Court Appearance Procedure


The Initial Appearance
An initial appearance for violation of traffic laws or municipal ordiances is generally held at 4:30 P.M. Juvenile initial appearances are held at 5:00 P.M. The court date assigned to your case should be specified on the top or left side of the citation, and if your attendance is mandatory or not.

Juvenile court is strictly confidential, and the matter is held in closed court. Generally, only the parents/guardian of the juvenile and the attorney are allowed to be in court while it is in session.

When you arrive
When you arrive at court, you should put your name on the sign-up sheet, as this will allow the court clerk to know if you are there to appear for your case and it should be called. Then have a seat and wait for your case to be called.

When your case is called
When your name and case are called, please stand in front of the judge. The court will give a short synopsis of the incident for which you are charged. The court will then ask you for a plea on the charges; of either guilty, not guilty or no-contest.

If you plead guilty or no-contest
When you plead guilty you are telling the court that you admit to guilt on the charge(s) and if you plead no-contest it means you are saying you are not guilty but you know that there is enough evidence to convict you. The judge will then find you guilty on the charge(s) and will impose a forfeiture and/or other court ordered programs, etc.

If you plead not guilty
When you plead not guilty a pre-trial conference will be scheduled in the future. A pre-trial conference is where you as the defendant sit down with the Judge, the prosecuting attorney and your attorney if you have one and discuss the matter with eachother to see if the matter can be resolved. If the matter cannot be resolved, then a court trial by judge will be scheduled.

Failure to appear
If you fail to appear on a non-mandatory appearance charge, the court will find you guilty by default and you will be required to pay the forfeiture in full. If you fail to appear on a charge which your appearance is mandatory without proper notice to the court, a warrant may be issued for your arrest.

Failure to pay fines
If you were ordered to pay a fine/forfeiture by the Judge, and you fail to do so or fail to comply with the proper payment plan, your license will be suspended and a warrant may be issued for your arrest.

If you are found guilty after trial, you have the right to appeal your case to the Marathon County Circuit Court. All appeals must be filed in writing within 20 days after judgment. As the Court Clerk for an Appeal Form. If you fail to meet this time limit, you have lost your right to appeal. The appeal fee, forfeiture, and costs must be posted upon filing with the Court Clerk. You have the right to a 6-person Jury Trial on appeal, upon payment of appropriate fees.