Legal Information: Washington

Restraining Orders

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December 15, 2023

What is an extreme risk protection order?

An extreme risk protection order is a civil court order prohibiting an individual (the respondent) from controlling, purchasing, possessing, accessing, or receiving firearms, or attempting to do so. Extreme risk protection orders are used to prevent the respondent from using a firearm to harm him/herself or others.1

1 R.C.W. § 7.105.100(1)(e)

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

There are two types of extreme risk protection orders in Washington:

Temporary protection order
A temporary protection order lasts until the court hearing for a full protection order. The first order can be “ex parte,” which means it is issued without the respondent being notified. Temporary protection orders can also be issued between court dates before the completion of the hearing to decide about the full protection order.1

A judge will grant an temporary extreme risk protection order only if  there is “reasonable cause” to believe that the respondent poses a significant danger of injury to him/herself or others in the near future as a result of having access to firearms.2 If the judge does not issue the temporary order, the judge must state the particular reasons why.3

Ex parte temporary orders last for a fixed period of up to 14 days and will expire at the hearing for the full order unless it is reissued.4 If the hearing date is extended and a temporary protection order is re-issued, the new date must not be more than 14 days later.5 Any temporary order to surrender and prohibit weapons that the judge gave will be re-issued as well.6 If the court permits service of the respondent by publication or mail, the order will last for a fixed period up to 30 days.5 A temporary order must include the following:

  1. the date and time the order was issued;
  2. the date and time the order will expire;
  3. a statement of the reasons why the order was issued;
  4. where the respondent can file a response to the petition; and
  5. a description of the requirements for the respondent to surrender any firearms.7 

Full protection order
A full protection order can be issued only after the respondent is notified and there is a court hearing in which both parties have a chance to tell their sides of the story and present evidence, witnesses, etc., or it can be entered by agreement of the parties without the need for a hearing.8 The hearing can be held in person or remotely.9

Generally, the full extreme risk protection order will last for at least one year.10 One hundred and five days before the order is set to expire, the court must notify the petitioner of the upcoming expiration date.11 To get more information about renewing an order, please see Can an extreme risk protection order be renewed? 

1 R.C.W. § 7.105.010(35)
2 R.C.W. § 7.105.330(2)
3 R.C.W. § 7.105.330(6)
4 R.C.W. § 7.105.100(8)
5 R.C.W. § 7.105.200(3)
6 R.C.W. § 7.105.400(2)
7 R.C.W. § 7.105.330(3)
8 R.C.W. § 7.105.010(17)
9 R.C.W. § 7.105.205(1)
10 R.C.W. § 7.105.330(3)(g)
11 R.C.W. § 7.105.410(1)

What protections can an extreme risk protection order include?

An extreme risk protection order of any type will order the respondent not to have firearms in his/her custody or control and not to purchase, possess, receive, or attempt to purchase or receive a firearm while the order is in effect. The order will also require the respondent to surrender any firearms s/he currently has in his/her custody.1 In an extreme risk protection order that is not an ex parte temporary order, the judge will also order that the respondent’s concealed pistol license be revoked, if s/he has one.2

1 R.C.W. § 7.105.340(1)(a)
2 R.C.W. § 7.105.340(1)(b)

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