Vineland Attorney for Defense Against Temporary Extreme Risk Protection Orders

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    When a person feels threatened by a household member who possesses dangerous firearms, a temporary extreme risk protection order (TERPO) can be filed by a judge to keep that person safe. However, the order comes at a significant cost to the respondent or the person who is the perceived threat. This order is designed for situations involving firearms, and a respondent may be forced to give up their firearms.

    TERPOs are imposed for the benefit of the petitioner and to the detriment of the respondent. In most cases, a TERPO may be imposed before a criminal trial, and defendants often feel they are being punished without being found guilty of a crime first. For those who own firearms for sport, protection, or work, a TERPO can significantly disrupt their lives.

    If someone you live with has filed a petition for a TERPO, our New Jersey attorneys for defense against temporary extreme risk protection orders can help. Call the Lombardo Law Group, LLC at (609) 445-4300 to get help and a free case review. We can help you fight a TERPO and protect your rights.

    What is a Temporary Extreme Risk Protection Order in New Jersey?

    A TERPO is an order meant to protect alleged victims from harm. These orders are imposed against respondents who typically have no say in the matter at all. TERPOs tend to go through very quickly once law enforcement or prosecutors present the necessary evidence to support the order. The criteria for a TERPO can be found under N.J.S.A. § 2C:58-23 and include things like a history of violence, previous restraining or protective orders, and prior arrests and convictions.

    Under a TERPO, a respondent is prohibited from possessing firearms. This is, of course, a massive infringement on your Second Amendment rights to bear arms. However, courts tend to prioritize the well-being of alleged victims over the rights of alleged wrongdoers. You may also be forced to stay away from the alleged victim, which can be complicated when you live with them. Many respondents find themselves out on the streets while bound by a protective order like a TERPO.

    A TERPO can only be imposed if the petitioner, along with law enforcement and prosecutors, comes up with evidence to support the allegations of the petitioner that you are a dangerous individual. You might not even be notified of the TERPO until after it is imposed, making it very challenging to fight it. However, we can argue to have the order lifted. Call our New Jersey attorneys for defense against temporary extreme risk protection orders for help.

    TERPO Restrictions in New Jersey

    The primary effect of a TERPO is a complete ban on firearms for the respondent. Under a TERPO and according to N.J.S.A. § 2C:58-26, a respondent must immediately surrender their firearms to law enforcement. Law enforcement officials should then provide the respondent with a receipt for the firearms, which must be provided to prosecutors to show compliance with the order. You have 48 hours from when you are served with the TERPO to file the receipt for your firearms with prosecutors. Failure to file the receipt within the time limit may be considered contempt of the order. If you have been served with a notice of a TERPO but are unsure what to do next, call our New Jersey lawyers for defense against temporary extreme risk protection orders immediately.

    If you do not willingly surrender all of your firearms, the police may obtain a warrant to search your home for the guns. A search warrant may also be in order if the police do not believe you have surrendered all your firearms and are keeping some hidden. Often, this is a misunderstanding due to the police’s distrust of the respondent, and you might be unnecessarily searched.

    Penalties for Violating a Temporary Extreme Risk Protection Order in New Jersey

    A TERPO comes with very strict and burdensome requirements for the respondent. Not only must you surrender all your weapons to local law enforcement, but you must do so in a very short period of time or face legal penalties. If you fail to surrender your firearms or acquire additional firearms after the order is imposed, you can be charged with contempt under N.J.S.A. § 2C:29-9. Our New Jersey lawyers for defense against temporary extreme risk protection orders can help you with any contempt charges.

    Under this law, a purposeful and knowing violation of a TERPO condition may result in criminal charges for a fourth-degree crime. A fourth-degree crime may be punished with a sentence of no more than 18 months in prison. To make matters worse, each violation may constitute a separate charge. If law enforcement believes you violated the terms of the TERPO 3 times, you could be charged with 3 fourth-degree crimes amounting to several years behind bars if convicted. Contempt charges related to the violation of a TERPO are heard in the Superior Court.

    How to Fight a Temporary Extreme Risk Protection Order in New Jersey

    It is hard to fight TERPOs before they are imposed since they get pushed through without any input from the respondent. The reason respondents are notified so late is likely to prevent them from hiding or stashing their firearms before the order can go through. However, the flip side of this coin is that respondents who are wrongfully accused may lose their rights to their firearms without any opportunity to fight the order.

    However, there are ways to lift TERPOs after they are imposed. Keep in mind, TERPOs are temporary and will eventually expire. If we cannot have the order lifted, rest assured that the order will not last forever, and your can have your firearms returned to you. However, we can petition to have the order lifted if it becomes a permanent final order.

    When we petition to lift a permanent order, we have the burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence that you are not threatening the alleged victim. We can use any evidence of your peaceful nature or other proof that you are not a danger. Call our New Jersey attorneys for defense against temporary extreme risk protection orders for assistance.

    Call Our New Jersey Defense Attorneys for Temporary Extreme Risk Protection Orders

    Call our New Jersey defense lawyers for temporary extreme risk protection orders if you are bound by a TERPO or a more permanent final order. The team at the Lombardo Law Group, LLC can provide a free case review before moving forward on your case. Call us at (609) 445-4300 to get started.

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