Wisconsin’s Municipal Courts are the limited jurisdiction courts for the state. They focus mainly on local city ordinance violations. The most popular type of case in Municipal Courts are parking and traffic tickets.
The types of cases handled by Municipal Courts are:
- First offense drunk driving.
- Underage alcohol.
- Building code violations.
- Disorderly conduct.
- Health code violations.
- Animal control violations.
Municipal Courts sometimes handle first-time drunken driving offenses and juvenile issues like underage drinking, drug charges, curfew violations, and truancy. These types of cases make up the bulk of cases seen in Municipal Courts.
Wisconsin has 237 Municipal Courts with 240 judges presiding. Sixty-seven Municipal Courts serve anywhere from two to seventeen municipalities. The city of Milwaukee has the highest number of Municipal Courts with three full-time judges serving the court and four part-time court commissioners working to process the 110,000 annual cases.
Wisconsin municipalities have the option of combining and sharing a court. Judges are elected by voters in their municipality. The state makes it easy for a single or shared municipality to start a court with their packet called “Starting a Municipal Court.” This packet contains everything the government needs to set up a Municipal Court.
Many of the Municipal Courts have their own website, and there is a link to each one of them on the Wisconsin Court System website. There are 333 Municipal Courts clerks, and their contact information is also on the website should anyone need to contact them. There is also a helpful newsletter that serves the Municipal Court system and the general public. Patrons can also review the rules of the court, find forms for filing, and use the e-Filing system to pay traffic tickets, fees, or fines online. There is also a convenient directory to find the closest Municipal Court.