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Legal Information: Delaware

Restraining Orders

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Updated: 
April 8, 2020

What types of orders are there? How long do they last?

There are two types of lethal violence protective orders: emergency lethal violence protective orders and nonemergency lethal violence protective orders.

Emergency lethal violence protective orders: An emergency lethal violence protective order must be requested by a law enforcement officer in a Justice of the Peace Court. An emergency order is issued ex parte. Ex parte means that the respondent is not notified beforehand and is not present at the hearing. A justice of the peace can issue an emergency lethal violence protective order when s/he finds that the respondent poses an immediate and present danger of causing physical injury to him/herself or others by owning, buying, or having access to a firearm. If a justice of the peace issues an emergency order, there must be a full hearing in Superior Court within 15 days. Emergency orders can be extended until the respondent can be served, but emergency lethal violence protective order can only last for up to 45 days.1

Nonemergency lethal violence protective orders: A law enforcement officer or the respondent’s family member can request a nonemergency lethal violence protective order in a Superior Court. A judge can issue a nonemergency lethal violence protective order after the respondent has notice of the case and the opportunity to participate in a court hearing. The judge must find that the respondent poses an immediate and present danger of causing physical injury to him/herself or others by owning, buying, or having access to a firearm. Nonemergency orders can last for up to one year.2

Note: The respondent can request a hearing to end a nonemergency lethal violence protective order once within the one-year period that the order is effective.3 The petitioner who filed for the order can also request to renew a nonemergency order before it expires. See Can I renew a lethal violence protective order? for more information.

1 10 Del. Code § 7703(a), (b), (f)
2 10 Del. Code § 7704(a), (b), (j)
3 10 Del. Code § 7705(a)