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800 Center Street
Racine, WI 53403
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Hon Rebecca Mason Chambers, Municipal Court
M-F 7:30a.m to 4:00p.m
The court alternates weeks between hearings before the judge and pre-trials with the city attorney.
If you want to enter a plea of Not Guilty so that you can attempt to negotiate a settlement with the City Attorney's office and/or have a trial on the allegations in the citation, you can enter this plea in one of the following ways:
Enter "Not Guilty" Plea On-Line: Click on the link below to enter your plea via the provided webform
Enter "Not Guilty" Plea by Mail: "Not guilty": pleas can be mailed to the Clerk of Court for the City of Racine Municipal Court, 800 Center Street, Racine Wisconsin 53403.
Enter "Not Guilty" Plea In Person: Your Not Guilty can be entered in person at the first appearance in court.
Your citation (ticket) lists the date and time of your First Appearance. Your ticket is not the only ticket that will be heard on that date and time. First Appearances are issued in batches, staggered throughout the morning. When you arrive, you will need to sign in. Cases are typically heard in the order you sign in. Although the Court works diligently and efficiently, wait times can be up to two (2) hours.
At your first appearance, you will tell the court how you want to handle the case. You will do that by entering a plea. You have your choice among three pleas: Not Guilty, Guilty, and No Contest.
As discussed above, the effect of a Not Guilty plea is that you will be ordered to meet with the City Attorney to attempt to settle the case. You will either reach a settlement or have a trial.
If you plead Guilty or No Contest, you likely will be found guilty of some offense without a trial, and a sentence (fine) will be imposed.
If you are unable to attend the hearing date and time issued to you on your ticket, please call the clerk at 636-9263
before the court date
to ask for a new date.
If you do not want to attend your first appearance, you can either pay your ticket
or enter a plea of Not Guilty
If you received a traffic citation and you want to ask the City to amend the charge to reduce the points against your license, you can ask the City Attorney during your pretrial meeting, or ask the Court during the First Appearance.
All relevant facts and circumstances will be evaluated, including your account of what occurred, the police report, and your driving record - paying particular attention to the last 12 months. Entering a written plea of "not guilty" and having that discussion at the pretrial often involves a shorter wait for the case to be called.
If justice so requires, a reduction in points may result in an increase in the amount of the money penalty.
If you are within two weeks after a missed First Appearance, simply call the clerk at (262) 636-9263 and she will give you a time to come in.
If it has been more than two weeks, you will have to ask to reopen a default conviction. To bring a Motion to Reopen a Judgment that has already been entered, you must follow this procedure:
The Pre- trial meeting is a relatively brief meeting held in the courtroom. You should bring along any evidence you want the City Attorney to consider, but this conference is not a trial. The judge will not be present.
The City Attorney is the prosecutor in municipal court. They are the people assigned to bring the case against you. At a Pre- trial meeting, you will meet with a representative of the City Attorney's office. If you can come to an agreement with the City Attorney on what should happen in your case, you can probably work the case out right there. If, however, you are not satisfied with the offer of the city attorney, you will have the option of setting your case for a trial in front of the judge.
A trial is a hearing where each side presents its evidence to the judge. The judge decides which evidence is reliable in order to determine the facts. He then applies the law to the facts in order to decide whether the City has proven its case against the defendant.
What has to be proven at a trial depends upon what the charge is. Each charge is made up of specific elements. Each element must be proven in order to prove that the defendant is guilty of the charge. The City has the obligation to prove the defendant guilty. The defendant is not required to prove that he or she is innocent.
The evidence at a trial comes in through the testimony of witnesses who are sworn to tell the truth and required to answer questions. Either of the parties (City or defendant) can call witnesses, and if the witness does not want to come to court voluntarily, they can be ordered to come to court by the service of a subpoena. Each side is responsible for making sure that their witnesses attend the trial.
When a witness takes the stand, the side calling the witness asks the witness questions ("direct examination"). Then the other side gets to question that witness (this is "cross-examination.")
The City goes first in calling witnesses. When they are done with their case, they "rest." Then the defendant may call witnesses if he or she wishes, although the defendant is not required to call witnesses.
The Rules of Evidence apply at Municipal Court trials. This is a protection designed to make sure that only reliable information is considered.
The City will be represented by an attorney. The defendant is free to be represented by an attorney, but is not required to be. Since this is not a criminal charge, the defendant is not entitled to the appointment of a free attorney.
Each case is different, so you cannot be sure what the court will find appropriate in any one case. Generally time to pay a money penalty (a "forfeiture") is given from 30 to 90 days. Someone who has made a good faith effort to pay but fallen short can typically get a reasonable extension or other accommodation by coming back to court and asking.
IF YOU HAVEN'T BEEN TO COURT : If you don't pay before your first court date and you don't come to court, we will wait about two weeks and then enter a plea of "no contest" for you and find you guilty. You get the money penalty written on the face of the citation. You will automatically have 30 days from that date to pay. If the fine is more than $100, you will be given 60 days to pay. The court will also set a consequence for not paying in a timely fashion, which is typically jail time for an adult, but sometimes a suspension of driving privilege. Notice of the forfeiture will be mailed to you.
