Nonpayment of monetary judgment.
Fees and costs in municipal court.
Municipal court record and transcript entries.
Relief from judgment.
Municipal court contempt procedure.
Recording in municipal court.
Appeal from municipal court decision.
In this chapter:
“Judicial administrative district" means the judicial administrative district having the largest portion of the population in the jurisdiction served by the municipal court.
“Municipality" means the city, village, or town that governs the municipal court, or if more than one city, village, or town has agreed jointly to establish a municipal court under s. 755.01
, “municipality" means the city, village, or town where the violation occurred.
History: 1987 a. 389
; 2009 a. 402
History: 2019 a. 70
Commencement of action. 800.01(1)(1)
In municipal court, ordinance violation cases are commenced when the complaint or citation is filed with or transmitted to the court.
The municipal court has jurisdiction over a defendant when any of the following conditions is met:
The defendant is arrested and brought before the court personally or through interactive video and audio transmission conducted in accordance with the rules of the supreme court.
The defendant voluntarily appears before the court.
The court finds that the defendant has acknowledged receipt of the citation or summons and complaint.
The summons and complaint or citation are sent to the defendant by 1st class mail.
The law enforcement officer or municipal employee who serves the summons shall indicate the method of service on the copy of the documents filed or transmitted to the court.
If the action is commenced by a citation under s. 800.02 (2) (a)
, a deposit may be taken from the defendant. The defendant may be released on his or her own recognizance. A nonresident defendant who does not make a deposit may be detained in jail to be brought before the court at the earliest opportunity.
Due process does not require commencing a municipal ordinance action by a summons. Haas v. Wisconsin, 241 F. Supp. 2d 922
Uniformity in Municipal Courts. Gramling. Wis. Law. Aug. 2010.
Form of citation, complaint, summons and warrant in municipal ordinance violation cases. 800.02(1)(1)
An action in municipal court for violation of a municipal ordinance is a civil action, and the forfeiture or penalty imposed by any ordinance of the municipality may be collected in an action in the name of the municipality.
The citation or complaint shall contain the name of a law enforcement officer, attorney representing the municipality, or, if applicable, a conservation warden. In addition, the governing body of a municipality authorized to adopt the use of citations or complaints may designate by ordinance or resolution other municipal officials who are authorized to issue and be named in citations or complaints with respect to ordinances which are directly related to the official responsibilities of the officials. Officials granted the authority to issue and be named in citations and complaints may delegate, with the approval of the governing body, the authority to employees. Authority delegated to an official or employee may be revoked only in the same manner by which it is conferred.
The citation or complaint shall contain substantially the following information:
The identification of any permit issued to the defendant, or license number of the defendant, if applicable.
The violation alleged, the time and place of the occurrence of the violation, a statement that the defendant committed the violation, the ordinance violated, and a description of the violation in language that can be readily understood.
A notice to appear at a date, time and place for the court appearance, and a statement as to whether the appearance is mandated by the judge.
Provisions for amount of deposit and stipulation in lieu of a court appearance, if applicable.
Notice that the defendant may make a deposit and thereby obtain release if an arrest has been made.
Notice that the defendant may, in writing, prior to the court appearance, enter a plea of not guilty.
Notice that, if the defendant makes a deposit and fails to appear in court at the time fixed in the citation, the defendant is deemed to have tendered a plea of no contest and submits 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 rather than accept the deposit and plea.
Notice that if the defendant does not make a deposit and fails to appear in court at the time fixed in the citation, the court may issue a summons or a warrant for the defendant's arrest or may enter a default judgment against the defendant.
In an action against a corporation organized under ch. 180
, or against a limited liability company organized under ch. 183
, a statement of the corporate or company existence and whether the corporation or company is a domestic or foreign corporation or limited liability company.
In 1st class cities, all of the written information required under par. (a)
, except the information under par. (ag) 1.
, and 10.
, shall be printed in Spanish on a separate sheet attached to the citation or provided in Spanish on the citation.
