Pleasant Prairie Municipal Court

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Do I have to appear in court?
What if I can't appear on the court date or time on my ticket?
If I plead "not guilty" what happens?
Can I get a jury trial
I can't afford to hire a lawyer. Can I get a public defender?
How do I pay a ticket?
What if I can't afford to pay a ticket?
What if I'm guilty but want to see about getting the points or "fine" reduced?
What happens if I don't (or didn't) show up on my court date?
What Happens if I don't pay a citation by the deadline?
My license was suspended because I didn't pay a ticket but now I paid it. What do I do next?
I owe a lot of money on old tickets. What cant I do?
Ther's a warrant out for me because I didn't pay my tickets. What should I do?
I got a ticket for driving after suspension (or without a valid driverss license) and I am trying to get a valid license. What can I do?
Does the judge perform weddings?
I have a trial coming up. How should I prepare?
I was found guilty at my trial. Can I appeal my conviction?
What other services does the municipal court provide?
I’d like to visit the court.
Are there advantages to having my case heard in municipal court?
What if my question isn’t answered here?

Do I have to appear in court?

If your citation says a court appearance is mandatory then you must appear.

If not, you should appear if you haven’t paid your ticket or made a written “not guilty” plea before your scheduled court date. You can make a written “not guilty” plea by (1) mail to the clerk of court, (2) E-mail at court@plprairie.com or (3) in person at the clerk’s office in the Pleasant Prairie Village Hall. Please make sure to give us the citation number or a copy of the citation and give us your current address (mailing and E-mail) and telephone number. If in doubt, appear in court.

What if I can’t appear on the court date or time on my ticket?

You are entitled to one continuance. You may request it in the same way as making a written not guilty plea. If you cannot attend court during the day (usually on Wednesday mornings) we have at least ten “night court” sessions every year (usually on a Wednesday night). If you wish to appear at night, please mention it in your request. In an urgent situation you may ask for a continuance by calling (262) 694-8923. Your request should be made as soon as possible. Please note the judge is less likely to grant a “last minute” request to adjourn a trial unless there is a verified emergency.

In some cases you may request an audiovisual appearance if you are unable to attend court in person. You must contact the court clerk (262-694-8923) in advance of your court date to determine eligibility and make necessary arrangements.

If I plead “not guilty” what happens?

You will receive a notice of a pretrial conference where you and the village prosecutor will meet to discuss your case. Make sure you bring any photographs, diagrams, witnesses, etc., that might help to your pretrial conference. If your case is not resolved then it will be scheduled for a trial. You have an absolute right to plead “not guilty” and nobody will force you to plead “guilty” or “no contest” to a citation.

Can I get a jury trial?

There are no jury trials in municipal courts. If you are cited for operating under the influence and/or with a prohibited alcohol concentration you may demand a jury trial by filing a written demand and paying the jury fee within ten days of your first scheduled court appearance. Your case will then be transferred to the Circuit Court for Kenosha County for a jury trial.

I can’t afford to hire a lawyer. Can I get a public defender?

Because municipal courts are not criminal courts there is no right to have an attorney appointed for you if you cannot afford to hire a lawyer. You do, however, have a right to be represented by an attorney hired by you at your expense. If you proceed without a lawyer please note that while the judge is ethically obligated to insure a fair trial he cannot represent you or give you legal advice.

How do I pay a ticket?

There are several options:

IN PERSON: Payments by cash, check, money order or credit card may be made at the village hall during normal business hours. There is an “after hours” outdoor deposit box at the village hall. Payments left in the deposit box should be by check or money order payable to PLEASANT PRAIRIE MUNICIPAL COURT. Please put the citation number on your check or money order or enclose a copy of the citation.

BY MAIL: Mail your check or money order payable to PLEASANT PRAIRIE MUNICIPAL COURT to the Municipal Court at 9915 39th Avenue, Pleasant Prairie, WI 53158. Please put the citation number on your check or money order or enclose a copy of the citation.

BY PHONE: Credit card payments can be made by phone by calling (844) 399-5255. You’ll need your citation number. There may be a modest service fee.

ONLINE: Credit card payments may be made online at http://pleasantprairieonline.com. You’ll need your citation number. There may be a modest service fee.

What if I can’t afford to pay a ticket?

Number one rule: SHOW UP IN COURT! Most people are given at least 30 days to pay a citation. If you need more time you must ask for it. Extensions of payment deadlines and/or installment payment plans are frequently granted. If you cannot afford to pay because of demonstrated poverty (such as receiving public assistance) you may be allowed to perform a community service alternative.

What if I’m guilty but want to see about getting the points or “fine” reduced?

Appear in court at the time and date listed in your citation and explain why. We cannot guarantee that your request will be granted but you are free to ask.

