Wisconsin Traffic Tickets and Moving Violations
The state of Wisconsin issues citations for a variety of driving infractions. There’s usually a code associated with the violation inscribed on the ticket, and you’re required to follow the directives to avoid serious consequences like having your Wisconsin drivers license suspended.
Most minor infractions can be settled by paying a fine, but some violations may require a court appearance. And if you get enough traffic tickets your driving privileges may be limited or revoked altogether.
It’s important to know what traffic tickets you could receive and what it will cost you before you hit the road. Here’s a closer look at Wisconsin’s driving laws and penalties, as well as some tips on what to do once you’ve been issued a traffic ticket.
Types of Traffic Tickets in Wisconsin
Traffic tickets usually fall under the category of strict-liability offenses, which means that criminal intent is factored out completely. If there is proof you committed the act – usually a law enforcement officer’s testimony – then the law can be enforced without further process. Practically speaking, this means you don’t have to go to court and bother a judge every time you get a speeding ticket.
Many infractions that are connected to a vehicle have nothing to do with your driving. All proper safety features and identifying markers have to be in place at all times. Violating these regulations is considered a non-moving violation. They include but are not limited to:
- Parking in an illegal zone (near a fire hydrant, bus stop, etc.).
- Being on the road with expired license plates or vehicle registration.
- Not displaying a license plate properly.
On the flip side, there are moving violations. These are what a lot of people think of when they hear the words traffic ticket. Common moving violations include:
- OWI (driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol)
- Driving without a seat belt
Cell Phone Use Offenses
Wisconsin is on a mission to end distracted driving. It’s a major safety concern that’s largely caused by the use of cell phones. All the advances in automobile and phone technology can’t account for the simple fact that using your phone while driving is a seriously dangerous distraction.
The state of Wisconsin has specific cell phone driving laws that are designed to discourage drivers from talking and texting behind the wheel.
- No driver is allowed to text while driving – period.
- Teenagers and other drivers holding an instruction permit or probationary license are not allowed to use cell phones at all while driving, unless reporting an emergency.
- No drivers are allowed to use handheld or hands-free devices in a road work zone unless they are reporting an emergency.
- Those holding a full driver’s license are allowed to use their phones while driving, so long as they are able to do so safely.
It’s important to remember that even if you are technically allowed to use a cell phone you can still get pulled over and ticketed. If the phone causes you to drive erratically or you’re obviously distracted you can get a ticket for reckless driving.
The Consequences of Getting a Traffic Ticket in Wisconsin
If you get a traffic ticket in Wisconsin there are going to be consequences that can be costly. In most cases you’ll have to pay a fine and will receive points on your driving record that can lead to more negative repercussions.
Fines for Traffic Violations
The fines vary depending on the location and traffic violation. If you take a look at your traffic ticket you should see the fine that you’ll have to pay.
In Wisconsin, traffic ticket fines aren’t cheap. The fines for speeding generally range from $200-$800. If you get caught running a stop sign or red light you can expect to pay $85+ in fines. A serious offense like operating while under the influence (OWI) comes with various fines that amount to $735-$925 for first-time offenders.
The Wisconsin Point System
Besides the fine – which can be considerable if the infraction was serious – Wisconsin’s point system can add to the consequences. The state operates a point system that records the infractions of all licensed drivers.
The system ranges from two points for obstructing traffic all the way to six points for trying to evade the police. Here are some other examples of points for traffic citations in Wisconsin:
- Backing illegally – 2 points
- Passing illegally – 3 points
- Following too closely – 3 points
- Texting while driving/inattentive driving – 4 points
- Driving on the wrong side of the highway – 4 points
- Speeding 20 miles over the speed limit – 6 points
- Failure to stop after an accident – 6 points
Have you received more than one traffic ticket? If this is your second ticket, the points against your driving record are doubled. Points stay on your driving record unless you work hard to remove them through state-approved programs, like a DMV-approved failure to yield course
Points can lead to your license being suspended or revoked. It only takes getting 12-16 points in 12 months for regular license holders to receive a mandatory 2-month license suspension.
If you’re in the process of getting a drivers license you definitely don’t want to get any traffic tickets. For those with a probationary license and/or under GDL restrictions, getting a citation will extend your GDL period by another 6 months. And getting 12-30 points in 12 months will come with a 6-month driving suspension. It’s easy to accumulate points with a probationary license or learner’s permit because every traffic ticket after your first one is double the points.
Luckily, you might be able to get out of a license suspension by taking a traffic safety course
Higher Insurance Premiums
Not only will you get a hefty fine for breaking the law, but you’ll also have to deal with the potential insurance ramifications associated with traffic tickets or a license suspension. The more points you have on your driving record the higher your auto insurance premium will be.
How Wisconsin Traffic School Can Help After Getting a Ticket
The ultimate goal for the Wisconsin DMV isn’t to fine drivers into bankruptcy. The top priority is improving safety for everyone on the road.
Traffic school is a safety net that helps you bounce back from a traffic citation. Successfully completing the course can reduce the amount of points placed on your record and potentially save you money.
Get 3 Points Off Your Driving Record
If you’ve received a demerit points warning notification from the Wisconsin DMV it’s definitely time to take traffic school. Drivers that complete an approved course will get a 3-point reduction. You can take a traffic school course once every three years to get points removed from your record.
Get Out of a License Suspension
Did you receive a license suspension notice from the DMV? Don’t freak out just yet. You might be able to circumvent the suspension by completing a traffic safety course if you’ve accumulated too many points on your record.
Get 10% Off Your Auto Insurance
Instead of seeing your monthly rates go up you could get a 10% discount on your auto insurance by completing an approved traffic school course. Ask your insurance provider if you qualify.
Get Enhanced Driving Safety Skills
Ultimately, the easiest way to protect yourself and others on the road is to understand the best practices for safe driving. That’s exactly what you’ll learn in online traffic school. It’s a refresher course that’s designed to help you improve as a driver.
Ready to become a better driver with a lower auto insurance rate? Find out how Wisconsin traffic school works!