What are Wisconsin Traffic Tickets?
Traffic tickets in Wisconsin are written orders handed to motorists that have supposedly violated a traffic law. Traffic tickets contain information about the offense, the class of severity as defined by the state’s traffic laws, and the consequences of the offense. The Wisconsin State Patrol monitors road users’ activities and hands out traffic tickets to offenders. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WinDoT), the Wisconsin State Patrol, and the Circuit Court share the task of generating and maintaining traffic records.
Records that are considered public may also be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching simpler, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for a specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:
- The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
- The location or assumed location of the record or person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state that person resides in or was accused in.
Third-party sites are independent from government sources, and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.
What Does a Traffic Citation Mean?
The terms traffic tickets and traffic citations are used interchangeably in Wisconsin. However, citations often involve the offender’s mandatory appearance in court and may be associated with more serious traffic violations. A traffic ticket may not necessarily be filed with the traffic court and is a reflection of the minor traffic offense, and offenders may opt to challenge the traffic ticket in court.
How Do I Pay a Traffic Ticket in Wisconsin?
The payment of a traffic ticket in Wisconsin is often referred to as a bond. Bonds may be paid by cash, money order, or check. Persons seeking to pay for a traffic ticket should send the bond and the pink copy of the traffic citation to the Clerk of Courts’ office in the county where the citation was issued. The payment must contain the following:
- The amount of fine deposited
- The court date stated on the ticket.
- A copy of the ticket citation
- Name and address of the ticketed of ticketed individual
- Citation number,
- The offense committed and the name of the arresting agency.
Make checks payable to the Clerk of Court. Note that some tickets can be paid without a mandatory appearance in court. However, opting to pay a traffic ticket in Wisconsin is interpreted as an admission of guilt. When the court receives the payment, the ticket is closed, but a conviction is registered against the individual. The court reports all convictions to the Department of Transportation, which leads to the assigning of points on the offender’s driving record. When a driver accumulates points, it could lead to higher insurance rates or a suspension or driving privileges within the state.
Can You Pay Wisconsin Traffic Tickets Online?
The Wisconsin Court System allows online payments on their Circuit Court Access platforms. Payments could be in the form of an electronic check, a Visa card, or MasterCard. Online transactions attract a service fee:
- $2.50 for electronic checks
- 2.75% of the total cost of a traffic ticket for credit cards
Although some counties operate county-based online payments, there is a central payment platform for ticketed individuals who wish to pay through the online route.
How do I Pay a Ticket online in Wisconsin?
The first step is to search for the traffic ticket citation online using the online payment platform on Wisconsin Court Access. To search for a ticket, enter the following details:
- Full names of the ticketed offender, that is, the last name, first name, and middle name, if any.
- The date of birth
- Business name (if any)
- County where the ticket was issued
- The citation number
A standard search should return the case file number. Click on the case number to view the details of the ticket. Next, use the citation tab to make payment. Note that some counties do not receive payments on the Wisconsin Circuit Court Access platform. Therefore contact the circuit court of the county where the ticket was issued to confirm.
What is the Wisconsin Traffic Ticketing System?
The Wisconsin Department of Transportation enforces the Wisconsin Driving Point System. This system grades different traffic offenses according to the degree of severity by allocating penalties in the form of points. The accumulation of points often results in stiffer penalties. Driving points in Wisconsin also constitute a part of the rap sheets of such individuals. In general, an accumulation of 12 points and above within a 12-month time frame will result in the suspension of a driver’s license. The number of points also informs the amount of time allocated to suspension:
- 12 to 16 two months
- 17 to 22 - four months
- 23 to 30 - six months
Driving points exceeding 30 attracts a 1-year suspension.
By attending a traffic safety course approved by the state, a driver can have the number of points on his or her record reduced by three within three years. Below is a list of some traffic offenses and the number of points allocated to each offense:
- Deviation from traffic lanes
- Driving on the wrong side of the road
- Accelerating unnecessarily
- Failure to stop for the school bus, etc.
The above-listed offenses all attract four points each.
- Driving with an expired license
- Unlawful turns
- Failure to dim lights
- Running a red light sign, etc.,
All violations listed above attract three points.
More serious vehicle offenses attract six points, such as:
- Attempting to elude an officer
- Violating occupational license
- Driving under the influence (DUI), or Driving while intoxicated (DWI)
An individual can accumulate up to 12 points at a time if found guilty of multiple offenses hence qualifying for suspension in one incident. Although non-moving traffic violations may attract fines, they yield lower points or none at all. An example is having no registration plate light or not having the license in immediate possession. These two offenses do not attract points in the Wisconsin point system.
How Do I Know if I Have a Traffic Ticket in Wisconsin?
In Wisconsin, most offenders have their traffic tickets issued to them at the point of the allegation. Parking violations may attract citations that will be sent by mail to the address of the offender. The mailing address is obtained by retrieving it from the driver’s vehicle registration information. Another way to check is to request a driving record from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. A request may be made by submission directly to the Department’s business area in charge of the records at the office of the agency. Otherwise, send an email. Smaller and simpler requests are processed quickly, usually within ten days. The cost of photocopies at the Wisconsin Department of Transport is 15 cents per printed page and 7 cents for converting paper records into soft copies or electronic format. Other formats or processes attract different charges. Alternatively, call (608) 261–2566 to obtain a driving record. Driving records are issued only to the subjects of the record and not to third parties. Eligible third parties must either be parents who request the driving record of their children or have written consent from the holder of the record. The online service for requesting driving records is faster because it delivers processed requests directly to the driver’s email address. To use the online application, have ready a valid Wisconsin driver’s license or identification card. A driving record in Wisconsin is referred to as a driver record abstract, and it costs $5 for a copy. Certified copies of a driving record abstract are processed by downloading and filling out the MV 28964 application and submitting it to the address listed in the form.
How Can I Find a Lost Traffic Ticket in Wisconsin?
Suppose a ticketed individual lost his or her traffic ticket, contact the Circuit Court of the county where the ticket was issued. A court copy is usually available for viewing, and the individual may request copies. The Circuit Court traffic tickets platform also allows persons with lost tickets to access the details of their citations. The needed information is the names and license numbers and the county where the ticket was issued. For this reason, alleged persons are encouraged to copy out critical details of the ticket to a safe place so they can proceed with payments without delay should the ticket get lost.
How Long Does a Traffic Ticket Stay on Your Record in Wisconsin?
The Circuit Court reports all traffic tickets to the State Department of Transportation (WinDoT) as driving conviction points. The minimum time frame, after which driving convictions are eligible for removal, is five years. Serious traffic violations like driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI) remain on the driving record for at least 55 years. The same rule applies to some commercial driver convictions.
Is a Summons Worse Than a Ticket in Wisconsin?
Although the use of the term summons is not routine in Wisconsin traffic ticket matters, a ‘summons’ means that there is a mandatory order to appear in court. A summons may be given if the traffic violation is severe or if the offender is charged for violating traffic laws consecutively within a short time. Note that refusal to accept a ticket or resisting ticketing may lead to a summons. In most cases, the penalty involved may be stiffer than just a regular fine.