An officer of the law has authority over normal citizens, and Florida gave police more power when they created the risk protection order law. In this blog post, an experienced criminal defense attorney will explain what a risk protection order is and how it affects Florida citizens.
What Is a Risk Protection Order?
The Florida statute that established the legality of risk protection orders was one of the gun control legislation laws passed in 2018. A risk protection order is a firearm-related temporary ex parte order, or a final order meant to, “enhance public safety by temporarily preventing individuals who are at high risk of harming themselves or others from accessing firearms or ammunition.”
In other words, Florida police can file a Petition for a Risk Protection Order against anyone they deem “dangerous,” and the respondents (the people petitioned against) could lose their right to bear arms for up to 12 months.
Problems with Risk Protection Orders
There are several problems with risk protection orders as they currently stand. When police accuse someone of being “dangerous,” he or she will receive a Temporary Ex Parte Order/Petition. This order will start the 14-day clock before your hearing where a court will determine if the Order will last for up to a year.
There are two problems with the Temporary Ex Parte Order/Petition:
- The accused must immediately give their firearms to the law enforcement agency that filed the petition. There is no warning, no time to think it over, and no recourse. When you receive an order, you’ve (at least) lost your right to bear arms until your hearing. Clearly, this doesn’t follow an “innocent until proven guilty” ideal.
- This surprise hearing can mess up previously made plans, as missing the hearing could result in the loss of your firearms for up to a year, which means you’ll have to go if you want to maintain your right to bear arms.
There is one major problem with risk protection order hearings. The people accused of being “dangerous” must prove the health of their mental state to beat the order. Therefore, the accused isn’t defending themselves, but trying to vindicate themselves of the allegations made by the police officer.
In other words, risk protection hearings assume the instability of the respondent, and it’s up to the respondent to prove the court wrong.
Representation for Your Risk Protection Order Hearing
If you’re requested to attend a risk protection order hearing, you’ll need serious representation from a criminal defense firm like Hager & Schwartz. We believe risk protection orders muddy the rights of citizens, and we will do everything we can to show the court that you should maintain their right to bear arms.
Call (305) 330-1360 now for a free consultation concerning your risk protection order.