Seal of Dane County County of Dane
Dane County Sheriff's Office

Domestic Abuse

The Dane County Sheriff's Office is committed to the safety and security of our community. Everyone has a right to feel safe in their homes and relationships. In an effort to assist victims experiencing domestic violence, the Sheriff's Office has put together a Safety Suggestions and Community Resources List.

The suggestions may not suit everyone's personal situation but may be helpful to someone managing their safety within their home, planning to leave an abusive relationship, or someone that has already fled from violence. The suggestions are printable and can be shared with family, friends, or co-workers that may benefit from the ideas.

Notice to Victims of Domestic Abuse

When a person has been arrested for a crime involving domestic abuse, we have an obligation to notify you about the procedure for releasing the arrested person as well as the likelihood and probable time of the arrested person's release.

The timeline for predicting when an arrested person will be released is influenced by a number of factors. While each domestic abuse arrest is unique, certain conditions must be met prior to release from jail:

  1. Formal booking into the Dane County Jail is necessary. Processing time may vary depending on how busy the jail is or on the unique considerations of the individual who has been arrested. (i.e. Does the arrested person require medical attention prior to processing?)
  2. Bail must be met before an arrested person can be released. In cases of battery and other misdemeanor charges, cash, VISA, and AMERICAN EXPRESS can be posted. MasterCard, DISCOVER, and checks are not accepted. In such cases, an arraignment will be set for a date as soon as possible (with a court time determined later). When a person bails out, the release could occur as soon as within an hour of arrest!
    For those individuals who cannot post bail or have been arrested for a felony, an arraignment will be held as soon as possible. However, in these situations, arraignment times can vary. Please call Central Booking or Court Services for specific times. Usually, the arrested person is released from jail after the arraignment.
  3. Prior to the arrested person being released on bail, they must sign an acknowledgment at the jail that they received notice of the "No Contact" requirements, and the increased penalties for additional acts of domestic abuse. Refusal to sign this acknowledgment will result in a release from jail being denied.

It should be noted that the information provided here is advisory only. Individual facts and circumstances, coupled with the varying demands placed on the jail, make it extremely difficult to predict the exact time that an arrested person will be released.

If you want to know whether an arrested person is still in jail, contact the Dane County Jail Central Booking at (608) 284-6100.

An alternative way to find out an arrested person's custody status is to register and use the VINE (Victim Information and Notification Everyday) system. Click here to access VINE.

How to Obtain a Restraining Order

The following information is provided by the Sheriff's Office and Domestic Abuse Intervention Services.

A Domestic Abuse Temporary Restraining Order / Injunction is designed for the protection of domestic abuse victims. You can apply for an order by going to the Records Center, which is located in Room 1002 of the Dane County Courthouse, 215 S. Hamilton St., Madison during regular business hours. There is no fee for the petitioner.

In most cases, a Restraining Order can be served by a Dane County Sheriff's Deputy on the same day that it is applied for. If the arrested person is still in jail, it can be served on them immediately.

At the time the temporary order is issued, a hearing date is usually set within 7 days to make the order permanent. Any violation of either a Temporary Restraining Order or an Injunction is a criminal violation which will result in the defendant being immediately arrested.

Domestic Abuse Intervention Services provides a free legal advocacy program to assist you in obtaining a Restraining Order/Injunction. For support, information, legal assistance, or shelter, call their Help and Crisis Line at (608) 251-4445 or 1 (800) 747-4045 (24 hours, Language Line and TDD).

Weapons Surrender

Upon issuance of an injunction or a conviction for domestic abuse, all firearms in possession of the respondent must be turned over to the Sheriff's Office.

How to Surrender Firearms to the Sheriff's Office

  1. Call the non-emergency Dispatch Center number (608) 255-2345
  2. Tell the Dispatcher you have been ordered by the Court to surrender your firearms to the Sheriff, and you would like to have a deputy pick them up
  3. Make sure your firearms are unloaded and uncased (you will keep any cases in your possession so you can bring them with you to pick up your firearms after the Injunction expires)
  4. Take your copy of the Property Receipt, given to you by the deputy collecting your firearms, to the Clerk of Courts for placement in the Court file
  5. DO NOT take your firearms to the Public Safety Building, the Courthouse, or any of the Sheriff's Office Precincts - You MUST have the firearms picked up by a deputy