778.15   Payment to county treasurer.
778.16   Neglect of duty.
778.17   Statement to county board; payment to state.
778.18   Penalty upon municipal judge.
778.19   Recovery of property forfeited to state.
778.195   Clerk's fees.
778.20   Who liable for costs.
778.25   Citation procedure for certain limited violations.
778.26   Citation procedure; violation of land trespass laws.
778.30   Collection of forfeitures and related charges by assignment.
778.01 778.01 Action for forfeitures. Where a forfeiture imposed by statute shall be incurred it may be recovered in a civil action unless the act or omission is punishable by fine and imprisonment or by fine or imprisonment. The word forfeiture, as used in this chapter, includes any penalty, in money or goods.
778.01 History History: 1979 c. 32 s. 56; Stats. 1979 s. 778.01.
778.01 Cross-reference Cross-reference: For forfeitures imposed by city or village ordinance, see s. 66.0114.
778.01 Annotation For a forfeiture action to accrue against a nonresident owner of a building that is in violation of the state building code, the violator should receive notice of the violations. Notice need not be actual, but must be reasonably calculated to inform the building owner with respect to the violation. State v. James, 47 Wis. 2d 600, 177 N.W.2d 864 (1970).
778.01 Annotation The definition of forfeiture in this section applies only to ch. 288 [now ch. 778]. State v. Mando Enterprises, Inc. 56 Wis. 2d 801, 203 N.W.2d 64 (1973).
778.01 Annotation This section does not preclude prosecution under a statute punishable only by forfeiture in the same action with criminal charges. State v. Johnston, 184 Wis. 2d 794, 518 N.W.2d 759 (1994).
778.01 Annotation A judgment for payment of a forfeiture can be docketed, accumulates interest, and may be enforced through collection remedies available in other civil proceedings. OAG 2-95.
778.015 778.015 Applicability in circuit court. This chapter applies to actions in circuit court. The procedure in ss. 778.14, 778.15 and 778.18 and ch. 800 applies to actions in municipal court.
778.015 History History: 1977 c. 305; 1977 c. 449 s. 497; 1979 c. 32 ss. 56, 92 (8), (17); Stats. 1979 s. 778.015.
778.02 778.02 Action in name of state; complaint; attachment. Every such forfeiture action shall be in the name of the state of Wisconsin, and it is sufficient to allege in the complaint that the defendant is indebted to the plaintiff in the amount of the forfeiture claimed, according to the provisions of the statute that imposes it, specifying the statute, plus costs, fees, and surcharges imposed under ch. 814. If the statute imposes a forfeiture for several offenses or delinquencies, the complaint shall specify the particular offense or delinquency for which the action is brought, with a demand for judgment for the amount of the forfeiture, plus costs, fees, and surcharges imposed under ch. 814. If the defendant is a nonresident of the state, an attachment may issue.
778.02 History History: 1977 c. 29; 1979 c. 32 s. 56; Stats. 1979 s. 778.02; 1987 a. 27; 1989 a. 107; 1991 a. 39; 1993 a. 16; 1997 a. 27; 1999 a. 9; 2001 a. 16; 2003 a. 139.
778.027 778.027 Prosecution decisions based on contributions to certain organizations or agencies and government attorney conduct. A prosecutor or an attorney representing the state or a political subdivision of the state may not, in exchange for a person's payment of money, other than restitution, to any organization or agency, dismiss or amend a citation or complaint alleging a violation that provides for a forfeiture or elect not to initiate an action or special proceeding based on such a violation.
778.027 History History: 1999 a. 58, 186; 2007 a. 84.
778.027 Annotation A prosecutor may engage in negotiations relating to a defendant's reimbursement of blood withdrawal expenses, but a prosecutor may not, as a result of a defendant's payment or offer of payment of blood withdrawal expenses, dismiss or amend the charge, citation, or complaint or forego the initiation of a criminal prosecution, action, or special proceeding based on the violation. OAG 11-09.
