party (the petitioner) who believes an individual (the respondent) poses an immediate and serious threat to themselves or others by possessing a firearm.

This special type of protective order is designed to disarm citizens who can otherwise lawfully own firearms.

Who Can File?

According to Maryland law, various individuals can file ERPOs against another person. A list of some of the eligible petitioners includes:

  • a physician, psychologist, clinical social worker, licensed clinical professional counselor, clinical nurse specialist in psychiatric and mental health nursing, psychiatric nurse practitioner, licensed clinical marriage or family therapist, or health officer or designee of a health officer who has examined the individual;
  • a law enforcement officer;
  • the spouse or a cohabitant of the respondent;
  • a person related to the respondent
  • an individual who has a child in common or is currently dating the respondent;
  • a parent or legal guardian of the respondent.

The Extreme Risk Protective Order Process

The process allows follows the same steps.

Step 1: Petition is filed

An ERPO begins with the petitioner filing a sworn petition detailing their concerns and the facts supporting them. The petition must be sworn under penalty of perjury and contain supporting documentation or information about:

  1. any unlawful, reckless, or negligent use, display, storage, possession, or brandishing of a firearm by the respondent;
  2. any act or threat of violence the respondent made against the respondent or against another, whether or not the threat of violence involved a firearm;
  3. any violation by the respondent of a protective order
  4. any violation by the respondent of a peace order
  5. any abuse of a controlled dangerous substance or alcohol by the respondent, including any conviction for a criminal offense involving a controlled dangerous substance or alcohol.

Step 2: Interim Extreme Risk Protective Order is Issued

When a petition is filed it first comes before a District Court COmissioner, who can issue or deny an interim extreme risk protective order. This order will begin the process and order the respondent to surrender to law enforcement authorities any firearm and ammunition in the respondent's possession; and prohibit the respondent from purchasing or possessing any firearm or ammunition for the duration of the interim extreme risk protective order.

A temporary extreme risk protective order is then set within the next two days as long as Court is open.

Step 3: Temporary Extreme Risk Protective Order is Issued

The court then reviews the petition and hears from the petitioner, which can occur without the respondent there, and, if it finds reasonable grounds, issues an temporary ERPO. This temporary order is valid for seven (7) days after it's served. It can be extended up to 6 months to make sure it's served.

Step 4: Final Extreme Risk Protective Order

A final extreme risk protective order hearing is typically held within a week of the issuance of a temporary order. At the final hearing a respondent can fully challenge the petitioner's case.

After hearing evidence the Judge will make a finding granting or denying the order based on a clear and convicing evidence standard. To issue the order the Judge must find that that the respondent poses a danger of causing personal injury to the respondent, the petitioner, or another by possessing a firearm. Judges must consider all evidence presented by the parties and the amount of time that has passed since any of the events described in the petition.

What is at stake?

If a Judge issues a final extreme risk protective order against a person they can become prohibited from possessing firearms for one year. If a person disobeys this order they can be jailed for contempt of Court.

The Potential for a Civil Commitment

If a comissioner at the temporary or a Judge at the interim believes that the respondent meets the requirements for emergency evaluation under Maryland law, a person may be refered emergency evaluation, which might mean being taken into custody and held at a hospital during evaluation.

How FrizWoods LLC Can Help

Facing an ERPO can be a daunting experience, but you don't have to face it alone. The seasoned attorneys at FrizWoods LLC stand ready to provide the legal support and representation you need during this challenging time.

Expert Legal Representation

With a wealth of experience in criminal defense, our attorneys understand the intricacies of Maryland's Red Flag Laws. We will work tirelessly to ensure your side of the story is heard and to seek a favorable outcome on your behalf.

Personalized Attention

At FrizWoods LLC, we believe in providing personalized attention to each client. We'll take the time to understand your situation, explore all available legal options, and devise a strategy tailored to your unique circumstances.

A Strong Defense Strategy

Whether challenging the factual basis of the ERPO or addressing any other related concerns, we will develop a robust defense strategy aimed at protecting your rights and interests.

The Implications of an ERPO

Although the filings related to an ERPO are confidential, an ERPO can have far-reaching implications on your life, affecting your reputation, employment, and even your personal relationships. Moreover, being subjected to an ERPO can feel like an infringement on your rights, particularly your Second Amendment right to bear arms. It can result in confiscation of firearms, which may be difficult to recover.

Real People, Real Results

Don't just take our word for it. We invite you to visit our reviews page to read testimonials from individuals we have represented in the past. Their experiences underscore our commitment to providing exceptional legal services to every client we serve.

Act Now: Protect Your Rights

If you or a loved one is facing an ERPO in Maryland, now is the time to act. The legal team at FrizWoods LLC is here to provide the expert legal representation you need to navigate this complex situation. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and learn how we can assist you in challenging an ERPO.