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Important note: Although courts may be closed or accepting limited cases due to COVID-19, there should still be a way to file for a protection order and other emergency relief. See our Frequently Asked Questions Involving Courts and COVID-19, or call your local courthouse for more details.

Legal Information: District of Columbia

Restraining Orders

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November 1, 2019

How do I get an extreme risk protection order?

You can file for an extreme risk protection order if you are related to the respondent, are dating, living with, or have a child with the respondent, or are a certain type of professional. You can start the process by filing a petition at the Superior Court for the District of Columbia. Your petition must:

  • be written;
  • include facts that support your claim that the respondent presents a significant danger of causing bodily injury to himself/herself or others by having possession or control of, purchasing, or receiving any firearm or ammunition;
  • include information about the number, types, and location of the respondent’s firearms and ammunition if you have that information; and
  • have supporting documents and evidence attached.1

Your petition must be served to the Office of the Attorney General and the respondent.1

1 D.C. Code § 7-2510.02(a)

How will a judge make a decision about whether or not to grant the order?

The judge can issue an extreme risk protection order if the judge finds that there is significant danger that the respondent will cause bodily injury to himself/herself or others by having possession or control of, purchasing, or receiving any firearm or ammunition.1 When deciding if there is significant danger, the judge will consider factors such as:

  • the respondent’s history or pattern of threats or acts of violence;
  • any recent threats or acts of violence;
  • whether the respondent got hold of firearms, ammunition, or other deadly or dangerous weapons within one year before the petition for an extreme risk protection order was filed;
  • the respondent’s illegal or careless use, display, waving (brandishing) of a firearm or other weapon;
  • the respondent’s criminal history;
  • the respondent’s violation of any court orders;
  • evidence that the respondent is having a mental health crisis or other dangerous mental health issues; and
  • the respondent’s use of drugs (a controlled substance).2

1 D.C. Code § 7-2510.03(g)
2 D.C. Code §§ 7-2510.04(e); 7-2510.03(e)

Can I renew an extreme risk protection order?

If you are the petitioner in an extreme risk protection order case, you can request that the judge extend the order before it expires. At least 120 days before the order expires, the court is required to let you know that the order will be expiring and give you instructions on how to renew the order.1 When deciding whether to renew the extreme risk protection order, the judge will consider the same factors s/he considered when deciding whether to grant the original order.2

1 D.C. Code § 7-2510.06(a)
2 D.C. Code § 7-2510.06(d)

What happens if the respondent violates the order?

If the respondent violates an extreme risk protection order, s/he can be convicted of a crime. If the respondent is convicted, the judge could order the respondent to pay a fine of up to $1,000, go to jail for up to 180 days, or both.

The judge can also order that the respondent not possess, control, purchase, or receive a firearm or ammunition for five years after the date of conviction.1

1 D.C. Code §§ 7-2510.11(b); 22-3571.01