Initial Appearance for Adults

"Where do I find my court date?"

If you received a citation, your court date and time are listed in the top left corner.  The is referred to as your Initial Appearance court date.  Click here to view an example.  In most cases, this is not a mandatory court date.  If you need assistance, please contact the court at 608-824-7370.

What will happen if I appear in court on the date listed on my citation?

The date on your citation is the date of your Initial Appearance.  Your Initial Appearance is an opportunity for you to enter one of the pleas listed below.  The Initial Appearance is not a trial.  You may have an attorney assist you, but you will have to provide your own attorney. The Court will not appoint an attorney for you.

  • Plea of Guilty - Pleading guilty means you admit to the charges, you have no defense for your actions, and the Court can levy a sentence.  The sentence may include a fine and/or other penalties.  You will have an opportunity to explain your circumstances to the judge.  At your Initial Appearance, enter the courtroom, print your full name on the signup sheet, and take a seat in the courtroom.  You will be called to appear before the judge in order of the signup sheet.
  • Plea of No Contest - Pleading no contest means you admit no guilt for the crime.  The Court will determine the punishment.  This differs from a plea of guilty because the plea and finding cannot be used against you in other civil proceedings for the purpose of liability.  The sentence may include a fine and/or other penalties.  You will have an opportunity to explain your circumstances to the judge.  At your Initial Appearance, enter the courtroom, print your full name on the signup sheet, and take a seat in the courtroom.  You will be called to appear before the judge in order of the signup sheet.
  • Plea of Not Guilty - If you plead not guilty, you are disagreeing that you committed the offense.  At your Initial Appearance, your case will be scheduled for a Pre-trial Conference with the City's prosecuting attorney.  The city prosecutor is available on court nights, so you will have an opportunity to discuss your case that evening.  If you and the city prosecutor are unable to resolve the case, then your case will be scheduled for trial.  When you arrive, proceed to the court window to complete a Not Guilty Plea form. 

"Must I appear in court on the date set forth on my citation?"

You do not have to appear in court on the date set forth on your citation if you:

  • Enter a not guilty plea prior to your court date.  Your plea must be in writing and received prior to your scheduled initial appearance.  You must include the following information with your written plea:  your name, current mailing address, current telephone number, citation number, and declaration of your not guilty plea, or you may use this form.  Your case will be scheduled for a Pre-trial Conference with the City's prosecuting attorney.  See Pre-Trial Conferences for more information.
  • Do not contest the citation and you send the deposit amount (i.e. fine/forfeiture) prior to your court date.  If a deposit is posted and you do not appear in court, you will be found guilty by default, and the deposit money posted will be forfeited.  See Payment Information for more information.

"What happens if I cannot attend my scheduled court date?"

If you are unable to attend your Initial Appearance court date, the court will allow you to reschedule one time if requested prior to your court date.  You will need to submit a request for continuance prior to your court date and include:  your name, current address, telephone number(s), citation number(s), and the reason for your request.  Submit your request in writing by mail, email, FAX, or delivered in person to court office located at 7341 Donna Drive, Middleton, WI, 53562.

"What happens if I missed my scheduled court date?"

If you do not deposit money and you also fail to appear in court, a judgement will be entered against you for the amount of the ticket.  You will be allowed 60 days from the court date to pay.  Failure to pay within 60 days may result in:  suspension of your driving privileges for up to one year; having the outstanding amount certified to the Department of Revenue’s Tax Interception Program; having the matter referred to a collection agency; or being incarcerated in the county jail for a period of up to 90 days.  For information, see Payment Information.