Milwaukee criminal defense lawyerBy: Attorney Adam Schleis

There are a variety of situations where family members may seek protection against domestic violence or abuse. A domestic abuse restraining order is a court order designed to protect domestic violence victims from suffering harm. These orders may be issued as part of a family law proceeding such as a divorce or child custody case, or they may be sought in other situations where a person has experienced abuse and needs protection. In situations where a person has been served with a domestic abuse restraining order, it is important to understand the penalties for violating the order.

Restraining Orders and Injunctions in Wisconsin

A person who has allegedly been the victim of domestic abuse may file a petition seeking a restraining order against their alleged abuser. Domestic abuse may include any actions taken by a person against a member of their family, including their spouse or ex-spouse, their unmarried partner, a person they previously had a dating relationship with, a co-parent, a disabled adult who is in their care, or another person in their household. Abuse may constitute any intentional infliction of pain or physical injury, sexual assault, stalking, or property damage. If a person allegedly committed abuse against a child, the child’s parent, stepparent, or legal guardian may file a petition on the child’s behalf.

If a judge believes that immediate protection is needed, they may issue a temporary restraining order, which will usually go into effect immediately. This order will be served to the respondent, and it may prohibit them from committing any further acts of abuse, require them to stay away from the petitioner’s residence, and restrict them from contacting the petitioner other than through an attorney or law enforcement officer. 

A temporary restraining order will remain in effect until a hearing is held to determine whether long-term protection is needed. At the hearing, a judge will hear testimony from both sides and decide whether to issue an injunction. If an injunction is granted, it may include the same or similar restrictions as the temporary restraining order, as well as any other appropriate remedies, such as ordering the respondent to pay financial support to the petitioner or making decisions about how custody of the couple’s children will be handled. In cases involving domestic abuse, an injunction may remain in effect for up to four years. In cases involving allegations of child abuse, an injunction may last up to two years or until the child turns 18, although an injunction may last for up to five years if there is a substantial risk that the respondent may commit homicide or sexual assault against the child.

Violation of a temporary restraining order or injunction is a criminal offense. A person who has been served with a petition for a restraining order is considered to have knowledge of the order and the restrictions that apply to them. They may face penalties for violations, even if they did not attend any court hearings. A violation may be punished by a fine of up to $1,000 and/or a prison sentence of up to nine months.

Contact Our Milwaukee Domestic Violence Restraining Order Lawyers

Domestic violence and abuse are very serious issues, and anyone who is involved in a case where a person has been accused of these offenses will want to make sure they are represented by an experienced lawyer. At Gimbel, Reilly, Guerin & Brown, LLP, we can work with family members to petition for restraining orders when necessary, and we can also help respondents defend against accusations that they have violated these orders. To get legal help with these issues, contact our Milwaukee, WI domestic abuse restraining order attorneys at 414-271-1440.