If you have received a citation for Howard Municipal Court, please take the time to read the information below so that you are fully advised of your rights and of this Court’s procedures. It will give you important insight into what is happening with your case. You have the right to be represented by an attorney or you may proceed without one. If you want an attorney, you must retain one at your expense. This Court will not provide an attorney.
I. MANDATORY APPEARANCE
If your citation is marked as a Mandatory Court Appearance, you MUST appear in Court. The "appearance not mandatory" instructions do not apply to you.
A. In court, you will be asked to enter a plea.
1. Plea of No Contest
2. Plea of Guilty
If you plead guilty, that is called an admission against interest which can, and may be, used against you civilly. It is very important that you understand the difference. You may plead no contest to any charge in this Court.
3. Plea of Not Guilty
(Please see "If you wish to dispute the citation" section below for further information.)
If you plead not guilty to a charge of OWI / BAC, and want a jury trial, you must make a demand of this court in writing within 10 days of this initial court appearance, and you must accompany your written demand with the jury fees of $36 for a 6-person jury trial. You must also include the amount of deposit set out in the citation. Checks should be made payable to the Brown County Clerk of Courts. The case will then be transferred to the Brown County Circuit Court for the jury trial, and all further communications will be from them.
If you do not properly request the jury trial within this period, you are forever barred from doing so and your trial will be held in this Court. You will then be notified by mail of a pretrial conference date, during which you will meet with the Village Attorney. If the case cannot be disposed of at this conference, then a trial will be scheduled and held in this Court.
You also have the right to have a trial in another municipal court. If you want to do that, you must make a written demand of this court within 10 days of your initial court appearance or you will be forever barred from transferring the trial.
You also have the right to request a continuance. If you are granted a continuance, you will be informed of the date for your next court appearance.
Please understand that a jury trial cannot be requested for any municipal/traffic charge except Operating While Intoxicated or Prohibited Blood Alcohol Content (OWI/BAC).
II. APPEARANCE NOT MANDATORY
A. If you do not wish to dispute the citation, pay the ticket before the court date as stated on the ticket.
Mail in the deposit amount on the citation by the court date with a statement explaining you do not wish to contest the citation. Include your name, current mailing address, citation number, court appearance date, offense and arresting agency, along with a copy of your citation.
CHECKS: Make check payable to Village of Howard and mail to: Howard Village Hall, 2456 Glendale Ave., Howard, WI 54313.
CASH: Cash is accepted at the Village Hall, located at 2456 Glendale Ave., from 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 7:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Friday. Please provide small bills. Exact amount is preferred.
CREDIT: Credit card transactions are also accepted at the Village Hall, located at 2456 Glendale Ave., from 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 7:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Friday.
ONLINE: Call 1-888-604-7888 or www.govpaynow.com. Please note there is a nonrefundable 4.75% transaction fee added to the citation amount due if paid by phone, and a nonrefundable 3.5% transaction fee for service will be added to the citation amount due if paid online. The court receives no part of that fee. It may take up to one week for the payment to credit to your account.
You will need the following information: date of birth of the individual who received the citation, citation number, amount owed, and pay location code: 5234.
Do NOT pay parking tickets here. Use Pay Location Code a001fh to pay parking tickets.
B. Disputing the citation
You may mail or bring to the Court office a written plea of Not Guilty any time before the scheduled initial court appearance if you are going to plead not guilty. You may use the Not Guilty Plea Form or write a letter telling the Court you are entering a plea of NOT GUILTY to (reference the citation number and offense name), date the letter, sign it and print your correct mailing address & phone number. You may also send a not guilty plea to the Court by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
Once your Not Guilty plea has been received, the Court will then schedule a pretrial court date for you to discuss your citation with the Village Attorney at no cost to you. If you come to an agreement, the Judge has to approve it, and then you must complete the terms of the agreement within the specified time frame agreed upon. If this is not done, the agreement is void and the citation reverts back to the original citation and maximum dollar amount allowed by ordinance.
If you do not come to an agreement, a trial will be scheduled before the Howard Municipal Judge without a jury. Public defenders are not allowed in Municipal Court, although you may hire your own attorney at your own expense. The Village of Howard has the burden of proving you guilty. First, the prosecution will produce its witnesses to testify as to the facts and circumstances surrounding your case. You or your attorney will then be permitted to cross-examine each witness. When the prosecution has completed its case, you and your witnesses will be given the opportunity to testify. You will be subject to cross-examination by the prosecution. After all the evidence has been presented, you and the prosecution will be given an opportunity to briefly summarize your respective positions to the Court. The Court will then determine if the ordinance was violated.
If the Court finds you not guilty, the case is concluded. If you are found guilty, the Court will impose a penalty, taking into consideration the seriousness of the violation, the hazardous condition, if any, that may have existed at the time, and your past record.
Either party has a right to appeal the decision to the County Circuit Court within twenty (20) days, and you may request a jury trial on appeal. The appeal fee, forfeiture, and costs must be paid upon filing the appeal. Visit the Appeals and Reopenings page for more information.
D. If you do nothing
o Issue a summons for you to appear in Court
o Issue a warrant for your arrest
o Find you guilty for failing to appear in Court and order you to pay the forfeiture and costs imposed by the Court which could be different than what the deposit/bond states on your citation.
o Suspension of your Driver's License
o Referral to a collection agency and/or interception of your state tax refund
Either party has a right to appeal the decision to the County Circuit Court within twenty (20) days, and you may request a jury trial on appeal. The appeal fee, forfeiture, and costs must be paid upon filing the appeal.
If you are found guilty, whether by entering a plea of guilty or no contest, or upon completion of a trial, the Court may impose a forfeiture. Forfeitures should be paid immediately, but the Court will grant 60 days to pay in full. The Court may send you to jail if you do not pay your forfeiture and costs. The Court may also suspend your driving privileges for failure to pay. Interception of your state tax refund and/or referral to a collection agency may be implemented.
In traffic cases, in addition to the forfeiture imposed by the Court, the State Department of Transportation may assess demerit points against your driving record. The Court will inform you of the points involved in your case. The Department of Transportation may suspend your operating privileges when your driving record shows that you have accumulated twelve (12) demerit points in twelve (12) months (violation date to violation date). To check your driving license status go to http://wisconsindot.gov/Pages/online-srvcs/other-servs/status-check.aspx