Except for parking violations, in traffic regulation actions in municipal court, the uniform traffic citation specified in s. 345.11
shall be used in lieu of the citation form specified in par. (ag)
. In actions for violations of local ordinances enacted in accordance with s. 23.33 (11) (am)
, 23.335 (21) (a)
, or 30.77
, the citation form specified in s. 23.54
shall be used in lieu of the citation form specified in par. (ag)
The summons shall be signed by a municipal judge or by the attorney who is prosecuting the case in municipal court and shall contain the following information:
The title of the cause, specifying the name of the court and county in which the action is brought and the names of all parties to the action.
A direction summoning and requiring the defendant to appear in a specified court on a particular date not less than 10 days following service of the summons to answer the accompanying citation or complaint.
A notice that in case of failure to appear, judgment may be rendered against the defendant according to the demand of the citation or complaint, or the court may issue a warrant for the defendant's arrest.
In 1st class cities, all of the written information required under par. (a)
shall be printed in Spanish on a separate sheet attached to the summons or provided in Spanish on the summons.
(5) Warrant form.
The warrant shall be in the name of the state of Wisconsin, shall be directed to all law enforcement officers in the state, may be addressed to any law enforcement officer in the state, may specify geographical limits for enforcement of the warrant, and shall be signed by the municipal judge who authorizes its issuance or contain a computer-generated facsimile of the judge's signature. A municipal judge may authorize the issuance of a warrant under this chapter by using a computer or other electronic media. The municipal judge shall make the authorization so that it is accessible to the attorney for the municipality and law enforcement officers. A law enforcement officer shall convert the municipal judge's authorization to a paper copy of the warrant before serving the warrant. The warrant shall contain or have attached to it the following information:
A finding of probable cause that the defendant committed the offense.
A command to arrest the defendant and bring him or her before the municipal judge or other municipal judge or judge of the county.
(6) Authority to arrest without a warrant.
A person may be arrested without a warrant for the violation of a municipal ordinance if the arresting officer has reasonable grounds to believe that the person is violating or has violated the ordinance.
Amended citation and complaint.
A citation or complaint under s. 800.02
may be amended by the municipality prior to the initial appearance of the defendant. A copy of the amended citation or complaint shall be served personally on the defendant or sent to the defendant by 1st class mail. Otherwise, the citation or complaint may be amended, upon notice and an opportunity to be heard, at the discretion of the court. At trial, the court may amend a citation or complaint to conform to the evidence. If the court amends the citation or complaint to conform to the evidence, the court shall allow both parties an opportunity to present evidence with respect to the amended citation or complaint.
History: 1981 c. 225
; 2009 a. 402
Initial appearance. 800.035(1)(1)
A defendant may make an initial appearance in person or by submitting a written response to the citation or complaint except when the judge has required an appearance under s. 800.02 (2) (ag) 4.
For the purposes of this section, if a defendant is a limited liability company, the defendant appears in person if the appearance is by a member, as defined in s. 183.0102 (15)
, by an agent or authorized employee of the defendant, or by an agent of the member or an authorized employee of the agent.
An attorney may provide limited scope representation to a person involved in a municipal court action as provided in ss. 802.045
If a defendant appears in person, all of the following shall occur:
The court shall, either orally or in writing, do all of the following:
Inform the defendant of each charge and explain the range of penalties for each charge.
Inform the defendant that he or she may plead guilty, not guilty, or no contest or may request a continuance.
Inform the defendant of the right to a jury trial on charges filed under an ordinance in conformity with s. 346.63 (1)
Inform the defendant that if he or she is unable to pay the forfeiture, costs, fees, or surcharges due to poverty, he or she may request an installment payment, community service, or a stay of the judgment.
Inform the defendant that he or she must notify the court in writing within 5 days of any change of his or her address during the pendency of the case.
The defendant shall enter a plea or request a continuance.
If the defendant refuses to enter a plea or request a continuance, the court shall enter a plea of not guilty on the defendant's behalf.
