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Legal Information: Vermont

Restraining Orders

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Updated: 
December 13, 2019

What is an extreme risk protection order?

An extreme risk protection order is a civil court order that allows a judge to restrict an individual’s access to dangerous weapons.1 The person against whom the order is filed is known as the respondent.

1 13 Vt. Stat. § 4053(a)

Who can file for an extreme risk protection order?

The person who files for the extreme risk protection order is known as the petitioner. A judge can issue an extreme risk protection order against a respondent who poses an extreme risk of harming himself/herself or others by accessing a dangerous weapon. Unlike other states, the petitioner cannot be a relative or spouse of the respondent. Only the following professionals can file for an extreme risk protection order:

  • a State’s Attorney; or
  • the Office of the Attorney General.1

If you are a person who is concerned about the safety of someone else but cannot file to have his/her firearms removed, you may be able to speak to the State’s Attorneys’ Office or the Office of the Attorney General in your state to let them know of your concern and ask that they file for an extreme risk protection order to have the firearms removed.

1 13 Vt. Stat. § 4053(a)

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

There are two types of extreme risk protection orders: ex parte extreme risk protection orders and final extreme risk protection orders.

Ex parte extreme risk protection orders: An ex parte extreme risk protection order is issued without the respondent having notice of the case before the hearing.1 Ex parte extreme risk protection orders are issued on a temporary, emergency basis and last for up to 14 days.2

Final extreme risk protection orders: A judge can issue a final extreme risk protection order after the respondent is served with notice of the case and has a chance to participate in a hearing. If the judge finds that the respondent is a risk to himself/herself or others, the judge can issue a final extreme risk protection order for up to six months.3

1 13 Vt. Stat. § 4054(b)(1)
2 13 Vt. Stat. § 4054(b)(1), (c)(1)
3 13 Vt. Stat. § 4053(e)(2)

How can an extreme risk protection order help me?

In an extreme risk protection order, the judge can order that the respondent not:

  • have any dangerous weapons in his/her possession;
  • purchase any dangerous weapons; or
  • receive any dangerous weapons.1

A “dangerous weapon” is defined as an explosive or a firearm.2

1 13 Vt. Stat. § 4053(e)
2 13 Vt. Stat. § 4051(2)