778.03 778.03 Complaint to recover forfeited goods. In an action to recover property forfeited by any statute it shall be sufficient to allege in the complaint that the property has been forfeited, specifying the statute, with a demand of judgment for the delivery of the property, or the value of the property and for payment of the costs, fees, and surcharges imposed under ch. 814.
778.03 History History: 1977 c. 29; 1979 c. 32 s. 56; Stats. 1979 s. 778.03; 1987 a. 27; 1989 a. 107; 1991 a. 39; 1993 a. 16; 1997 a. 27; 1999 a. 9; 2001 a. 16; 2003 a. 139.
778.04 778.04 Plaintiffs; costs. In case a portion of any forfeiture belongs or is payable to any person, the person may join with the state as plaintiff; and in such case, if judgment is rendered for the defendant, it shall be against such person solely. Such person may be compelled to give security for costs as in ordinary civil actions.
778.04 History History: 1979 c. 32 s. 56; 1979 c. 176; Stats. 1979 s. 778.04.
778.06 778.06 Action for what sum. When a forfeiture is imposed, not exceeding a specific sum or when it is not less than one sum or more than another, the action may be brought for the highest sum specified, plus costs, fees, and surcharges imposed under ch. 814; and judgment may be rendered for such sum as the court or jury shall assess or determine to be proportionate to the offense.
778.06 History History: 1977 c. 29; 1979 c. 32 s. 56; Stats. 1979 s. 778.06; 1987 a. 27; 1989 a. 107; 1991 a. 39; 1993 a. 16; 1997 a. 27; 1999 a. 9; 2001 a. 16; 2003 a. 139.
778.06 Annotation When a city neither disputed its violation of an order nor denied that the state was entitled to a forfeiture to the extent of its violation of the order, it was error for the trial court to utilize this section to justify the imposition of a forfeiture less than the statutory minimum. State v. City of Monona, 63 Wis. 2d 67, 216 N.W.2d 230 (1974).
778.09 778.09 Judgment, costs, commitment of defendant. Where judgment is recovered pursuant to this chapter it shall include costs and direct that if the judgment is not paid the defendant, if an individual, shall be imprisoned in the county jail for a specified time, not exceeding 6 months, or until otherwise discharged pursuant to law. The commitment shall issue, as in ordinary criminal actions, and the defendant shall not be entitled to the liberties of the jail.
778.09 History History: 1979 c. 32 s. 56; Stats. 1979 s. 778.09; 1997 a. 254.
778.10 778.10 Municipal forfeitures, how recovered. All forfeitures imposed by any ordinance or regulation of any county, town, city, or village, or of any other domestic corporation may be sued for and recovered, under this chapter, in the name of the county, town, city, village, or corporation. It is sufficient to allege in the complaint that the defendant is indebted to the plaintiff in the amount of the forfeiture claimed, specifying the ordinance or regulation that imposes it, plus costs, fees, and surcharges imposed under ch. 814. If the ordinance or regulation imposes a penalty or forfeiture for several offenses or delinquencies, the complaint shall specify the particular offenses or delinquency for which the action is brought, with a demand for judgment for the amount of the forfeiture, plus costs, fees, and surcharges imposed under ch. 814. All moneys collected on the judgment shall be paid to the treasurer of the county, town, city, village, or corporation, except that all jail surcharges imposed under ch. 814 shall be paid to the county treasurer.
778.10 History History: 1977 c. 29; 1979 c. 32 s. 56; Stats. 1979 s. 778.10; 1987 a. 27; 1989 a. 107; 1991 a. 39; 1993 a. 16; 1997 a. 27; 1999 a. 9; 2001 a. 16; 2003 a. 139.
778.10 Annotation A judgment for payment of a forfeiture can be docketed, accumulates interest, and may be enforced through collection remedies available in other civil proceedings. OAG 2-95.
778.103 778.103 Traffic regulation forfeitures; how recovered. Where there is a conflict with this chapter, the procedure in ch. 345 shall be followed in actions to recover forfeitures for the violation of traffic regulations as defined in s. 345.20, and the procedures in ss. 345.28 and 345.34 to 345.47 shall be followed in actions to recover forfeitures for nonmoving traffic violations as defined in s. 345.28 (1).
