Wisonsin dating laws

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One of the fundamental problems presented by the expanded statute is that it does not adequately define "dating relationship." The statutory language appears to impose the far reaching and long-range consequences of an injunction on individuals who may have been involved in brief, fairly minimal relationships. These privileges are narrowly tailored to ensure that they further the interests of justice and do not lead to abuse.The statute offers no guidance (other than requiring a romantic or intimate relationship) as to what constitutes dating. Formal training, licensing, and a formal code of conduct have always been critical to the granting of a privilege.The existence of this "conflict" has not yet been recognized by any court, let alone reviewed to determine whether withholding this information is constitutional.As the statute is written, however, the language would certainly apply to victim/witness advocates in a district attorney's office.Prosecutors are constitutionally mandated to disclose all exculpatory evidence. For example, a complaining witness's contradictory or inconsistent statements (or total recantation) made to a victim/witness worker (that is, an employee of a prosecutor's or DA's office who assists victims and witnesses) is information critical to the defense.A prosecutor is required to disclose this information.The underlying rationale for this new evidentiary privilege is that the information shared by victims may contain specific details, such as contact information, that will affect the victim's safety and well-being.Therefore, the information needs to be held in the highest confidence.

Also, the maximum length of a domestic abuse injunction has been extended from two years to four years - this is significant as both a penalty for the perpetrator and a shield for the victim. Covered relationships include attorney-client, physician-patient, registered nurse-patient, chiropractor-patient, psychologist-patient, social worker-patient, marriage/family therapist-patient, professional counselor-patient, and clergy-parishioner.

Can these fundamental rights now be interfered with?

The tentative answer is that they probably could be barred by the victim or the advocate.

The concepts of domestic abuse and domestic relationships now extend outside the family and household (that is, traditionally domestic) setting and expose a whole new group of persons to sanctions. Beyond that directive, however, there are no statutory or other guidelines to define when a dating relationship exists for purposes of the statute.

Naturally, this lack of guidance begs the question: Why include dating relationship under the domestic abuse injunction statute given the many legal remedies already available to victims of domestic abuse? What about couples who live in distant cities and only see each other occasionally? The interpretation and application of the length, type, and frequency factors can be as varied as the judge who applies the factors - likely leading to great disparity in different parts of the state.

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