Wisconsin Restraining Orders

  1. Harassment Restraining Orders/ Injunctions

    1. Introduction

      A harassment restraining order may protect a WMC victim from people engaging in intentionally aggressive, harassing or intimidating behavior if the behavior serves no legitimate (valid) purpose. Harassment restraining orders may be granted regardless of the relationship between the harasser and the victim—in other words, the WMC victim does not need to know or be related to the harasser.

    2. Text of the Statute(s)

      Wis. Stat. § 813.125(1) is available here.

      (1) Definition. In this section, “harassment” means any of the following:

      (a) Striking, shoving, kicking or otherwise subjecting another person to physical contact; engaging in an act that would constitute abuse under s. 48.02(1), sexual assault under s. 940.225, or stalking under s. 940.32; or attempting or threatening to do the same.

      (b) Engaging in a course of conduct or repeatedly committing acts which harass or intimidate another person and which serve no legitimate purpose.

    3. Cases

      Research is ongoing.

    4. Practice Pointers

      There are two primary types of orders of protection in Wisconsin:

      1. Domestic abuse restraining orders

        • Whom does it protect against? A domestic abuse restraining order provides protection from domestic abuse by a current or former household member, a family member, or someone whom the victim is dating or has dated.

        • What acts are prohibited? Domestic abuse restraining orders apply to abuse such as: intentional infliction of physical pain, physical injury or illness; intentional harm; sexual assault; stalking; destruction of property belonging to the victim; or threats to do any of the foregoing acts. The abuser must also hand over any firearms in his/her possession and will be forbidden from buying any firearms.

        • How long does the order last? Domestic abuse restraining orders may be temporary restraining orders or may be permanent injunctions. Temporary restraining orders (TROs) are designed to protect the victim from immediate danger and will last until a court hearing, which will usually be within 14 days, although the TRO may be extended for an additional two weeks. Injunctions last for up to four years, but a victim may file to have a restraining order extended.

        • What does an order cost? There is no filing fee for a domestic abuse restraining order.

      2. Harassment restraining orders

        • Whom does it protect against? Unlike a domestic abuse restraining order, a harassment restraining order may be filed against anyone who engages in intentionally aggressive, harassing or intimidating behavior if the behavior serves no valid purpose, even if the victim does not know the person.

        • What acts are prohibited? The scope of a harassment restraining order is broader than a domestic abuse restraining order, and protects the victim against abuse; sexual assault; stalking; striking, shoving, kicking or otherwise subjecting another person to physical contact; attempting or threatening to abuse, sexually assault, stalk, or subject another to physical contact; or a repeated course of conduct or series of acts which harass or intimidate another person and which serve no valid purpose. The court may also make a determination prohibiting the abuser from having a gun, or from approaching the victim’s residence or a place temporarily occupied by the victim.

        • How long does the order last? Harassment restraining orders may be temporary restraining orders or may be permanent injunctions. Temporary restraining orders (TROs) are designed to protect the victim from immediate harassment or intimidation and will last until a court hearing, which will usually be within 14 days, although the TRO may be extended for an additional two weeks. Injunctions last for up to four years, but a victim may file to have an injunction extended.

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