Traffic Tickets, Costs, and Penalties in Wisconsin
In Wisconsin, traffic ticket fines vary throughout the state. For example, a citation fine for failing to yield in Racine may not be the same in Madison. Fines also vary between Municipal and Circuit courts. In addition to the traffic ticket fine, you may also be assessed a surcharge and fee as established in the Wisconsin statutes. The surcharge and fee will vary depending on the violation and license type. You may, for example, be assessed a Court Support Services fee or a Crime Lab and Drug Assessment fee.
So why might you want a lawyer? Paying your traffic ticket in Wisconsin means admitting guilt and waives your right to a court trial. No further action is required once you have paid your ticket fine. However, points may be assigned to your Wisconsin driving record and, depending on your driving history, your license may also be suspended. Additionally, the appearance of a ticket on your driving record may cause an increase in your insurance rates. Points on a record can result in anything from a slight increase in premium payments to a major increase in premium payments to cancelation of your insurance policy.
In Wisconsin, you do have the option to fight your traffic citation, and in most cases you will want to. Consulting an attorney may increase your chances for a favorable verdict, or even a dismissal. The court may reduce your charges or dismiss the citation. Depending on your driving history, this may also prevent your license from being suspended and prevent your insurance rates from increasing. However, you will still be responsible for payment of court and legal fees.
Wisconsin’s Habitual Traffic Offender Law
In addition to traffic tickets In Wisconsin, individuals who repeatedly are found guilty of breaking traffic laws are considered Habitual Traffic Offenders. A driver may be declared a habitual traffic offender if, within a five year period, a driving record shows: 12 or more convictions of moving traffic violations under Wisconsin Statutes Chapter 346 committed within the state; or four or more major traffic violations committed in or out of the state; or a combination of major and minor traffic violations and convictions totaling 12. Major traffic violations include: Reckless driving, Operating while Intoxicated, Homicide involving vehicle use, Hit and run involving injury or death, Felony use of a vehicle, Making a false statement to the DMV, Attempting to elude an officer, and Refusal to submit to chemical testing. Based on the above criteria, if a driver is found to be a habitual traffic offender, operating privileges will be automatically revoked for a full five years.
After a two year waiting period, an individual with a revocation under the habitual traffic offender law may qualify for an occupational license. An occupational license is a restricted license that enables you to maintain your employment and household. Unlike a regular license, an occupational license restricts when, where and what type of vehicle you may drive. For example, you may use an occupational license to go to school or work, but you may not use it for recreational purposes.
Once your license has been revoked under the habitual traffic offender law, you must start over after the revocation period as if you were never previously licensed. A birth certificate is required and you may need to pass the written and sign recognition test, the vision screening, and take the behind-the-wheel test.
The penalty for operating a vehicle after being declared a habitual offender is a fine not to exceed $5,000 and not more than 180 days in jail, over and above the basic penalties for operating after revocation of up to $2,500 fine and up to one year in the county jail, plus further revocation of operating privileges.
Why Hire a Cafferty Law attorney for a Traffic Citation?
There are many advantages to hiring a Cafferty Law attorney for civil and criminal traffic violation tickets. Penalties and fees usually amount to a couple hundred dollars and may result in points added to your driving record and an increase in your auto insurance rates. Although minor traffic violations such as speeding are common, an accumulation of these violations within a certain period of time can ultimately lead to heavy fines, driver’s license suspension or revocation, and even jail time. Hiring an attorney that is familiar with the state traffic laws and court system gives you the opportunity to reduce or eliminate your traffic violation charge and fine. Your Cafferty Law attorney can appear in court on your behalf, which is convenient in that you will not need to take off of work or away from your family. The court will also deal directly with us, ensuring that you will never miss any payments or deadlines.
An attorney from the team at Cafferty Law knows how to look for errors on your traffic ticket, and it can be highly beneficial to have an attorney that knows what technicalities can help get your ticket dismissed. These errors will likely go unseen by individuals unfamiliar with traffic law who choose to fight their ticket alone. Should there be an error on your ticket, there is a strong possibility that an attorney could get your ticket dismissed even if the ticket is warranted. Attorneys also know which violations affect insurance rates and which ones do not.
Many people are unaware of what rights they have as a driver in the state of Wisconsin. Our attornies, on the other hand, are extremely well-versed in Wisconsin’s traffic laws. A Cafferty Law attorney will be able to use that knowledge to negotiate on your behalf, which can make a significant difference in the amount you pay and how many points are assessed on your license. Cafferty Law attornies are also able to use your good driving record as a reason why your ticket should be reduced or dismissed, and could negotiate a reduction to a non-point violation so no points will be assessed on your license. In some instances, we may be able to get the ticket taken off your driving record, which can be extremely beneficial should you get another ticket in the future. In sum, hiring us to fight your traffic ticket takes the burden off of you to navigate the court system and can save you hundreds of dollars as well as the ability to keep your license in the long run.