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There may be serious consequences if you fail to follow the Court's order or pay the forfeiture. The Court may send you notice requiring your appearance at a Good Cause Hearing. The Court may commit a person to jail for not more than 90 days per violation; the Court may order a suspension of your Driver's License for a maximum of one year, or until the forfeiture is paid; the Court may intercept your state income tax return; the Court may send this matter to a collection agency to assist in the delinquent payment process or the Court may refer the debt to a Department of Revenue agent for collection action.
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When you arrive at Court, please print your name on the "sign-up" sheet located at the court clerk's window. All names are called according to the order listed on the sign-up sheet. When your name is called, you should approach the bench. The Judge will ask you to enter a plea of not guilty, no contest, or guilty.
If you enter a not guilty plea, the next stage of the legal process is a Pre-Trial Conference with the City Attorney which will be held that day for juveniles or at a later date for adults. If you wish to enter a not guilty plea without appearing in Court for your initial appearance, you must enter your not guilty plea in writing to the Court prior to the scheduled date. If you enter a not guilty plea (PDF) in writing, please provide your name, current mailing address, current telephone number, and the citation number.
If you plead either no contest or guilty, the Judge will find you guilty and impose a sentence. Usually, the sentence will be imposed the same night as the initial appearance.
If you fail to appear in Court for your initial appearance, you will automatically be found guilty and a default judgment will be entered against you. If no bond was posted, you will receive a notice of default judgment in the mail stating the forfeiture amount due and the due date. Usually the Judge will grant up to 60 days to pay the forfeiture amount listed on your citation. If you posted the bond when receiving your citation, the money posted will be forfeit.
The Court may grant one continuance of your initial appearance, as long as you contact the Court Clerk prior to your Court date to reschedule.
You have a right to enter a plea of either guilty, not guilty, or no contest to the charge against you.
If you plead no contest, it is likely that you will be found guilty, but before the court makes that decision, you will have the opportunity to speak to the Judge. If you are involved in any type of arrest where you may be sued civilly (for example, a car accident), the fact that you plead no contest in this court may not be used against you in any other action or in any other court. You may plead no contest to any charge in this court.
If you plead guilty, you are admitting that you committed the offense, and if the arrest report contains the necessary elements, you will be found guilty and a penalty of a forfeiture plus costs will be imposed. Please be aware, a plea of guilty may be used against you civilly.
If you plead not guilty, you will be scheduled for a pretrial conference with the City of Lake Geneva Prosecuting Attorney. If the case cannot be disposed of after this conference, then a trial will be scheduled and held in this court. Please note that you may make your plea of not guilty before your court date either by mail, fax, or in person at the Municipal Court office.
In order to contest your citation after a disposition has been entered by the Court, you must file a written request to the Judge (Motion to Reopen Judgment (PDF)) indicating your reason why you believe your case should be reopened. Your request must be filed with the court along with a $25 deposit per citation. The Judge will review your request and respond in writing accordingly.
Payment can be made in person at the Court office between the hours of 8:30 am and 5 pm, Monday through Friday. Payments may also be made anytime at the City of Lake Geneva Police Department. Acceptable methods of payment in person are cash, check, cashier's check, money order, Visa or MasterCard. Payments may also be made online using a pay location code of 8788.
You must first pay your forfeiture(s) to the Court. Assuming you do not have any further suspension(s) for failure to pay forfeiture(s) with any other agency on your record, you will be eligible to reinstate your driving privileges with the Department of Transportation. This process may take from one to three business days. Be aware you must pay a fee to reinstate your driving privileges with the Department of Transportation (DOT) before your driver's license will be considered valid.
If you are a juvenile the Judge will allow you to complete community service in lieu of your forfeiture. However, the Court requires all community service be completed at an approved non-profit organization. Please contact the Court for the amount of hours required and to confirm eligibility of the organization.
If you are unable to pay the amount in full, you may request a payment plan or an extension of time to pay. Please explain in a letter to the Judge why you need the extension, how much time you need, and if you want to be put on a payment plan and how much you can afford to pay per week or month. Any requests for extensions must be made prior to the due date.
If you hold a probationary license, instruction permit, or no license when the conviction is entered on the record, points will be doubled for any second and subsequent convictions, except for convictions under Chapter 347 of the Wisconsin Statutes, which are primarily vehicle equipment violations. A suspension will be assessed by the Department of Transportation for an accumulation of 12 or more points within a 12-month period.
The points will remain on your record for one year from the date of the violation. The actual charge will remain on your record for five years, unless the charge is Operating While Intoxicated, which will remain on your record for 10 years or more.
If you are found guilty of a traffic violation, you may have demerit points assessed to your Wisconsin driving record. The court will report the conviction to the Department of Transportation. They will assess the number of demerit points against your record, depending on the charge. Points double for any second or subsequent offense on a probationary license. If you accumulate 12 or more points in a one year period by date of violation(s), your driver's license will be suspended or revoked. To find out how may points you have accumulated, you must contact the Department of Transportation at 608-266-2261.
If you wish to reduce your demerit points on your driving record, you may attend an approved traffic safety school once every three years, one of which is conducted at Gateway Technical College. This procedure does not apply if your current violation results in revocation or suspension, or if school was ordered in lieu of revocation for operating under the influence. Application for point reduction school can be made at any state vocational school.
If you are found Guilty at trial, you have the right to appeal your case to the Circuit Court. All appeals must be filed in writing at the Municipal Court office within 20 days after a Guilty finding is entered. If you fail to meet this time limit, you forfeit your right to appeal. The appeal fee, forfeiture and costs must be posted upon filing the appeal. You have the right to a Jury Trial on appeal, upon payment of appropriate fees.
View the Notice of Appeal (PDF).