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Domestic abuse occurs in about one out of every three households in the United States. It shares similar rates of occurrence across all races and within all classes of society.

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Domestic Abuse Laws

Domestic abuse, sometime referred to as domestic violence, includes any of the following acts:

  • Actions which intentionally inflict physical pain, physical injury, or illness upon the other adult;
  • Intentionally cause impairment of the physical condition of the other adult;
  • Intentionally sexually assault the other adult;
  • Or a physical act that may cause the other person to have a reasonable fear that the above will occur.

Domestic Relationship

Under the domestic abuse laws of Wisconsin, the abuse must involve people who have a domestic relationship. People have a domestic relationship if they are married, divorced, roommates, former roommates, parents to a common child, expecting a child in common, or are related by blood or marriage.

Mandatory Arrest - Domestic Abuse & Domestic Violence

Mandatory arrests result if:

  • The officer has reason to believe that one of the parties is committing or has committed domestic abuse, and the abuse constitutes criminal action; and
  • Either the officer has reason to believe that the domestic abuse is likely to continue, or there is evidence of physical injury to the alleged victim.

Additionally, if an officer receives a report of domestic abuse that includes intentional infliction of physical pain, physical injury, or illness within 28 days of the date that such abuse occurred, the officer is required to arrest the alleged abuser.

Police Departments Set Policies

In Wisconsin, each law enforcement agency is required to develop, adopt, and implement written policies regarding arrest procedures for domestic abuse incidents. These policies must include the mandatory arrest of at least one of the parties, if any evidence exists (or the officer has reason to believe) that domestic abuse is or has occurred, and that the actions of the alleged abuser are criminal in nature. The officer may rely upon the known history of the parties, if domestic abuse incidents had occurred previously, and should always consider how best to protect the victim of domestic violence.

Law enforcement officers must also prepare written procedures for notifying the victim of the release of the arrested person and the likely date and time of that release. In conjunction with the release, each agency is also encouraged to create policies to address which community organizations should be contacted and how the contact should be made.

District Attorneys Must Have Domestic Abuse Policies

Likewise, every district attorney's office must also have written policies on the handling of domestic abuse matters. Those policies must encourage prosecution of people suspected of committing domestic violence acts and must see that those prosecutions begin within two weeks of the time the DAs office learns of the alleged incident.

Regardless of whether someone is arrested or not, however, a formal report must be completed by an officer at the scene of the incident and filed with the District Attorney in the county where the incident occurred. The District Attorney must then review the report and determine whether to bring criminal charges against the alleged abuser.

Meanwhile, the officer is immune from prosecution or civil lawsuit for a decision as to whether or not to make an arrest, regardless of the DAs later decision, so long as the decision was made in good faith.

Domestic Abuse 72-hour no contact law

When the police make an arrest for a domestic abuse incident, the option of also issuing a 72-hour no contact order prohibiting any and all contact between the alleged abusive person and the alleged victim must be offered to the victim or victims. The alleged victim can sign a waiver to reject the protective order.

Issuance of a protective order (Restraining Order, Injunction)

If a protective order is issued, the person who was arrested will be required to refrain from having any form of contact with the victim, or causing any one else to contact the victim on the alleged abusive person's behalf, except through law enforcement agents. If the alleged abuser violates this no-contact protective order, and does so without the victim having given a waiver to the law enforcement officer, the arrested person may be fined up to $1,000.

If the arrested person is released from custody before 72 hours have passed since the alleged domestic abuse incident, law enforcement officers must notify the arrested person orally and in writing of the no-contact order. The arrested person must sign a statement that they have been duly notified before they will be released from jail. Failure of the officer to provide proper notification will bar prosecution under this law, but will not affect prosecution of the criminal domestic abuse actions.

Release of person arrested for domestic abuse

The person accused of domestic abuse may be eligible for a conditional release before 72 hours has elapsed, if the victim has signed a waiver allowing the arrested person to make contact and if the arrested person signs an agreement that they will refrain from any threats or acts of domestic abuse against the alleged victim or other person.

Criminal Defense Lawyers
Defending Those Accused of Domestic Abuse

Van Wagner & Wood's criminal defense attorneys defend people who have been accused, arrested or charged with a domestic abuse offense. Those attorneys offer a free initial "first impression" analysis of your case. By calling () the attorneys at Van Wagner & Wood, you can rest assured that you have made the best first step in your defense.

Domestic abuse occurs in about one out of every three households in the United States. It shares similar rates of occurrence across all races and within all classes of society.

See also:
Domestic Disorderly Conduct | Disorderly Conduct