778.103 History History: 1971 c. 278; 1979 c. 32 s. 56; Stats. 1979 s. 778.103; 1981 c. 165.
778.104 778.104 Department of natural resources forfeitures; how recovered. If there is a conflict with this chapter, the procedure in ss. 23.50 to 23.85 shall be followed in actions to recover forfeitures for the violation of those natural resources laws enumerated in s. 23.50.
778.104 History History: 1975 c. 365; 1979 c. 32 s. 56; Stats. 1979 s. 778.104.
778.105 778.105 Disposition of forfeitures. Revenues from forfeitures imposed by any court or any branch thereof for the violation of any municipal or county ordinance shall be paid to the municipality or county. Costs, fees, and surcharges imposed under ch. 814 shall be paid as required by that chapter.
778.105 History History: 1977 c. 29; 1979 c. 32 s. 56; Stats. 1979 s. 778.105; 1987 a. 27; 1989 a. 107; 1991 a. 39; 1993 a. 16; 1997 a. 27; 1999 a. 9; 2001 a. 16; 2003 a. 139.
778.11 778.11 Duty of town officers. The chairperson of the town shall cause an action to be commenced under this chapter for the recovery of any forfeiture which he or she knows or has reason to believe has been incurred in the town, if the forfeiture is recoverable before a municipal court, and every other town officer knowing or having reason to believe that any forfeiture has been incurred shall forthwith notify the town chairperson.
778.11 History History: 1977 c. 305; 1979 c. 32 s. 56; Stats. 1979 s. 778.11; 1989 a. 56 s. 258.
778.12 778.12 Duty of district attorney. The town chairperson shall forthwith notify the district attorney of the county of every forfeiture which he or she knows, has reason to believe or which he or she has been so informed has been incurred in the town, which cannot be recovered before a municipal court, who shall forthwith cause an action to be commenced for the recovery thereof as well as for the recovery of every forfeiture which he or she otherwise knows or has reason to believe has been incurred; and the district attorney shall attend to and conduct any action so commenced by the chairperson, when requested by him or her so to do.
778.12 History History: 1977 c. 305; 1979 c. 32 s. 56; Stats. 1979 s. 778.12; 1989 a. 56 s. 258.
778.13 778.13 Forfeitures collected, to whom paid. All moneys collected in favor of the state for forfeiture, except the portion to be paid to any person who sues with the state, plus costs, fees, and surcharges imposed under ch. 814, shall be paid by the officer who collects the forfeiture, costs, fees, and surcharges to the treasurer of the county within which the forfeiture was incurred within 20 days after its receipt. In case of any failure in the payment, the county treasurer may collect the payment of the officer by action, in the name of the office and upon the official bond of the officer, with interest at the rate of 12 percent per year from the time when it should have been paid.
778.135 778.135 Campaign finance, lobbying, and ethics forfeitures; how recovered. Notwithstanding s. 778.13, whenever any action or proposed action by the elections commission under s. 5.05 (1) (c) or the ethics commission under s. 19.49 (1) (b) is settled as a result of agreement between the parties without approval of the court, the moneys accruing to the state on account of such settlement shall be paid to the commission and deposited with the secretary of administration.
778.135 History History: 1977 c. 427; 1979 c. 32 ss. 56, 92 (8); Stats. 1979 s. 778.135; 1999 a. 182; 2003 a. 33; 2007 a. 1; 2015 a. 118.
778.14 778.14 Treasurers to collect. Every town, village and city treasurer shall demand of and recover from each municipal judge of the town, village or city, respectively, all moneys received by the municipal judge upon judgments rendered in actions under this chapter, and every municipal judge shall, on demand of a town, village or city treasurer, produce to the treasurer the court record for examination and all process and papers concerning or in the actions. In case of refusal or neglect by the municipal judge to pay over promptly the moneys upon demand the treasurer shall cause an action to be instituted for the recovery of the moneys against the municipal judge and the sureties upon the municipal judge's official bond.
