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Traffic Ticket FAQ in Wisconsin

I just got ticketed. What's my next step?

You need to enter a guilty, no contest or not guilty plea. The first options require paying your traffic ticket fine to the court listed on the citation. The other option, not guilty, demands more time and effort since you'll be challenging the ticket in court. This may mean architecting your own defense, or hiring the help of legal counsel.

What happens if I ignore my WI traffic ticket?

Failing to enter a plea before the ticket's appearance date expires comes with severe repercussions. In addition to the suspension of your WI driver's license, the 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 12% interest
  • Seize your tax refund
  • Refer your case to a collection agency

Why, in addition to the traffic ticket fine, do I have to pay so many surcharges?

Surcharges are mandated by the state statutes. These are used to fund various state programs and projects.

What happens if I lose my traffic ticket?

Contact the presiding court as quickly as possible. This will be the court (Municipal or Circuit) that was listed on your citation. If you don't recall the court, learn what steps to take in our Lost Traffic Ticket page.

Will points be added to my driving record?

Depending on the nature of the traffic violation, the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will assign between 2 and 6 points to your driving record.

Will the DMV suspend my WI driver's license if I accrue too many points?

If you reach 12 points within 12 months the DMV will either suspend or revoke your driver's license.

Does Wisconsin offer a point reduction option?

Completing a state-approved traffic safety course earns a reduction of 3 points. Learn more in our Defensive Driving page.

Will a traffic violation influence my auto insurance rates?

This depends on the policies of your auto insurance provider. As a rule, traffic ticket violations do usually trigger higher premiums. If you find your current coverage is stretching the budget, take the time to look into a new auto insurance company. You can conveniently compare rates online from a variety of providers.

Why should I check my driving record?

Knowing where you stand with points, especially after getting cited, could possibly save you from a suspended license. For instance, if your point total is approaching Wisconsin's suspension mark of 12 points, you may be more apt to pursue the state's point reduction option.

Plus, it's always smart to check for accuracy.

What if I want to plead guilty but cannot attend the court appearance date?

No problem. You can enter a not guilty plea by mailing or faxing a written statement to the court listed on your citation. Include:

  • The charge and violation date
  • The date you were scheduled to appear in court
  • The name of the citing police agency
  • The ticket number
  • Your phone number and current mailing address

You will then be notified by mail of a future pretrial date.

Should I hire a traffic ticket attorney?

Legal counsel will improve your chances for reduced charges or a dismissed ticket. This in turn will spare you of points, the possible loss of driving privileges and increased car insurance rates.

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