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TRAFFIC CITATIONS
Receiving a traffic citation usually is a stressful event for most of us. Many times, questions occur after you have had time to reflect back at your individual situation. This brochure is designed to answer questions you may have concerning the citation you have been issued.
 
What will happen if I appear in court on the date on my citation? The date indicated on your citation is the date of your initial appearance. An initial appearance is your opportunity to enter a plea to the charge. You may plead guilty, no contest, or not guilty. The initial appearance is not the trial date. If you plead guilty or no contest, the court will find you guilty and the matter will be resolved at the initial appearance. Be prepared to pay the ticket at that time. There is no guarantee that your ticket will be reduced. Your ticket may already be written for the minimum forfeiture and points. If you plead not guilty, your case will be scheduled for a pretrial conference at a later date.
 
Must I appear in court on the date set forth on my citation? You may avoid appearing in court by sending the amount indicated on the citation prior to your court date. If money is posted and you do not appear in court, you will be found guilty and the amount posted will be forfeited. 
 
If you wish to pay your citation, you may do so at the Clerk of Courts Office in the Law Enforcement Center, Room 1200 or call 888-604-7888 or you may Pay On-Line.  La Crosse County's pay code is 1410 and you will need this number to pay your citation on-line.
 
If you wish to plead not guilty, you may do this by mail without appearing in court on the date set forth on your citation. Mail the plea to the Clerk of Circuit Court, 333 Vine St., Room 1200, La Crosse, WI 54601-3296. Include the charge, the date you were scheduled to appear, the name of the police agency that issued the ticket, the ticket number, your current mailing address and telephone number. This MUST be received by the date indicated on the citation. A court date for a pretrial conference will be mailed to you. You WILL have to appear at the pretrial conference. A pretrial conference is a meeting with the attorney representing the agency issuing the citation. The pretrial conference gives you the opportunity to discuss your position with them and their position with you to see if the matter can be resolved short of a court trial.
 
If you do not post bail money and you also fail to appear in court, a judgment will be entered against you for the amount of the ticket. From the date of judgment, you will be allowed 30 days to pay. Failure to pay within 30 days will result in either a warrant for your arrest or suspension of your license for up to 5 years.
 
I wish to plead not guilty, how do I do that and what will happen in court? You may plead not guilty either by appearing in court on the date indicated on your citation, or by entering a not guilty plea in writing prior to the court date. Mail the written plea of not guilty to Clerk of Circuit Court, 333 Vine St., Room 1200, La Crosse, WI 54601-3296. Include the charge, the date you were scheduled to appear, the name of the police agency that issued the ticket, the ticket number, your current mailing address and telephone number. This MUST be received by the date indicated on your citation.
 
After you plead not guilty, the case will be scheduled for a pretrial conference. You MUST attend the pretrial conference. After the pretrial conference, the case will be scheduled for the final conference or trial. You have the right to a jury trial. If you want to preserve your right to a jury trial, you must make a written demand for a jury trial and post jury fees within 10 days following the date of your initial appearance.
 
I'm worried about the points to be assessed against my driving record. How do I know if I'm in point trouble? If you are found guilty of a traffic violation, your driving record may be charged with demerit points. The court will not determine the number of points assessed against your record. The court will merely report the conviction to the Division of Motor Vehicles and the Division will assess the number of points against your record, depending upon the charge. The following point schedule lists common traffic violations. Other violations, not listed, may also carry points. If you accumulate 12 points against your driving record within a one-year period by date of violations, your license will be suspended or revoked.  Wisconsin Department of Transportation
 
Questions
Any questions you wish answered prior to your appearance in court, other than routine time schedule questions, etc., should be addressed to your attorney. Court and Clerk's office personnel are prohibited by law and the order of the court from giving legal advice.
 
Your Final Decision
Regardless of how you intend to plead or the final disposition of your case, resolve now to become a better driver. Your life and entire future could well depend on this decision.

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Updated: 07/31/2012

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