778.14 History History: 1977 c. 305; 1979 c. 32 s. 56; Stats. 1979 s. 778.14; 1995 a. 224.
778.15 778.15 Payment to county treasurer. On or before the first Monday of February in each year every such town, village and city treasurer shall pay to the treasurer of the county all moneys so collected by him or her accruing to the state, taking a receipt therefor; and at the same time shall file with the county clerk of the county a statement, upon oath, containing the names of the municipal judges of the town, village and city, respectively, the amount of moneys so collected from each, the date of collection, the name of the defendant in each case, the cause of action and date of the summons and judgment.
778.15 History History: 1977 c. 305; 1979 c. 32 s. 56; Stats. 1979 s. 778.15.
778.16 778.16 Neglect of duty. The treasurer of any town, village or city who neglects or refuses to perform any of the duties required by this chapter shall, upon conviction, be punished by imprisonment in the county jail not less than 3 nor more than 6 months or by fine not less than $50 nor more than $300, or both. The county treasurer shall forthwith bring an action upon the bond of such treasurer, against the treasurer and sureties, for the recovery of any moneys which he or she has neglected or refused to pay over as required by this chapter.
778.16 History History: 1979 c. 32 s. 56; 1979 c. 176, 355; Stats. 1979 s. 778.16.
778.17 778.17 Statement to county board; payment to state. Every county treasurer shall, on the first day of the annual meeting of the county board, submit to it a verified statement of all moneys received by the county treasurer during the year next preceding from town, village, and city treasurers under this chapter, containing the names of such treasurers, the amount received from each, and the date of receipt. The county clerk shall deduct all expenses incurred by the county in recovering such forfeitures from the aggregate amount so received, and shall immediately certify to the county treasurer the amount of clear proceeds of such forfeitures, so ascertained, who shall pay the same to the secretary of administration.
778.17 History History: 1979 c. 32 s. 56; 1979 c. 176; Stats. 1979 s. 778.17; 2003 a. 33.
778.18 778.18 Penalty upon municipal judge. If any municipal judge, of his or her own will, dismisses any action brought before the judge under this chapter, unless by order of the district attorney or attorney general or the person joined as plaintiff with the state, or renders a lesser judgment therein than is prescribed by law, or releases or discharges any such judgment or part thereof without payment or collection, the judge and the judge's sureties shall be liable, in an action upon the judge's bond, for the full amount of the forfeitures imposed by law or of the forfeiture imposed by the judge and for the costs, fees, and surcharges imposed under ch. 814, or for an amount equal to the amount in which any such judgment or any part thereof is released or discharged. If any municipal judge gives time or delay to any person against whom any such judgment is rendered by the judge, or takes any bond or security for its future payment, the judge and the judge's sureties shall also be liable for the payment of the judgment upon the judge's bond.
778.18 History History: 1977 c. 29; 1979 c. 32 s. 56; Stats. 1979 s. 778.18; 1987 a. 27; 1989 a. 107; 1991 a. 39; 1993 a. 16; 1997 a. 27; 1999 a. 9; 2001 a. 16; 2003 a. 139.
778.19 778.19 Recovery of property forfeited to state. If property is forfeited to this state or to any officer for its use, an action for the recovery of the property may be brought in circuit court.
778.19 History History: 1977 c. 449; 1979 c. 32 s. 56; Stats. 1979 s. 778.19.
778.195 778.195 Clerk's fees. Fees in forfeiture actions under this chapter are prescribed in s. 814.63.
778.195 History History: 1981 c. 317.
778.20 778.20 Who liable for costs. In all actions brought under s. 778.10 the town, city, village or corporation in whose name such action is brought shall be liable for the costs of prosecution; and, if judgment be for defendant, for all the costs of the action, and judgment shall be entered accordingly. In all other actions brought under the provisions of this chapter, except as provided in s. 778.04, the county in which the forfeiture was incurred shall be liable for the costs of the prosecution, and, if judgment be for defendant, for all the costs of the action.
