Legal Information: New Jersey

Restraining Orders

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Updated: 
January 8, 2024

How do I get an extreme risk protective order?

The steps to get an extreme risk protective order are similar to the steps to get a domestic violence restraining order, but you will fill out different forms. When filing for an extreme risk protective order, your petition must include:

  • a sworn statement (affidavit) that includes the facts that cause you to believe that the respondent poses an immediate and present danger of bodily injury to himself/herself or others;
  • the reasons you believe these facts exists; and
  • the number, types, descriptions, and locations of any firearms and ammunition you believe to be in the respondent’s control or possession.1

1 N.J. Stat. § 2C:58-23(b)

How will a judge make a decision about whether to grant the order?

A judge can issue an extreme risk protective order if the judge believes that the respondent poses an immediate and present danger of bodily injury to himself/herself or others by possessing, purchasing, owning, or receiving a firearm. When deciding whether to grant a temporary or final extreme risk protective order, a judge will consider multiple factors including evidence of whether the respondent:

  • has any history of making threats or acting violent towards himself/herself or others;
  • has any history of attempted, threatened, or use of physical force against another person;
  • has or had a temporary or final domestic violence restraining order issued against him/her;
  • violated a temporary or final domestic violence restraining order;
  • has or had a temporary or final sexual assault restraining order issued against him/her;
  • violated a temporary or final sexual assault violence restraining order;
  • has any previous arrests, pending charges, or convictions for a violent crime, disorderly persons offense, or stalking offense;
  • has any previous arrests, pending charges, or convictions for cruelty to animals or any history of cruelty to animals;
  • has any history of drug or alcohol abuse and recovery from drug and alcohol abuse; or
  • recently got a firearm, ammunition, or other deadly weapon.1

1 N.J. Stat. § 2C:58-23(f)

What happens to the respondent's firearms once an extreme risk protective order is issued?

When a temporary or final extreme risk protective order is issued, the judge will order the respondent to surrender all firearms and ammunition to the local law enforcement agency. If the petition for the temporary extreme risk protective order states that the respondent owns or possesses any firearms or ammunition, the judge is supposed to issue a search warrant that will be delivered by law enforcement officer upon serving the order. The officer will request that all firearms and ammunition immediately be surrendered. Even if the firearms are not listed in the petition, the judge has the option to issue a search warrant if the judge believes that the respondent has not surrendered all firearms and ammunition.1 

Once an order is terminated, the respondent can file a petition for the return of any surrendered firearms, which will be returned within 30 days. At least 10 days before returning the firearms, the local law enforcement agency must notify the family or household member who filed the petition that the firearms or ammunition will be returned to the owner.

1 N.J. Stat. § 2C:58-26(a), (b), (c)
2 N.J. Stat. § 2C:58-26(d)

What happens if the respondent violates the order?

If the respondent violates an extreme risk protective order, s/he can be convicted of a crime of the fourth degree.1 A person convicted of a fourth degree crime could face:

  • a permanent felony charge on his/her record;
  • potential probation;
  • up to 18 months in State Prison;
  • up to 364 days in the county jail; and/or
  • up to a $10,000 fine.2

1 N.J. Stat. §§ 2C:58-29; 2C:29-9(e)
2 N.J. Stat. §§ 2C:43-3; 2C:43-6

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