IF YOU COME TO COURT : If you attend court and are convicted either on a plea or at a trial, the court will impose a money penalty (forfeiture) and will give you time to pay the forfeiture. Either a deadline for payment of the entire amount will be set or a plan of monthly installments will be set. The court will also set a consequence for not paying in a timely fashion, which is typically jail time for an adult but sometimes a suspension of driving privilege. You will also be given a date to come back to deal with any problems in paying.
I CANNOT PAY BY THE DEADLINE : When you received the forfeiture, the court will also have given you a court date to come in to explain problems in paying and to seek an alternative. Each case is different, so you cannot be sure what the court will find appropriate. However, where the defendant has at least half of the forfeiture put together, the court routinely grants more time to pay the other half. Alternatives range from simply extending the amount of time or setting up a payment plan to performing community service. The general intent of the legislature is that municipal violations be punished with a money penalty, so someone seeking community service (CSW) is going to have to explain why they cannot pay a forfeiture. A defendant pleading poverty should print out, fill out and bring along the court's indigence form. Be aware that even if CSW is granted, the agency administering it may charge a small monthly fee.
IF THE DEADLINE HAS ALREADY PASSED : It is possible for the time to pay to have expired and yet the court may not have entered an order suspending a driver's privilege or ordering your arrest. You should call 262-636-9263 and arrange to come in sooner rather than later. The court does have the power to withdraw a suspension or commitment even after it is issued.
IF YOU HAVE RECEIVED NOTICE THAT YOUR PRIVILEGE IS SUSPENDED : If you simply pay the forfeiture, the suspension will be ended. If you cannot afford to pay, you can ask to come before the court. You should be prepared to explain how much you can afford to pay and also to explain why you didn't take care of seeking an extension before it got this far.
IF YOU HAVE A COMMITMENT OUT ALREADY : If you simply pay the forfeiture, the commitment will be canceled. It can be paid at the counter of the Racine Police Department. If you cannot afford to pay, you can ask to come before the court. You should be prepared to explain how much you can afford to pay and also to explain why you didn't take care of seeking an extension before it got this far.
Sometimes it turns out that a ticket has consequences you did not expect when you plead to it or paid it. Typically this happens in the case of your driving privilege. Thus you may have to reopen a conviction that you voluntarily caused or accepted. (If you are seeking to reopen a conviction that resulted from a missed court date, click on the FAQ above.)
To bring a Motion to Reopen a Judgment that was entered, you must follow this procedure:
WHY? If your license is suspended for NON PAYMENT OF A FINE/FORFEITURE: The simple thing to do is pay your fine or forfeiture. You can do this at the police department counter. Your driving privilege can then be reinstated upon payment to the DMV of the $60 reinstatement fee.
If you cannot afford to pay the entire amount or amounts immediately, you can call 262-636-9263 and arrange to come in front of the court to try to persuade the judge to give you a different payment arrangement. Keep in mind that by the time you have lost the license, you have already gone past the time originally given for payment and have missed the extension hearing you were notified of. You should be prepared to explain how much you can afford to pay and also to explain why you didn't take care of seeking an extension before it got this far.
If your license is suspended because a CONVICTION resulted in too many points or a suspension order: If you did not appear in court and were found guilty of the offenses by default (upon non-appearance), then follow the procedures under I Need to REOPEN a Ticket.
Arrest orders from the Municipal Court are called Commitments . Basically, the only reason the Municipal Court will have issued a commitment is if you did not pay a forfeiture within the time given.
If you simply pay the forfeiture , the commitment will be canceled. It can be paid at the counter of the Racine Police Department. If you cannot afford to pay, you can simply call the clerk's office and ask to come before the court. While you are waiting for the court date, the commitment remains outstanding and you continue to be in danger of being arrested.
When you come before the court , it would be a good idea to be prepared to pay much of what you owe right away. You should also be prepared to explain (1) how much you can afford to pay in monthly installments or (2) how long it will be for you to pay the balance due in a lump sum. The judge may also ask you to explain why you didn't take care of seeking an extension before it got this far.
If you do not want to contest your citation (ticket) or attend your initial court date, you may simply pay the amount on the citation prior to the scheduled court date.
Pay On-Line: Click on the link below to pay. (Only Parking Tickets are available to pay online at this time.)
Online Payment - Click Here to search for parking tickets by your plate number.
Pay by Mail: At this time, the City of Racine Police Department processes payments for the Municipal Court. Please mail payments to:
City of Racine Police Department
730 Center Street
Racine, Wisconsin 53403.
If you are paying by check, make sure to write the number of the ticket in the memo section on the check, to be sure that it is properly credited to your account. Checks should be made payable to the "City of Racine."
Pay in Person: You can also visit the counter at the Police Department to pay a citation in person. If you are paying in person, you may pay by credit card, debit card, check, cash or money order.
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