What’s the Law: District Court TROs

WHAT’S THE LAW?

BY DARRYL CHOY

Topic: District Court temporary restraining orders (TROs)

Question: Last month you mentioned a gun owner could lose his firearms if a Family Court restraining order is granted. But what if I get into a hassle with my neighbor or someone at work? Can a TRO be taken out on me and my guns confiscated by HPD?

Answer: Yes. The District Court issues temporary restraining orders that are very similar to Family Court orders. The difference is that the party filing cannot be a current or former household member, be related, or have a child in common. The filing party is normally a neighbor, someone living nearby, or someone working with you or nearby. Just about anyone other than those covered in a Family Court order can file. You could be the subject of a District Court order by threatening or physically harassing anyone during a traffic incident, your neighbor over a barking dog dispute, a co-worker or someone working in your building, or even a customer or a friend.
You could be prohibited from contacting, telephoning, visiting, or entering the other party’s home, yard and garage, and even place of employment. Similar to Family Court TROs, you are entitled to your day in court. If you lose, the court may enter an “Order granting petition for injunction against harassment” against you.

Turning in your firearms and ammunition is also part of the restraining order. On the bright side, District Court orders are only for three years and, unlike the free Family Court TROs, the filing party must pay a nominal $15 filing fee.

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