Top Restraining Order Attorney
Racine's Best Attorney for Restraining Orders and Injunctions
What is a domestic abuse injunction or restraining order?
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. If a person is a family member or had a relationship with the other person, then the order requested is often a domestic abuse injunction. If the person is simply a friend, co-worker, neighbor, or otherwise unrelated, then the order requested is often a harassment restraining order.
What is the general restraining order or injunction process?
Regardless of which type of order the petitioner (the person requesting the no-contact order) has filed, the case proceeds in a similar order:
- Temporary Order Hearing: The court commissioner (or family court commissioner if the request is for a domestic abuse injunction) holds a hearing about 14 days after the temporary restraining order is granted. This is the respondent's (the person against whom the request is being made for no-contact) can object and defend against the request for no-contact. Depending on the number of cases on the court's calendar, the hearing could last 15-20 minutes to over an hour.
- Firearms Hearing: If the court grants the restraining order or injunction, then the court may hold a "firearms" hearing to ensure that the respondent has forfeited or no longer has any firearms. 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.
- De Novo Hearing: the losing party can "appeal" the court commissioner's decision to grant or deny a restraining order or injunction and have a "do over" or "de novo" before a county circuit court judge. The court again takes testimony from witnesses and argument from the parties. This, for all intents and purposes, is the final hearing in the process.
Why is Richards & Dimmer skilled at defending against restraining orders and injunctions?
We handle injunction and restraining order hearings because they closely resemble the criminal defense cases we handle in both process and consequences.
What steps will Richards & Dimmer take in defending a restraining order or injunction.
- We review the petition for the restraining order or injunction. This is like the criminal complaint in criminal cases. 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 petitioner 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.
- We investigate the allegations to 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.
- 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.
Why should I bother fighting the restraining order?
Do NOT concede the restraining order or injunction. As experienced injunction attorneys, we know that the stakes are often just as high as when a person is criminally charged with domestic abuse or other assaultive behavior. Here's why:
- 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;
- A client may wish to keep firearms or use firearms, and the restraining order can require you to turn over all firearms. These firearms rarely come back. If you do not contest the domestic abuse injunction, then you will lose those firearms. This can apply inside and outside of Wisconsin;
- Thirdly, any violations of court orders prohibiting contact constitute misdemeanor criminal offenses. The consequences for violating a restraining order or injunction include: "fine not more than $1,000 or imprisonment for not more than 9 months or both."
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.