Many states have started offering Risk Protection Orders (RPOs) to law enforcement that expects domestic abusers may use their firearms to harm their spouses and ex-spouses. Under Florida Statute 790.401, Treasure Coast victims can report their fears and their abusers to local and state law enforcement of these fears, and then the police themselves can seek an RPO from the Domestic Violence Division. But, how is it done?
The victims can initiate the process
When you report your domestic abuse, make sure that you let the police know about your abuser’s firearms and weapons. If they have threatened you with them or used them against you, make sure they know. Ask them to file a RPO or have your attorney work with them to file an RPO against your abuser.
Filing the petition
The law enforcement officer will then file an ex parte RPO petition with the Clerk of Court office, who will then assign it to the on-duty DVD judge. This can be done online, and it will be reviewed the same day, if filed before 5:00pm. Otherwise, it is assigned to the judge on duty the next business day.
The judge then holds an ex parte hearing with that police officer within 24 business hours of the filing. This can be done in person or telephonically, though, for expediency, they are usually conducted over the phone.
The judge will then grant or deny a temporary RPO. If granted, the order will include a 72-hour compliance hearing and a final hearing within 14 days of granting the TRPO.
Next, the TRPO is sent to the sheriff to serve the abuser. The sheriff then has 72 hours to seize those weapons and report that seizure, along with a manifest of all firearms, ammunition and firearms licenses surrendered. Search warrants can be issued based on TRPOs, if requested by Stuart, Florida, law enforcement based on the nature of the case and allegations that buffeted the RPO request.