Tickets & Citations

What do I do if I have received a traffic ticket or a citation for a violation of an ordinance?

Check to see if the case would be prosecuted in municipal court, in which case the District Attorney's Office will play no role. Instead the City Attorney's Office or another legal office would be the prosecutor for the City or Village in the event that you contest the ticket. For example, a Speeding ticket issued by the Madison Police Department is contested in the City of Madison Municipal Court and prosecuted by the City of Madison City Attorney's Office; a Disorderly Conduct ordinance violation issued by the City of Monona Police is heard in City of Monona Municipal Court and prosecuted by an assistant city attorney for the City of Monona.

If you have been cited by the Wisconsin State Patrol, the Dane County Sheriff's Office, the Capitol Police Department, or the University of Wisconsin Police Department, a contested case would be prosecuted by the D.A.'s Office. The D.A.'s Office does not get involved in these cases, however, unless and until after you have entered a plea of not guilty at the Initial Appearance hearing in the case. Your ticket should reflect a court date for an Initial Appearance. You can write to the Clerk of Courts office (Dane County Clerk of Circuit Court, 215 South Hamilton Street, Room 1000, Madison, WI 53703) with a plea of not guilty or a plead of guilty, and in that case not appear at the Initial Appearance hearing.

If you plead not guilty at the Initial Appearance, you will be given a court date for a Pre-Trial Conference. When you appear for your Pre-Trial Conference, a representative of this office will communicate directly with you and determine whether the case can be resolved short of trial or if a trial is necessary. If you do not appear at the Initial Appearance or contact the Clerk's office in advance – or if you fail to appear at your Pre-Trial Conference – then the Court will default you, finding you guilty of the charge.