If the defendant pleads guilty or no contest, the court may find the defendant guilty of the offense to which the plea is entered and render judgment as provided under s. 800.09
, and then determine if the defendant is unable to pay the judgment because of poverty, as that term is used in s. 814.29 (1) (d)
If the defendant pleads not guilty, the court shall schedule the case for a pretrial conference under s. 800.045
, further proceedings, or trial, at the discretion of the court.
A municipal court shall appoint a guardian ad litem or social worker certified or licensed under ch. 457
for any defendant that the court has reason to believe lacks substantial mental capacity to understand the proceedings or assist in his or her defense. The person appointed under this paragraph shall assist the court in making a determination concerning the defendant's mental capacity. If the court determines that the defendant lacks the mental capacity to understand the proceedings or assist in his or her defense, the court shall suspend the proceedings. The cost of the guardian ad litem or social worker shall be paid by the municipality or municipalities that established the court. The governing body may by ordinance or bylaw authorize the appointment of a guardian ad litem by the municipal judge in any other matter within the jurisdiction of the municipal court.
If the defendant submits a written response to the citation or complaint and enters a plea of guilty or no contest, the court shall proceed under sub. (2) (d)
If the defendant submits a written response to the citation or complaint and enters a plea of not guilty, the court shall proceed under sub. (2) (e)
If a defendant is charged with a violation of an ordinance in conformity with s. 346.63 (1)
, the municipality may by ordinance, or the judge may by order, require the defendant to appear in person before the court.
If a person fails to make a required personal appearance under this subsection and the judge issues an arrest warrant, the law enforcement agency that filed or transmitted the uniform traffic citation shall file a detailed description of the warrant with the department of justice.
If a defendant charged with a violation of an ordinance that is in conformity with s. 346.63 (1)
pleads not guilty and within 10 days after entry of the plea requests a jury trial and pays the required fees, the municipal court shall promptly transmit all papers and fees in the cause, including any other citations or complaints arising from the same incident, to the clerk of the circuit court of the county where the violation occurred for a jury trial under s. 345.43
. The plea of not guilty and request for jury trial may be made in writing. If the person refused to take a test under s. 343.305 (3)
and requested a hearing under s. 343.305 (9)
to determine if the person's refusal was proper, the papers and fees involved in that action shall be transferred to the same circuit court, which shall conduct the refusal hearing. Upon receipt of the request, the circuit court shall set a time for trial. Any deposit made personally or in writing is forfeited upon nonappearance at the time set for trial. The required fee for a jury is prescribed in s. 814.61 (4)
In all cases, a defendant may enter a plea of no contest and provide a deposit at any time before the initial appearance.
A municipal judge may release a defendant without a deposit.
If the municipal judge determines that the defendant should not be released under par. (a)
, the municipal judge shall release the defendant on a deposit in the amount established for the violation. If the judge in a 1st class city determines that a defendant appearing before the judge through interactive video and audio transmission should not be released under par. (a)
, the judge shall inform the defendant that he or she has the right to appear personally before a judge for a determination, not prejudiced by the first appearance, as to whether he or she should be released without a deposit. On failure of the defendant to make a deposit under this paragraph, he or she may be committed to jail, for not more than 48 hours, only if the judge finds that there is a reasonable basis to believe the person will not appear in court.
If the defendant does not appear, but has made a deposit in the amount set for the violation, he or she is deemed to have tendered a plea of no contest and submits to a forfeiture, plus costs, fees, and surcharges imposed under ch. 814
, not exceeding the amount of the deposit. The court may impose any other penalties allowed by law. The court may either accept the plea of no contest and enter judgment accordingly, or reject the plea and issue a summons. If the court finds that the violation meets the conditions in s. 800.093 (1)
, the court may summon the alleged violator into court to determine if restitution shall be ordered under s. 800.093
. If the defendant fails to appear in response to the summons, the court may issue a warrant under s. 968.09
. If the defendant has made a deposit but does appear, the court shall allow the defendant to withdraw the plea of no contest.