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Demystifying Vehicle Repossessions in Wisconsin: Understanding Breach of Peace

Posted by Nathan DeLadurantey | Feb 21, 2024

Vehicle repossession can be a stressful and confusing experience for both lenders and borrowers. In Wisconsin, like in many states, there are specific laws and regulations governing the repossession process to ensure fairness and prevent unnecessary disruptions or conflicts. One crucial aspect of repossession is the concept of "breach of peace," which plays a significant role in determining the legality of a repossession. In this blog post, we'll delve into the intricacies of vehicle repossessions in Wisconsin and explore the implications of breach of peace.

Understanding Vehicle Repossessions: Vehicle repossession occurs when a borrower fails to make timely payments on an auto loan or lease agreement, resulting in the lender reclaiming the vehicle. In Wisconsin, lenders have the right to repossess a vehicle without obtaining a court order or providing advance notice to the borrower, as long as they do not breach the peace in the process.

What Constitutes Breach of Peace? The term "breach of peace" encompasses a wide range of actions that may occur during a repossession and is defined broadly under Wisconsin law. Examples of breach of peace include:

  1. Threats or use of force: Lenders or repossession agents cannot use physical force or threats of violence to repossess a vehicle. Any attempt to intimidate or coerce the borrower constitutes a breach of peace.

  2. Trespassing: Repossession agents must not enter private property without the owner's permission to repossess a vehicle. Unauthorized entry onto a borrower's property, such as their home or gated driveway, constitutes a breach of peace.

  3. Removing a vehicle from a closed garage: If a vehicle is parked in a closed garage or another locked structure, repossession agents cannot enter the premises without the borrower's consent. Doing so would be considered a breach of peace.

  4. Deception or misrepresentation: Lenders or repossession agents cannot use deceptive tactics or misrepresentations to gain access to the vehicle or obtain possession. This includes falsely claiming to be law enforcement or misrepresenting their intentions.

  5. Simply repossessing a vehicle over a consumers statement (called an objection) to the repossession. Merely saying "no, don't take my car" in a simple and non-agressive matter is sufficient! 

Consequences of Breach of Peace: If a lender or repossession agent breaches the peace during a repossession in Wisconsin, the borrower may have legal recourse. In such cases, the repossession may be deemed unlawful, and the borrower may be entitled to damages, including compensation for any harm suffered and recovery of the vehicle.

Seeking Legal Advice: If you believe your vehicle was unlawfully repossessed or if you have questions about your rights as a borrower in Wisconsin, it's essential to seek legal advice from a qualified attorney. An experienced attorney can review the circumstances of the repossession and provide guidance on the best course of action to protect your rights and interests.

Conclusion: Vehicle repossession is a significant legal matter that requires a thorough understanding of Wisconsin's laws and regulations. Breach of peace plays a crucial role in determining the legality of a repossession and ensuring that borrowers are treated fairly throughout the process. By familiarizing themselves with the concept of breach of peace and seeking legal advice when needed, borrowers can navigate the repossession process with confidence and advocate for their rights.


Attorney Nathan DeLadurantey offers free consultations to explain your legal rights in Wisconsin. Free consultations can be scheduled online. 

About the Author

Nathan DeLadurantey

Nathan DeLadurantey ATTORNEY [email protected] Nathan is a skilled consumer lawyer who handles cases and trials all over Wisconsin. Phone consultations are always free and welcomed. Nathan has helped clients receive large jury verdicts and settlements stemming from consumer law violations, and is ready and able to assist.


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