Terese J. Singer

Restraining Orders

Domestic Violence Lawyer Assisting Milwaukee Residents

When a domestic disagreement occurs, or disputes arise, family members, spouses, or romantic partners may threaten legal action against you, whether out of anger or fear. These threats are often meant to cause distress or anxiety, and they can sometimes lead someone to seek a restraining order against another person. Particularly when children are involved, restraining orders may be used as tactics to humiliate or punish someone for their actions, even when such an order is not warranted. At Reddin & Singer, LLP, a Milwaukee domestic violence attorney can assist you in defending against a restraining order in Wisconsin courts.

Defending against a Restraining Order

A restraining order instructs an individual to keep a certain distance from and have no direct contact with the person who obtained the order. If it is violated, the individual subject to the restraining order may face additional punishments, such as jail time.

Since restraining orders are meant to be a quick method of seeking the protection of the courts, they do not require an attorney to file them. This means that angered family members or loved ones can seek a restraining order without the advice or input of an attorney, which may lead to frivolous or unsupported applications being filed. Without a proper legal defense, people may find themselves subjected to these unwarranted restraining orders because they did not know how to properly respond to them.

Wisconsin law provides for several types of restraining orders. Individuals can seek domestic abuse restraining orders when a physical injury or a threat of physical injury has occurred. Alternatively, they can obtain a harassment restraining order when they have been subjected to mental, verbal, or physical harassment. Victims of sexual assault and stalking can also seek harassment restraining orders. As discussed below, these various types of restraining orders rarely require more than an alleged victim’s testimony that some harm has occurred, and, at the initial stage, they do not allow the alleged perpetrator to provide evidence to refute the alleged victim’s claims.

In Wisconsin, applying for a restraining order is usually a two-step process. First, the petitioner can seek a temporary restraining order. Later, the individual can obtain a permanent injunction to protect them. The reason for this two-step process is that the temporary order addresses the alleged victim’s immediate need, while allowing the court more time to determine whether a permanent injunction is actually warranted.

It can be difficult for a defendant to fight back against the filing of a restraining order without proper legal representation. For most restraining orders, a TRO requires only that one allege an instance of harassment or abuse that he or she has previously experienced, and such allegations are not presented to defendants to obtain the other side of the story. Indeed, the TRO process does not even require defendants to be notified that a TRO is being sought against them. Instead, the defendant must wait through the temporary protective period of seven to 14 days and then fight the permanent injunction in court before a judge. At the permanent injunction phase, the defendant can provide evidence to refute the victim’s claims, including showing that facts may be misrepresented or that ulterior motives may be at work. Since there may be a tendency to defer to the petitioner’s version of the facts, it is important that defendants prepare a compelling argument for why an injunction is not warranted and why it would be harmful to the defendant’s relationships or rights.

Consult a Milwaukee Attorney for a Domestic Violence Matter

The Wisconsin court system attempts to make obtaining a temporary restraining order and an injunction as easy for petitioners as possible. This means that defendants must be exceptionally vigilant in protecting their rights during the restraining order process. Additionally, if your accuser chooses to hire legal counsel for your injunction hearing, it is important that you seek the representation of counsel as well. Our Milwaukee domestic violence lawyer can assist you in taking a strong stance during Wisconsin’s restraining order process so that you are not subjected to false accusations, time away from your children, or unfair restrictions on your freedoms. We also represent people in Port Washington, Mequon, Racine, West Bend, Waukesha, and other communities throughout Milwaukee, Washington, Racine, Ozaukee, and Waukesha Counties. Call (414) 271-6400 or contact us online for a free consultation with a criminal defense attorney.

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