Restraining Orders 101

restraining orders 101
Understanding the why, how and when of restraining orders is key

When relationships with anyone, including family, friends or significant others, get messy or volatile, it's sometimes necessary to look into the possibility of obtaining a restraining order. Like most legal matters, those seeking to best understand restraining orders would benefit greatly by consulting with a trusted attorney. An experienced legal professional can explain the nuances of restraining orders, why they're an important tool and how and when to obtain one for the unique circumstances you face.

If you are just beginning to research restraining orders in Wisconsin or elsewhere, there are some basics it's good to know. Read on for an overview of restraining orders, their purpose, and the standard process for obtaining one. 

What is a restraining order? And how do I get a restraining order? 

Let's first define restraining orders. A restraining order is a legal order signed by a judge that establishes boundaries between individuals, which, if crossed, may be punishable in court. This court order may limit, for example, how or when a person may come near you or contact you. It may also be an order for them to move out of a shared home or to stop harassing you. Restraining orders are sometimes necessary when someone feels endangered by another individual, harassed by them, stalked by them, or harmed in some way. You can obtain a restraining order through criminal, family, juvenile, or civil court. 

You can petition for different types of restraining orders, including: 

  • Child Abuse Restraining Orders
  • Domestic Abuse Restraining Orders
  • Harassment Restraining Orders
  • Individual at Risk Restraining Orders

Forms for each of these injunction petitions are available via the Wisconsin Court System website. 

How to obtain a restraining order

Getting a restraining order starts with submitting a petition for a temporary restraining order, or TRO. The information you provide in your petition is important. When you submit the petition, the court will weigh the information you provided and decide whether to issue a TRO. 

If the TRO is granted, an injunction hearing will typically be scheduled for you to return to court within two weeks. At the injunction hearing, you will have an opportunity to request an injunction, which serves as a final order of protection. This may be granted for two to four years, depending on the nature of the abuse, harassment, or risk. 

Is it time to file for a restraining order? 

Is it time for you to file a restraining order? The Wisconsin Department of Justice offers several resources for those who want to know more about restraining orders and how to pursue a restraining order in your county. 

When relationships escalate to the point of requesting a restraining order, the situation can be incredibly distressing. More, if you have had a petition for a restraining order denied, you may want to understand your legal options. Having a trusted attorney on your side can give you the peace of mind you want and need during times of uncertainty. 

You don't have to live in fear of violence, abuse, or harassment. Contact us to consult with an attorney about your legal options, including the process for obtaining a restraining order.  

david pierce, criminal defense lawyer in la crosse wiCriminal defense attorney David Pierce both obtains restraining orders and defends them for clients. If you have questions about restraining orders in La Wisconsin or Minnesota, call him at 608-784-5678.

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