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    SUMMARY: How to Fight a Wisconsin Traffic Ticket

    If you plan to fight your WI traffic ticket, you'll need to submit a "not guilty" plea to your court by mail, by fax, or in person (varies by court). For specific instructions, refer to your traffic ticket or contact the appropriate municipal or circuit court.

    Keep reading this page to learn more about fighting your traffic ticket in Wisconsin.

    Fighting a WI Traffic Ticket

    When you're cited for a WI traffic violation, you'll have several plea options:

    • Guilty.
    • No contest.
    • Not guilty.

    Regardless of plea, it must be entered before the due date listed on your WI traffic ticket. If you cannot find the citation, read what steps to take in our Lost Traffic Ticket page.

    Pay Ticket
    (Plead Guilty or No Contest)

    • Pay the fine.
    • Option to plea bargain penalties.
    • Incur points on your driving record (could lead to license suspension/revocation).
    • Possibly incur increase on auto insurance rates.
    • Possibly have points reduced by attending traffic school.

    Learn more about
    Paying a Traffic Ticket »

    Fight Ticket
    (Plead Not Guilty)

    • Contest traffic ticket via trial.
    • Choose to represent yourself or hire an attorney.
    • Possibly lose option to plea bargain for lesser penalties.
    • No penalties if found not guilty, but must pay court/attorney fees.

    Learn more by reading below.

    What it Means to Fight Your Traffic Ticket

    Fighting your WI traffic citation means:

    • You are exercising your right to a trial by court with the intent of having the charges reduced or dismissed.
    • You may represent yourself or hire a traffic ticket lawyer to present your case.
    • Penalties and fines will be dropped if the court rules in your favor. Payment of court and legal fees will still be required.
    • If the court finds you "guilty," you must still pay all fines, court and legal fees. Points will be assigned to your driving record, leading to possible loss of your Wisconsin driving privileges and increased car insurance rates.

    Pleading Guilty or No Contest

    Of course, you also have the option to plead "guilty" or "no contest." Both pleas require nothing more than paying the ticket fine before the appearance date listed on the citation. Our Pay Traffic Ticket page has all the details.

    Avoid License Suspension and Arrest

    Neglecting your WI traffic ticket is not advised. The Department of Transportation (DOT) will suspend your WI driver's license and the presiding court may:

    • Issue a bench warrant for your arrest.
    • Enter a civil judgement against you, allowing for a lien to be placed against any real estate you own.
    • Charge you interest.
    • Seize your tax refund.
    • Refer your case to a collection agency.

    Notify the Wisconsin Traffic Court

    You must submit a " not guilty" plea to the court listed on your traffic ticket. This will either be a municipal or a circuit court.

    You have a couple options on how to enter your " not guilty" plea:

    In Person

    Appear at the court on the date and time listed on the ticket for a pretrial conference with either a court officer or a representative from the District Attorney's office. If no agreement is reached, a trial date will be set at a future time.

    In Writing

    You can submit your " not guilty" plea in writing before the citation's appearance date expires. Be sure to include:

    • Your name.
    • Your traffic ticket number.
    • The court date listed on your ticket.
    • The name of the citing law enforcement agency (sheriff, state patrol, etc.).
    • The violation date.
    • Your current mailing address and phone number.

    You can either mail your request to the court address or send it by fax. The traffic court will then mail you a pretrial conference date (a mandatory attendance).

    Hire a WI Traffic Ticket Attorney

    Consulting a traffic ticket lawyer may increase your chances for a favorable verdict. This may mean reduced charges or outright dismissal. Depending on your driving record, this may also prevent your WI driver's license from being suspended and keep your car insurance rates in check.

    Prepare Your Case

    If you decide against legal representation, the onus falls on you for presenting a strong case. This may require subpoenaing witnesses and ordering your driving record as evidence.

    Plead Your Case Before a Judge

    After hearing both sides, the Wisconsin traffic court will issue a verdict. If found "guilty," you can expect:

    • Points assigned to your driving record
    • Depending on your driving history, the possible suspension or revocation of your WI driver's license
    • Increased car insurance rates

    If you disagree with the judge's decision, you own the right to appeal. Contact the court clerk on how to proceed.

    Check Your Wisconsin Driving Record

    Regardless of verdict, check your WI driving record after the trial to verify the point total. If you detect any inaccuracies, contact the Wisconsin DOT. If your point total is nearing Wisconsin's suspension mark for points, look into the state's traffic school option.

    Shop for Better Auto Insurance Rates

    Violations on a WI driving record can result in expensive auto insurance rates. Since all providers have different policies regarding traffic violations, explore your options for a more budget-friendly car insurance policy by comparing rates online.

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