Drivers may receive traffic tickets in Wisconsin for violations of various state motor vehicle laws. If you receive a WI traffic citation, you are encouraged to settle the issue by the date displayed on the ticket in order to avoid a default conviction of guilty, which will lead to the maximum imposed traffic fines and penalties. Motorists can either prepare a traffic ticket defense in WI and contest the issue in court, or they can provide their traffic tickets payments and admit the charges. Learn more about traffic tickets in WI and how they affect your driving record and your car insurance coverage by reading the paragraphs below:
- Fighting a Wisconsin ticket.
- Paying a Wisconsin ticket.
- Lost tickets in Wisconsin.
- Wisconsin fines and penalties.
- Points in Wisconsin.
- How tickets affect a Wisconsin driver's license.
- Wisconsin car insurance fines and violations.
Fighting a Wisconsin Ticket
Instead of paying driving fines in Wisconsin associated to certain traffic citations, drivers have the right to fight traffic tickets and prove that they are not guilty of the offense. To initiate the procedure to dispute traffic tickets in WI, drivers will first have to notify the presiding court of their decision. Depending on the practices of the individual court, you may be able to submit your response via various methods. You can start preparing your WI traffic ticket defense once the court schedules your pretrial date. If you are unable to settle your traffic ticket issue with the state prosecutor during the pretrial session, the court will set the date of your judge or jury trial.
After hearing your traffic citation case, the judge or the jury will issue the verdict. If you are unable to beat a traffic ticket in WI, you will generally be required to pay the applicable traffic fines and court costs and the conviction will be reported on your driver's record. Depending on the severity of the offense, drivers may also be subject to additional penalties, such as community service and/or jail sentences. If you successfully defend your case in the traffic violation court, you will suffer no consequences.
Paying a Wisconsin Ticket
The procedure to pay traffic citations in Wisconsin can be completed via several methods. The availability of the ticket violation payment methods, however, varies based on factors such as the court that is processing your ticket and whether or not you are required to settle the issue in person. Your traffic citation will generally inform you of whether or not you are granted the option of paying traffic tickets online in WI, or you have to complete the process via more conventional methods. Learn how to pay a speeding ticket and other types of citations in Wisconsin by visiting the "How to Pay Traffic Tickets" web page.
Lost Tickets in Wisconsin
Drivers with lost traffic tickets in Wisconsin may be unable to successfully settle their issue, as the WI traffic citation contains valuable information such as the date by which you must respond and whether or not you have to appear in person. The standard method to retrieve a lost traffic ticket is to contact the municipal or the circuit court that is handling your case and provide your personal information. You can resume the process of paying driving fines or fighting traffic tickets in WI after obtaining the necessary information.
Wisconsin Fines and Penalties
The Wisconsin traffic fines associated with specific tickets vary based on factors such as the severity of the traffic violation, the court that is processing your traffic ticket and the payment method. For instance, drivers who utilize the option to pay traffic ticket online in WI will generally be required to pay an additional convenience fee. While the base traffic fine varies from court to court, the additional fees and surcharges outlined in the following list are generally uniform across the state:
- Court costs: $25
- Court support services fee: $68
- Penalty assessment surcharge: 26 percent of the base traffic fine in WI
- Jail assessment surcharge: 1 percent of the base fine
- Crime lab and drug assessment fee: $16
- Justice information system fee: $21.50
- Driver improvement surcharge: $365 for driving under the influence offenses
- Railroad crossing improvement fee: 50 percent of the base fine for offenses committed while crossing over railroad tracks
Note: Depending on your circumstances, you may not be required to provide payment for all the fees and surcharges outlined above.
Points in Wisconsin
Convictions of certain traffic violations in Wisconsin will also result in the accumulation of a specific amount of demerit points on your WI driving record. The number of accumulated points varies based on the severity of the offense. Review several offenses that result in traffic citations in WI and their corresponding point penalties in the following list:
- Obstructing the flow of traffic: 2 points.
- Violation of a license restriction: 3 points.
- Failure to give the proper signal: 3 points.
- Unnecessary acceleration: 4 points.
- Failure to yield to an emergency vehicle: 4 points.
- Reckless driving or racing: 6 points.
Note: The Wisconsin Department of Transportation offers you the option of reducing your total point count by three with a certificate of completion of a traffic safety school course.
How Tickets Affect a Wisconsin Drivers License
Drivers who fail to present a successful traffic ticket defense in Wisconsin, and those who provide their traffic tickets payments, are at risk of loss of their driving privileges. The severity of the penalty varies based on the number of WI traffic tickets that the driver has received and the resulting amount of demerit points reported on his or her record. If you accrue 12 to 16 points within a 12-month period, for instance, you will be penalized with a two-month suspension. Drivers who incur convictions of traffic violations that lead to more than 30 points, on the other hand, will be punished with a one-year license suspension.
Wisconsin Car Insurance Fines and Violations
Law enforcement officials also issue Wisconsin traffic citations to drivers who fail to provide proof of insurance after a traffic stop or a crash. Traffic fines in the amount of $500 are also issued to motorists who have discontinued their car liability insurance coverage. The largest fine amount is reserved for drivers who present falsified documents of a vehicle insurance policy. The traffic tickets issued in such cases carry fines of up to $5,000.
Note: If you incur several traffic citations within a certain time period, you may also observe an increase of your vehicle insurance policy rates, since insurance providers reassess your safe driving practices on a regular basis. In such cases, you may be able to earn an insurance discount by completing a defensive driving course.