Judges issue restraining orders to protect victims of abuse from further violence. However, the victim may choose to drop the restraining order if she is no longer in need of protection. The process for dropping a restraining order varies depending on whether the current order is a temporary restraining order or an injunction (a permanent restraining order). In some cases, it may be easier to simply allow the restraining order to expire, or the victim may need to file paperwork with the court to drop the order.
Allow a temporary restraining order to expire, if it is close to its expiration date and you decide not to proceed with the hearing to turn the temporary order into an injunction (permanent restraining order). When you initially apply for an injunction, you will have the option to additionally file for a temporary restraining order, which will protect you until the court can schedule a full hearing on the matter. If you request a temporary restraining order, you will immediately be given a hearing with a judge. The judge will set a hearing date and decide whether to grant you immediate protection in the form of a short-term, temporary restraining order, which typically expires on the hearing date; the hearing is typically scheduled within 14 days of your application. If you decide you are not in need of protection, you can drop the restraining order by failing to appear at the full hearing and allowing the temporary order to expire.
File a Dismissal Order for a Temporary Restraining Order or Injunction. This one-page form can be obtained online or at your court clerk's office. On this form, enter the case name and number, then check either box five ("The petitioner has requested a dismissal of this action and/or to vacate either the temporary restraining order or injunction previously entered") or box six ("The parties have stipulated to a dismissal"). Use box five if you are entering the dismissal on your own, or choose box six if you are entering in conjunction with the respondent, your alleged abuser. Give this form to the court clerk, who will file it with the judge. The judge will hold a hearing, at which you will have the opportunity to explain why you want to drop the restraining order. The judge will rule on the matter, and the court will see that the form and decision are filed with the court and distributed to the petitioner, respondent and local law enforcement.
Allow an injunction to expire. In Wisconsin, when an injunction is issued by the court, the judge sets an expiration date, up to four years from the date issuance. Prior to the expiration, you are allowed to apply for an extension. If at the end of your injunction's terms you feel you are no longer in need of protection, you can allow it to expire without renewal, effectively dropping the restraining order and leaving it no longer legally binding.
- Restraining orders must be dropped by the court to no longer be legally binding; the petitioner cannot just choose to drop it. If the respondent knowingly violates a restraining order, even with the petitioner's permission, he may be punished by up to nine months in jail and/or a maximum fine of $1,000.
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