Let's talk about restraining orders and harassment injunctions:
In Wisconsin, like other states, a person can ask a court to step in and prohibit another person from having contact with them. The court orders prohibiting contact usually fall into one of two categories: restraining orders or domestic abuse injunctions. These cases amount to one or two hearings – an initial hearing, usually before a court commissioner, and then a review or “de novo” hearing, before a circuit court judge.
We handle injunction and restraining order hearings because they closely resemble the criminal defense cases we handle in both process and consequences. First, let’s take a look at what usually goes into defending a restraining order or injunction. When we meet with our new clients facing these actions, we review the petitioner’s statement of facts. Our job is to determine exactly what actions or reasons the petition has given the court as the factual basis for no-contact request. We work with our clients to understand the “five w’s” and “one h”: who, what, where, when, why, and how. That is the first step to defending these actions.
Secondly, we determine whether any physical evidence or third-party witnesses exist that could assist us in defending the action. This could be family members, law enforcement officers, or random persons who were present at the time of the allegations. We make sure to subpoena those persons to the hearing. Many of our success stories in defending these actions come from calling crucial non-biased witnesses who refute the allegations in the petitioner’s paperwork.
Thirdly, we prepare our clients for the possibility of testifying. Often our clients will not testify, as we do not want to place our clients in criminal jeopardy. However, we diligently prepare to subject the petitioner and his/her witnesses to a thorough cross-examination. We utilize the hearing to leave no stone unturned – to truly test the nature of their allegations.
Ultimately, we have a very strong and successful practice defending restraining order and domestic abuse injunctions. And, as stated above, the stakes are often just as high as when a person is criminal charged with domestic abuse or other assaultive behavior. First, a client may need to have contact with the petitioner because they are family members, share children, or otherwise have overlap in their lives that would cause hardship if the client could not be in the same place as the petitioner. Imagine being unable to attend a child’s soccer game because the other parent was present. Second, a client may need to turn over all firearms to law enforcement for the time of the court order. These firearms rarely come back. Thirdly, any violations of court orders prohibiting contact constitute misdemeanor criminal offenses. Taken together, if you or someone you know is facing a restraining order or domestic abuse injunction, then they should hire Richards & Dimmer, S.C. to defend the court action and protect their rights as adults, parents, and family members.