Explanation of Pleas
If you plead Guilty, it is an admission of the charge/s against you.
If you plead No Contest the court will treat the plea the same as a Guilty plea. By pleading No Contest, you will be admitting to the violation but will not be admitting your civil liability for use in other litigation, which should be expected if personal injury or property damage is involved.
If you plead Not Guilty, you will be given a PRETRIAL CONFERENCE NOTICE informing you of a date and time to talk to the municipal attorney or, if present, speak with him/her this evening. At that time, you and the municipal attorney will discuss the facts of your case and try to reach an agreement. The municipality must prove you are guilty by ‘clear and convincing evidence’ and the facts must indicate that it is highly probable that you committed the ordinance violation. Any agreement you reach is subject to approval by the judge. If you cannot reach an agreement, a trial date will be set. At the trial, the judge will listen impartially to both sides and make a decision.
If defendant is unable to reach a mutual stipulated plea agreement with the municipal attorney, the matter will be scheduled for trial at a future date and time. At trial, the municipal attorney will be present along with witnesses. You, the defendant, should also have your witnesses present at that time. After all testimony and all evidence has been presented, the prosecution and the defense will be given an opportunity to summarize their respective cases to the court through brief arguments. The court will then determine the defendant’s guilt or innocence and enter a judgment.
If you are found Guilty after a trial, you have the right to appeal your case to the Circuit Court. All appeals must be filed in writing within twenty (20) days after judgment. If you fail to meet this time limit, you have lost your right to appeal. All fees, forfeitures and court costs must be paid upon filing the appeal. You have the right to a jury trial on appeal with payment of all appropriate fees, etc.
If you are found Guilty of a traffic offense, demerit points may be assessed against your driving record by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. Accumulation of 12 demerit points in one year will result in the loss of your driver’s license until such time prior demerit points have been reinstated.
For any person holding a probationary license, points are doubled for a second and all subsequent violations after the first traffic violation conviction. This applies to all new drivers, regardless of age. Persons 16 years of age or older cited for traffic violations are subject to the same forfeitures and court procedures as adults.