- 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
- 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
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
- 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
- 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
- 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.