Q: Can I have an attorney appointed to represent me?
A: No. Attorneys are only appointed by a court in criminal cases. Municipal courts do not handle criminal cases. The vast majority of people appearing in municipal courts do not have attorneys. You may, of course, choose to hire an attorney or represent yourself. If you are not represented by an attorney, the judge will protect your rights and give you some guidance through the procedures.
Q: I missed by court date (initial appearance), what's going to happen now?
A: If you missed a court date that was more than two weeks ago, you were probably found guilty and a judgment was entered against you by default. You can call the court clerk and confirm that, or simply wait until you receive a notice that gives you time in which to pay the forfeiture.
Q: can I get a judgment that was entered against me by default reopened?
A: You can request the judge to reopen your case, explaining why you missed your court date and why you want it reopened. You can make your request for a Motion To Reopen form by mail or email to the court. If the reopening request is more than six months past the entry of a judgment, a hearing will be held before the judge with the town attorney present unless the town attorney agrees to the request.
Q: I didn't pay my forfeiture(s) and now I'm suspended. What can I do?
A: If your license is suspended for failure to pay, the suspension will be lifted once the forfeiture(s) is paid in full. You may pay in person, by mail or online. You should expect to wait 24 - 48 hours for notification to clear through Department of Transportation also known as the DMV. If you pay online you will need to wait 48 to 72 hours (business days) for the court to receive the monies and report to the Department of Transportation. Make sure you have informed the court your license has been suspended. Then you have to pay a reinstatement fee to the Department of Motor Vehicle and they will reinstate your driving privileges. You can pay in person or online. If you cannot pay the forfeiture(s), you can request a court date and request the judge to lift the suspension. It is likely you will be required to pay some portion of the amount owed and have a realistic plan to pay the balance.
Q: How does the point system work?
A: If you accumulate 12 or more points with in a 12-month period, measured backwards from the date the last ticket was issued, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT) will suspend your driving privilege.
Q: How long will this traffic charge remain on my record?
A: The points will remain on your record for only one year from the date of the violation. The charge itself will remain on your driving record for five (5) years, except a charge of Operating While Intoxicated or Operating with a Prohibited Alcohol Concentration will remain on your record forever.
Q: Can I speak to the judge before my initial court appearance?
A: The judge cannot speak to either party (the town prosecutor or the defendant) about the merits of a pending matter unless the other party is present. Written communications to the court must be copied to the opposing party. Contact information for the court is listed online.