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Wisconsin Court Records

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How to Fight a Traffic Ticket in Wisconsin

Wisconsin state laws outline the state’s traffic laws and penalties for traffic offenders. The state categorizes traffic offenses into speeding, moving, and non-moving citations. The Wisconsin State Department of Transportation, in partnership with the State Patrol, is responsible for issuing citations to offending road users.

Receiving a traffic citation does not necessarily translate to being guilty. It generally means that the individual is alleged to have committed an offense and will need to prove otherwise or be penalized. Traffic tickets in Wisconsin typically necessitate a court appearance. In court, the defendant has one of three options. Guilty, no contest, or non-guilty plea. Both guilty and no contest pleas usually lead to a conviction. Except for more serious traffic offenses that require a full trial, most traffic citations get resolved in Wisconsin by posting bail. Upon receiving it, the court closes the case but reports a conviction to the state’s Department of Transportation. Convictions may show up as points on the driving record of the individual. It may result in problems after the incident, such as rising insurance rates and the possibility of losing driving privileges.

Records of traffic violations and all other public records may be accessible from some third-party websites. Aggregate sites are a convenient alternative for inquirers interested in searching for multiple records across several US districts. To search these databases, however, users are typically expected to provide:

  • The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
  • The location or assumed location of the document or person involved

Third-party sites are operated independently of government sources. Consequently, the information provided by these sites should be verified through official custodians.

Is it Worth it to Fight a Traffic Ticket in Wisconsin?

Wisconsin residents have the right to contest a traffic ticket if they are confident in the facts and evidence of their case. If they win in court, they will not face the consequences of a driving conviction. However, parties should have the facts of the state’s traffic laws and understand them to improve the chances of a favorable outcome.

Ways to Fight a Traffic Ticket in Wisconsin

Traffic citations in Wisconsin typically require a court appearance. For persons who wish to fight a traffic citation, this default appearance is not the same as the trial date. It is called an initial court appearance. Here, the defendant gets to enter a not-guilty plea. The court also offers the opportunity for a negotiation with the prosecutor. If all negotiation fails, the individual receives the trial’s date and time before exiting the court. Defendants may have the option of requesting a jury trial. Interested parties are usually required to indicate their interest within 10 days from the date of initial appearance or by mail. Applicants may also pay $36 for the jury trial. Failure to do this within this time frame means that the individual has waived the right to a jury trial. On the date of trial, the prosecutor presents the case before the judge. The defendant gets a chance to defend himself or herself. If it is a jury trial, the judge allows the jury to review and make their recommendations on the case. In a non-jury trial, the judge is responsible for making all decisions. If the judge finds the defendant guilty, the guilty party may proceed to fulfill the ticket obligations.

How to Fight a Traffic Ticket Without Going to Court in Wisconsin

Ticketed persons can opt to send their not-guilty plea by mail to the court on or before the initial appearance date. Although it is more convenient, some county authorities like Jefferson do not allow the prosecutor to negotiate and the courts may not allow phone conversation for this purpose. Some counties like Outagamie schedule a pretrial conference for which attendance is mandatory. To plead not guilty by mail, send the following information to the Clerk of Court:

  • Plea
  • Charge
  • The scheduled date of initial appearance stated on the citation
  • Name of the police agency issuing the citation
  • Ticket number
  • Current phone number and mail address

The court responds by mailing a scheduled trial date in a written notice to the sender’s address.

How Do You Get a Traffic Ticket Reduced in Wisconsin?

There is no guarantee of a traffic ticket reduction in Wisconsin. It is the product of negotiations between the defendant and the prosecutor at the initial court appearance. However, there is a chance of a payment plan, provided the defendant appears in person to sign an official agreement.

Can You Get a Speeding Ticket Dismissed in Wisconsin?

The process of dismissing a speeding ticket in Wisconsin is the same as other types of traffic violation tickets. Offenders may either fight it in court or negotiate a dismissal at the initial appearance. Other reasons that the court may dismiss a ticket are as follows:

  • If the prosecutor decides to drop the case
  • If there are significant inconsistencies in the details of the ticket

What Happens if You Plead Guilty to a Traffic Ticket in Wisconsin?

Pleading guilty to a traffic ticket in Wisconsin may lead to higher insurance premium payments, a suspension/revocation of the driver’s license, and documentation that can serve as a potential source of litigation in the future. While pleading may give momentary relief from the law, secondary challenges may surface.

How to Find a Traffic Ticket Attorney in Wisconsin

Consulting an attorney may raise the chances of winning a traffic ticket case. A professional attorney’s experience and advice may be valuable in fighting a traffic ticket or getting the case dismissed. The Wisconsin Court System provides links to the directory of licensed attorneys in the state. Additionally, most law firms in Wisconsin advertise their services online. Search engines should return a list of traffic ticket lawyers available in the state.

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