Legal Information: Rhode Island

Restraining Orders

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Updated: 
October 20, 2021

What are the steps to getting an extreme risk protection order?

The steps to get an extreme risk protection order are similar to the steps to get a domestic violence restraining order, but the petitioner (a law enforcement agency) will fill out different forms. Extreme risk protection order petitions should be filed in the county where the respondent lives. There are no fees to file for an order.1

The petition should include the specific statements, actions, or facts that support the petitioner’s belief that the respondent poses a significant risk of danger to himself/herself or others by having a firearm in his/her custody or control or by purchasing, possessing, or receiving a firearm. The petition must also include a written affidavit (sworn statement) signed by the petitioner.2 If the petitioner knows the respondent has firearms, the petition should include the number, types, and locations of the firearms if the petitioner knows.3

1 8 R.I. Gen. Laws § 8-8.3-2
2 8 R.I. Gen. Laws § 8-8.3-3(d), (e)
3 8 R.I. Gen. Laws § 8-8.3-3(f)

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

The judge will consider several factors when deciding whether to grant an extreme risk protection order. To decide if the respondent poses a significant danger of causing personal injury to himself/herself or others, the judge will consider the respondent’s:

  • acts or threats of violence against himself/herself or others, including any recent act or a pattern of such acts within the past 12 months;
  • mental health history;
  • drug or alcohol abuse;
  • violations of any court orders, including restraining orders, no-contact orders, and protective orders;
  • previous extreme risk protection orders;
  • illegal, threatening, or reckless use or waving of a firearm, including through social media;
  • ownership of, access to, or a plan to possess firearms;
  • criminal history;
  • history, use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical violence, history of stalking, or history of cruelty to animals; and
  • history of recently getting or trying to get firearms.1

1 8 R.I. Gen. Laws § 8-8.3-5(a), (b)

Can an extreme risk protection order be renewed?

The petitioner, a law enforcement agency, can request to renew a one-year extreme risk protection order by filing a motion with the court. The petitioner must file the motion within 14 days of the order’s expiration date.1 The court will schedule a hearing within 14 days of the date that the motion is filed. The respondent must be personally served with notice of the motion.2

When deciding whether to renew a one-year extreme risk protection order, the judge will consider the same factors considered when issuing the original order. The judge may also consider if the respondent has followed the judge’s orders for mental health and substance abuse evaluation. If the judge decides that the order should be renewed, s/he can issue the order for an additional one-year period.3

1 8 R.I. Gen. Laws § 8-8.3-7(c)
2 8 R.I. Gen. Laws § 8-8.3-7(c)(1)
3 8 R.I. Gen. Laws § 8-8.3-7(c)(3), (c)(4)

What happens if the respondent violates the order?

The respondent can be held in contempt of court for violating an extreme risk protection order. In addition, violating an extreme risk protection order is a felony. The respondent can be punished by being sent to jail for up to ten years, fined up to $10,000, or both.1

1 8 R.I. Gen. Laws § 8-8.3-10(a), (b)

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