778.20 History History: 1979 c. 32 ss. 56, 92 (8); Stats. 1979 s. 778.20.
778.25 778.25 Citation procedure for certain limited violations.
778.25(1)(1)
778.25(1)(a)(a) The citation procedures established by this section may be used only in an action to recover a forfeiture:
778.25(1)(a)1. 1. Under s. 125.07 (4) (a) or (b), 125.085 (3) (b), or 125.09 (2) or under a local ordinance strictly conforming to one of those statutes brought against an adult in circuit court or against a minor in the court assigned to exercise jurisdiction under chs. 48 and 938.
778.25(1)(a)1m. 1m. Under s. 961.573 (2), 961.574 (2), or 961.575 (2) brought against a minor in the court assigned to exercise jurisdiction under chs. 48 and 938 or under a local ordinance enacted under s. 59.54 (25m) or 66.0107 (1) (bp) brought against an adult in circuit court or against a minor in the court assigned to exercise jurisdiction under chs. 48 and 938.
778.25(1)(a)2. 2. Under s. 947.013 (1m) or a local ordinance strictly conforming to s. 947.013 (1m) brought against an adult in circuit court.
778.25(1)(a)3. 3. Under s. 167.32 or under a local ordinance strictly conforming to s. 167.32 brought against an adult in circuit court.
778.25(1)(a)4. 4. Under s. 254.92 or under a local ordinance strictly conforming to s. 254.92 brought against an adult in circuit court or against a minor in the court assigned to exercise jurisdiction under chs. 48 and 938.
778.25(1)(a)5. 5. Under administrative rules promulgated by the board of regents under s. 36.11 (1) (c) brought against an adult in circuit court or against a minor in the court assigned to exercise jurisdiction under chs. 48 and 938.
778.25(1)(a)6. 6. Under an administrative rule promulgated by the department of administration under s. 16.846 brought against an adult in circuit court or against a minor in the court assigned to exercise jurisdiction under chs. 48 and 938.
778.25(1)(b) (b) The citation form provided by this section may serve as the initial pleading for the action and, except as provided in par. (c), is adequate process to give a court jurisdiction over the person if the citation is filed with the court.
778.25(1)(c) (c) If served as provided under s. 801.11, the citation form issued under par. (a) 7. is adequate process to give a court jurisdiction over the person.
778.25(2) (2) A citation under this section shall be signed by the issuing agent or officer or by an officer who has authority to make arrests for the violation and shall contain substantially the following information:
778.25(2)(a) (a) The name, address and date of birth of the defendant and the name and address of the defendant's parents or guardian, if a minor.
778.25(2)(b) (b) The name and department of the issuing agent or officer.
778.25(2)(c) (c) The violation alleged, the time and place of occurrence, a statement that the defendant committed the violation, the statute, rule or ordinance violated and a designation of the violation in language which can be readily understood.
778.25(2)(d) (d) A date, time and place for the court appearance, and a notice to appear.
778.25(2)(f) (f) Provisions for deposit in lieu of a court appearance.
778.25(2)(g) (g) Notice that if the defendant makes a deposit and fails to appear in court at the time fixed in the citation, the failure to appear will be considered tender of a plea of no contest and submission to a forfeiture, plus costs, fees, and surcharges imposed under ch. 814, not to exceed the amount of the deposit. The notice shall also state that the court may decide to summon the defendant or, if the defendant is an adult, issue an arrest warrant for the defendant rather than accept the deposit and plea.
778.25(2)(i) (i) Notice that the defendant may by mail prior to the court appearance enter a plea of not guilty and request another date for a court appearance.
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2015-16 Wisconsin Statutes updated through 2017 Wis. Act 23 and all Supreme Court and Controlled Substances Board Orders effective on or before June 27, 2017. Published and certified under s. 35.18. Changes effective after June 27, 2017 are designated by NOTES. (Published 6-27-17)