What happens if I don’t (or didn’t) show up on my court date?

Several possibilities. One is that you will be found guilty by default and you will be convicted as charged and billed. Or the judge could issue a summons or a warrant for your arrest.

If you wish to reopen a citation after being found guilty by default you should make a written request to reopen (explaining why you failed to appear) either in person at the village hall or by E-mail to court@plprairie.com. The judge is not required to approve your request and there may be a fee for reopening a case. Requests made more than six months after the missed appearance will be approved only in extraordinary situations.

What happens if I don’t pay a citation by the deadline?

If you haven’t received an extension, payment plan or community service alternative, your driver’s license (or Wisconsin driving privilege) may be suspended for up to two years or until your court obligations are paid. Alternatively, you could be placed in the county jail for a period of time equal to one day for each $50 that remains unpaid. If you are incarcerated you may be eligible for the sheriff’s community service “work crew” program.

My license was suspended because I didn’t pay a ticket but now I paid it. What do I do next?

Your license will remain suspended until you pay a reinstatement fee to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. Check the DOT website to see if you can do this online or if you will need to appear at a DOT office.

I owe a lot of money on old tickets. What can I do?

You may contact the court and ask that the judge review your outstanding court obligations. You will be given a date and time for a review hearing. You should bring proof of your financial situation with you.

There’s a warrant out for me because I didn’t pay my tickets. What should I do?

The commitment (warrant for nonpayment) will be cancelled if you pay your citation(s). If you pay make sure to keep a copy of the receipt with you!


If you can’t pay you can ask the judge to “stay the commitment(s)” and then you will be ordered to appear at a hearing to determine your ability to pay. If the judge approves a payment plan or community service alternative the commitment(s) will be stayed.

Warning: failure to comply with an extended payment deadline, payment plan or community service alternative could result in incarceration.

I got a ticket for driving after suspension (or without a valid driver’s license) and I am trying to get a valid license. What can I do?

Again, the number one rule is: SHOW UP IN COURT! Often a reasonable amount of time may be given for a defendant to come back with a valid license and, if so, the prosecutor may (but is not required to) amend the citation to a lesser violation. You should be prepared to show the judge or prosecutor your “action plan” for getting a valid license.

Does the judge perform weddings?

Yes. Arrangements must be made directly with the judge. Weddings may be performed at the village hall (on scheduled court session days) or off-site at a date, time and place acceptable to the judge. There is no charge for weddings performed at the village hall (priority will be given to village residents, employees or employees of village businesses). A stipend is usually required for off-site weddings.

I have a trial coming up. How should I prepare?

The court cannot give you legal advice but we have some suggestions. First, research the ordinance and/or law you’re accused of violating. Village ordinances and Wisconsin statutes may be viewed online at no charge. Second, bring any diagrams, charts, photographs or other evidence with you. If you have an upcoming trial the clerk can give you subpoena forms to secure the attendance of a witness. You are responsible for preparing the subpoena and arranging for it to be served. (The person serving the subpoena must be an adult other than you who is not a party in the case.)

I was found guilty at my trial. Can I appeal my conviction?

Yes, but there are strict time limits. You should have received a notice of appeal rights. If you didn’t, please contact the court as soon as possible. You may be required to post an appeal bond. (Note: If you were found guilty by default because you failed to appear in court you cannot appeal the decision. You may ask to have your case reopened. The judge may or may not reopen your case and will only approve requests made more than six months from the conviction date in extremely unusual situations. You may have to pay a fee to have a case reopened.)

What other services does the municipal court provide?

During the normal business hours the clerk may notarize documents for village residents subject to availability. The judge, subject to his availability, speaks at school, community and civic functions.

I’d like to visit the court.

All sittings of the court are open to the public except where state law requires a closed courtroom (such as juvenile cases). Ordinarily court is held Wednesdays at 8:30 a.m. at the village hall (9915 39th Avenue, Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin) except on the fourth Wednesday of the month from January through October when an evening session is scheduled beginning with juvenile hearings (which are closed) at 5:30 p.m. The court belongs to you and we welcome you to any open session. Because hearing schedules can change without notice you should call the clerk (262-694-8923) before visiting to confirm when court will be in session.

Are there advantages to having my case heard in municipal court?

Yes. Municipal courts are convenient, user-friendly, cost-effective and community based. Anyone convicted in a municipal court case is not convicted of a crime but rather a civil violation - there is no “criminal record.” Also, costs are less than in circuit court. For example, a $30 speeding ticket costs $98.80 in municipal court vs. $175.30 in circuit court.

What if my question isn’t answered here?

Call (262-694-8923) or visit the clerk’s office during normal business hours or E-mail us at court@plprairie.com. We are happy to provide information but are not permitted to give legal advice.

 

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