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How to Pay a Traffic Ticket in Wisconsin

Citations or traffic tickets are issued in the State of Wisconsin for various violations of traffic law. You must respond to a citation, usually by paying a fine or appearing before a judge or a court commissioner, or else a warrant may be issued for your arrest and your driving license may be suspended.

In case you have received a citation and instead of going to court, you wish to pay the fine, the bond and the pink copy should be sent to the Clerk of Courts of the county where the citation was issued. In the court information area on the citation, the address will be given.

In case a citation was issued in a county you do not live in, you fail to pay it and there is an arrest warrant against you, you can sort it out by contacting the Clerk of the Court in the county it was issued in.

If you wish to dispute the citation, you must appear in court personally on the scheduled date, and enter a "not guilty" plea. Appearing in court gives you an opportunity to fight the traffic ticket in front of a judge or jury, and most people prefer to hire a traffic ticket lawyer to defend them in court. For more information on how to dispute a traffic ticket in Wisconsin, see our general section on Traffic Tickets and Violations. In case you forget to appear at court, you must contact the Clerk of Courts in the county where the citation was issued.

Traffic ticket information can be obtained over the phone from the concerned department of traffic or the police department or department of public works, depending on how the county or city has set up handling of traffic tickets.

PAYING A TRAFFIC TICKET - WHAT IT MEANS

When you pay a ticket, you are essentially pleading guilty to a traffic offense. Motorists should be aware that receiving and paying a traffic citation could result in higher car insurance rates and points on your driving record. Your license may be suspended if you accumulate too many points on your driving record.

HOW TO PAY THE FINE

If you decide to plead guilty to a traffic violation, there are several ways to pay the ticket. Generally, the back of the citation will clearly indicate the deadlines and options for answering the ticket. Usually, you must act within 10-15 days of receiving a traffic ticket to avoid additional fines and possible suspension of your license. Rules, payment modes and time permitted for payment depend on the counties and sometimes city rules. In some cases traffic ticket information is available on local police or Department of Public Works websites.

  1. Pay online. Most traffic tickets issued by the Traffic Violations Bureau (TVB) can be answered and paid online using a credit or debit card or electronic transfer of funds. Individual counties and sometimes cities have online payment services in place. An additional transaction fee could be charged for electronic payment. You will be required to enter the:
    • citation number
    • license plate number
    • province/county
    • credit card number
    • credit card expiry date
    • CW code from the back of the card
    • agency code
    • name and address

A confirmation number will be given once the transaction is completed. Getting this is important as this is the last step in completing your payment process.

Do remember to enter them separately, in case you have multiple traffic tickets. Also, in case the registration or license plate registration has been suspended it might take a few days more for the traffic ticket to be cleared.
  1. Pay by mail. Read the instructions on the back of the ticket carefully and follow them. Enclose a check or money order for the amount indicated on the ticket. Make sure you write your license plate number and your ticket number on the back. Cash should NOT be mailed. You can use the envelope given with the citation. Be sure to retain a copy of the citation for your personal records.
  2. Pay in person. You can pay your traffic tickets in person either at the Police Departments or Violations Bureaus. Bring the citation with you, along with a check, money order, Visa or MasterCard. Receipts will be given. It is best to check the timings payments are accepted before going. Drop boxes (normally available 24 hrs) are also available in some counties/cities (many a time at the local Police Department) for your convenience. Name and address must be clearly written where required on the envelope and/or citation.
  3. Automated Payment centers. Parking citations or traffic tickets can be paid through cash, check or credit card at automated payment centers many a time available at police stations (e.g. Milwaukee city) Receipts are also given. Transaction fee could be charged.
  4. Pay by Phone. An Interactive Voice Response System is provided by some counties/cities to pay your traffic tickets over the phone anytime of the day all through the year. An additional transaction fee could be charged for paying over phone using your credit card. You will be required to enter the:
    • citation number
    • license plate number
    • province/county
    • credit card number
    • credit card expiry date
    • CW code from the back of the card
    • agency code
    • name and address

A confirmation number will be given once the transaction is completed. Getting this is important as this is the last step to complete your payment process.

There might be a limitation on the number of transactions that can be processes for each call. For more information on paying parking tickets in a few counties/cities visit, City of Milwaukee, Manitowoc County, Dane County, City of Madison. The Division of Motor Vehicle service center number is (800) 924-3570. You may get information pertaining to your traffic ticket here.

PLEADING NOT GUILTY

If you decide to plead not guilty and dispute the ticket, read the instructions on the back of the ticket carefully. The instructions will generally indicate when and how to plead not guilty, and information about appearing in court to dispute your ticket. See our general section on Traffic Tickets and Violations for more information about how to dispute a traffic ticket in Wisconsin State.

DISMISSAL OF CHARGES

Remember that you cannot be found guilty of committing a traffic offense unless there is clear, accurate and convincing evidence that you committed the violation. Charges may be dismissed in court if the citation includes vague or incorrect information. For instance, vehicle information, time, location and circumstances must all be indicated correctly on the ticket. Many motorists choose to consult with a traffic ticket attorney to help them evaluate the validity of the ticket, and whether or not it is likely to be dismissed in court.

LOST TICKETS

In case you forget to appear at court, you must contact the Clerk of Courts in the county where the citation was issued. If you know the citation number, you can look up the details online or call the local issuing office. This varies from county to county/city. If you do not know the name of the appropriate court, you might get the information or a lead to where you could find the information from the DMV Service Center by calling (800) 924-3570.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION