Court Rules & Procedures
This is intended to outline the general rules and procedures of the Shorewood Municipal Court. Since most people are concerned about appearing in court, it is hoped that by reviewing the court's procedures, you will better understand what to expect as your case proceeds through the court system. If you have any questions at all regarding these matters, the time to ask is before, not after your case has been disposed of.
This is a court of law. While proceedings at times are somewhat informal, respect and proper decorum must be observed at all times.
- Please remain silent while court is in session and give others the courtesy to be heard and present their case.
- Smoking is prohibited.
- Pagers and cell phones must be turned off.
- Persons who fail to conduct themselves in an orderly manner may be cited for contempt.
Entry of Plea
When your case is called, please come promptly to a position before the bench. The court will advise you of the charge that has been made against you and the potential penalties in the event that you are found guilty of that charge. You will then be asked to enter a plea to the charge. You may plead guilty, not guilty, or no contest.
By entering this plea, you admit to the charge against you. The court will find you guilty and impose a penalty as explained later.
By entering this plea, you deny the charge made against you. If the case cannot be resolved through a pretrial conference with the village attorney, the matter will be set for trial at a later date. You will be given a written notice of the trial date. At the time of trial, the burden is on the village to prove your guilt by evidence that is clear, satisfactory, and convincing.
By entering this plea, you neither admit guilty nor deny the charge, but state that you do not wish to contest the charge. The effect is the same as a plea of guilty, except that you are not admitting to any civil liability which may arise if personal injury or property damage is involved and you are later sued by a private party.
Upon your plea of guilty, no contest, or if you are convicted following trial, you will be formally found guilty of the charge and a penalty will be imposed in accordance with the law. The penalty will be a monetary forfeiture. In some cases, you may also receive a driver's license suspension or be ordered to pay restitution.
If you cannot pay the forfeiture immediately, the court may grant an extension of time to pay. If you fail to pay the forfeiture, 1 of 2 alternatives will be imposed:
- Your driver's license will be suspended for up to 2 years with a minimum of 30 days
- You may be committed to the Milwaukee County House of Correction for a period of time equivalent to 1 day for each $25 of forfeiture imposed, not to exceed 90 days
All forfeitures that remain unpaid after the court ordered payment due date will be placed into the Tax Refund Interception Program where the debt will remain until paid in its entirety by either you directly or garnished from your Wisconsin Income Tax refund check.
The prosecution will produce its witnesses to testify as to the facts and circumstances surrounding your case. You and your witnesses, (if any), will be allowed to testify and all witnesses are subject to cross examination. The prosecution and the defense will be given the opportunity to summarize, by brief argument, their perspective cases to the court. If the court finds you not guilty, you will be discharged and the complaint against you will be dismissed. If you are found guilty, a penalty will be imposed as noted previously.
If you are found guilty after trial, you have the right to appeal your case to the Circuit Court of Milwaukee County. All appeals must be filed within 20 days after judgment to the Shorewood Municipal Court. If you fail to meet this time limit, you have lost your right to appeal. Appeal fee, forfeiture, and costs must be posted upon filing the appeal.
If you are found guilty of a traffic offense, in addition to any judgment made by the court, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation may assess demerit points against your driving record. The assessment of 12 demerit points in a 12-month period will result in the suspension of your license. Any person holding a probationary license will be assessed double the demerit points for the second and all subsequent traffic convictions except for vehicle equipment violations under Chapter 347 of the Wisconsin Statutes. The Shorewood Municipal Court has no control over the assessment of demerit points by the Department of Transportation (DOT).
Juveniles are any individuals ages 16 and younger. Juveniles cited for traffic violations are subject to the same penalties and court procedures as adults. The Municipal Court also has jurisdiction over persons under 17 years of age charged with non-traffic ordinance violations and truancy regardless of age. Juveniles have the same rights with respect to pleas. They have the right to a private, or closed, hearing, but may waive this right. Forfeitures may be entered against juveniles. If a juvenile fails to pay a forfeiture for a traffic violation, his/her driving privileges may be suspended for up to two years. If the offense is alcohol or drug related, in addition to a forfeiture, the juvenile's driving privileges may be suspended also.
Those charged with Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) may request a jury trial. Such requests must be made within 10 days of the entry of a plea of not guilty to such a charge. The request must be accompanied by the required jury fee. 6 jurors are needed and the cost is $6 per juror. If the request is made by mail, the deposit must accompany the request as well. Additional procedures are as follows:
- You may request a substitution of judge. Such a request must be in writing and made within 7 days from the day on which you enter your plea.
- You may request a continuance or adjournment of your case if you desire.
- You may be represented by an attorney in these proceedings. You must hire the attorney at your own expense.
- You may request that the court conduct a hearing as to whether or not you are indigent or capable of paying any forfeiture assessed against you.