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Know the Laws: Wisconsin

UPDATED June 22, 2017

Enforcing an Out-of-State Order in Wisconsin

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If you are planning to move to Wisconsin or are going to be in Wisconsin for any reason, your protection or restraining order can be enforced.

Registering your out-of-state order in Wisconsin

back to topWhat is the National Crime Information Center Registry? Who has access to it?

The National Crime Information Center Registry (NCIC) is a nationwide, electronic database used by law enforcement agencies in the U.S, Canada, and Puerto Rico. It is managed by the FBI and state law enforcement officials.

All law enforcement officials have access to it, but the information is encrypted so outsiders cannot access it.

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back to topHow do I register my protection order in Wisconsin?

To register your order in WI, you need to take a certified copy of the order to any circuit court clerk’s office.  It is also a good idea to bring the contact information (address and telephone number) of the court that gave you the order in case there are any questions.  The clerk will file your order and send a copy to the local law enforcement agency within one business day, and the law enforcement agency will enter the order into the transaction information for management of enforcement system within 24 hours.*

If you need help registering your protection order, you can contact a local domestic violence organization in Wisconsin for assistance. You can find contact information for organizations in your area here on our WI State and Local Programs page. 

* Wis. Stat. § 806.247(3)

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back to topDo I have to register my protection order in Wisconsin in order to get it enforced?

No.  As long as you can show the officer a valid out-of-state protection order (or the law enforcement officer determines that a valid foreign protection order exists by contacting the appropriate authorities), s/he can arrest the abuser if there is probable cause to believe that the abuser violated the terms of the order.  A certified copy of the protection order is not required for it to be enforced.*

* Wis. Stat. § 813.128(3g)(b)(1),(3)

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back to topWill the abuser be notified if I register my protection order?

Under the federal Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which applies to all U.S. states and territories, the court is not permitted to notify the abuser when a protective order has been registered or filed in a new state unless you specifically request that the abuser be notified.*  However, you may wish to confirm that the clerk is aware of this law before registering the order if your address is confidential.

However, remember that there may be a possibility that the abuser could somehow find out what state you have moved to.  It is important to continue to safety plan, even if you are no longer in the state where the abuser is living.  We have some safety planning tips to get you started on our Staying Safe page.  You can also contact a local domestic violence organization to get help in developing a personalized safety plan. You will find contact information for organizations in your area on our WI State and Local Programs page.

* 18 USC § 2265(d)

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back to topDoes it cost anything to register my protection order?

No. There is no fee for registering your protection order in Wisconsin.

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back to topWhat if I don't register my protection order? Will it be more difficult to have it enforced?

It should not be more difficult to get your protection order enforced even if you do not register it in Wisconsin.  As long as you can show the officer a valid out-of-state protection order (or the law enforcement officer determines that a valid foreign protection order exists by contacting the appropriate authorities), s/he can arrest the abuser if there is probable cause to believe that the abuser violated the terms of the order.*

If you are unsure about whether registering your order is the right decision for you, you may want to contact a local domestic violence organization in your area. An advocate there can help you decide what the safest plan of action is for you in Wisconsin. To see a list of local domestic violence organizations in Wisconsin, go to our WI  State and Local Programs page.

* Wis. Stat. § 813.128(3g)(b)(1)

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