The court date on the citation is your Initial Appearance. Unless “Appearance Required” is checked “yes” on your citation, you do not have to appear if you use one of the plea options available to you which are listed below.
If you elect to contest (dispute) the matter, you will be required to appear for a Pretrial and the Trial. Contested matters cannot be heard at the time of the Initial Appearance.

MANDATORY APPEARANCES

The following are criminal traffic charges that require that you be present at the time of the Initial Appearance as noted on your citation. An arrest warrant will be issued if you fail to appear for a mandatory appearance.

  • Operating while under the influence of an intoxicant or controlled substance.
  • Reckless driving; 2nd or greater offense.
  • Operating after revocation; 1st or greater offense.
  • Hit & run; death, injury or property damage of $200 or more.
  • No valid driver’s license; 2nd or greater offense.

TYPES OF PLEAS

  • Not Guilty: This denies the allegation.
  • Guilty: This admits the allegation.
  • No Contest: Permits the court to find you guilty without an admission of guilt.

PLEA OPTIONS

If you DO NOT want to contest the charge:

  • Send in the stipulation (pink citation) along with the deposit amount before the initial appearance. The deposit will then be forfeited.
  • No Stipulation or Appearance. If you do not return a stipulation (pink citation) and fail to appear, a plea of no contest will be entered. The forfeiture will be imposed and you will be given 30 days to have the fine paid in full.

If you WANT to contest the charge:

  • Plea By Mail Or Fax: If you want to plead “Not Guilty” and not appear at the initial appearance, you can enter that plea in writing and send it to the Clerk of Courts prior to the initial appearance date. A “Not Guilty” plea will not be accepted by telephone.
  • Type of Trial; Criminal Charges: If charged with a criminal-traffic offense, you have the right to have a jury trial without the payment of any fee.
  • Type of Trial; Civil Charges: Most traffic matters are civil in nature and any trial would be to the court (the judge). If you request a trial by jury, you are required to post a non-refundable $36.00 six-person jury fee within ten days of your initial appearance. (All jury trials in forfeiture cases are before a 6-person jury.)

 

DEFAULT JUDGMENTS
If you fail to do any of the above and do not appear at the “Initial Appearance” a default judgment will be entered against you and the forfeiture imposed. This does not apply to “Mandatory Appearances”.
(See TIME TO PAY).

  

 

TIME TO PAY

Default judgments due to non-appearance require payment within 30 days with no extensions. Payment plans are set up for appearance only because a signed agreement is required. Failure to pay in the time allowed will result in a 2-year suspension of license and/or a warrant issued for your arrest. Payments can also be accepted with credit card at: http://wicourts.gov/services/public/payonline.htm

COMMUNICATION WITH THE COURT:

Clerk of Courts-Traffic Division
Marathon County Courthouse
500 Forest Street
Wausau, Wisconsin 54403
Phone: (715) 261-1270
Fax: (715) 261-1279

MANDATORY
LOSS OF DRIVER’S LICENSE
COURT ORDERED
The following violations, upon conviction, may or shall result in a required suspension or revocation of your driver’s license:

  • Speeding 25 MPH or more over the limit on the open road.
  • A refusal to take an offered test for intoxication, unless upon a timely request the court would find such refusal to be reasonable under the law.
  • Operating while under the influence of an intoxicant or drug.
  • Misrepresenting age to procure intoxicants or conviction of person under 18 of possessing or consuming intoxicants.

NOTE: The court also has the inherent authority to suspend or revoke a driver’s license for any violation of the traffic laws depending upon the severity of the offense.

MANDATORY
LOSS OF DRIVER’S LICENSE
BY THE DEPARTMENT OF MOTOR VEHICLES
The following violations, upon conviction, will result in a mandatory loss of your driver’s license by the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

  • Homicide by reckless conduct, negligence with a motor vehicle or intoxicated operation of a motor vehicle.
  • Operating while under the influence of an intoxicant or drug.
  • Conviction of a felony in which a motor vehicle was involved.
  • Hit & run from an accident resulting in death, personal injury or serious property damage.
  • Perjury, false statement or false statement submitted to DMV.
  • Operating after revocation.
  • Operating vehicle without filing statement of financial responsibility when required to do so.
  • Conviction in another state of a violation, which, if committed in Wisconsin, would result in a revocation or suspension.
  • Conviction of any traffic violation that results in an accident causing the death of another.
  • Conviction of altering license, loaning license to another, fraudulently using a license, or permitting another to fraudulently use license.

NOTE: The WI statute gives the DMV the authority to suspend or revoke driver’s license.

DEMERIT POINT SYSTEM

Assessment of Points/Loss of License:

Most moving traffic violations will result in demerit points assessed against the driver’s record. The points are established by law and based upon the seriousness of the offense. Your citation should tell you how many demerit points would be assessed for that offense at the top and near the center. If you are uncertain, ask the court commissioner or judge at the time of your court appearance. Points will double for all second and subsequent offenses for those with a Probationary License. If you accumulate more than 12 points in a year, the DMV will suspend your driver’s license.

Point Reduction Traffic School:

You can have your points reduced by attending an approved traffic school. However, it must occur before a new conviction and no more than 3 points will be restored. You can do so only once every five years and the reduction cannot apply if the current violation results in a revocation for operating while under the influence.

QUESTIONS REGARDING YOUR DRIVER’S RECORD? CONTACT THE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION AT:

  • Wausau Office: 715/359-6981
  • Madison Office: 608/266-2261