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4 Wisconsin speeding ticket defenses: Save the points, spare the fines.

Speeding tickets are an easy way for municipalities to make money. Most people travel over the speed limit to varying degrees anywhere from 1 or 2 mph above the speed limit, to upwards of 15 mph or more above the speed limit. Independent of where you fall on that spectrum an officer can pull you over for speeding.  With that ability to pull you over, come the penalties that are attached to a speeding ticket.  

There is a fine, court costs, points, and how it can affect your insurance rates.  Those are all real tangible penalties that you are facing with a simple speeding ticket. The initial financial burden with a speeding ticket is listed on your ticket itself, it is the fine attached to the speed over the limit that you were traveling plus the court costs associated with the ticket.  That financial obligation will vary from place to place simply because they are different places.  Each municipality can charge what they want, within a range, as a fine for the ticket, and on top of that each municipality has its own court costs associated with the ticket. 

You can find yourself getting a ticket for 11 mph over the limit traveling in Milwaukee and your ticket amount will change dependent on if you were pulled over by the Milwaukee Police Department or the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Department. Being pulled over by MPD will lead your case to be in Milwaukee Municipal Court and the Sheriff will lead your case to be in Milwaukee County Circuit Court. 

However, simply because you have been issued a ticket does not mean that you must be convicted of it.  With an experienced attorney there are a number of resolutions that can take place, which range from getting your ticket reduced, as to points, to having the ticket amended to a different traffic violation, such as a parking ticket.  Additionally, there are defenses that may be available to you to get your speeding ticket dropped so that you are not facing any charges.

Possible defense 1: Not Speeding

There are times when you simply are not speeding, but an officer pulls you over anyway.  Whether the officer is guessing or those around you are traveling slower.  Either way if you are not speeding then you should not be given a ticket nor convicted of the ticket.  Unfortunately when it comes down to simply your word versus the officer’s word all of a sudden things get murky and navigating this landscape is what an attorney can do for you even in a situation when you were not speeding.

Possible defense 2: Not your vehicle

When an officer is using radar in order to determine a vehicle’s speed the officer must successfully ping the correct car.  If your car is traveling in traffic that can become more difficult and it opens up the possibility that you were not the offender.  Like arguing that you were not in fact speeding, this argument is best made with an attorney.  The officer is likely to testify that he or she did not make a mistake the radar was correctly attributed to the correct vehicle.

Possible defense 3: Radar not calibrated properly

Like most instruments radar must be maintained and calibrated correctly for the results produced by that radar to be considered accurate.  An attorney can request the records associated with the unit that the officer was using and based on those records there we can argue on your behalf that the result was inaccurate and unreliable.  If the unit was not maintained correctly a Judge would have a much more difficult time finding that the City Attorney has met their burden of clear and convincing evidence.

And more. An experienced attorney may be able to draw out possible defenses from the specific facts of your case. Do-it-yourself defense & begging for mercy are technically valid tactics. But if you’re at a point in your life where the points off your license will create severe negative consequences, then an experienced attorney is your best option. Initial phone consultations are free. 

Additional speeding related charges, fines and penalties in Wisconsin:

Unreasonable and imprudent speed

When an officer does not know exactly how fast you were going, but still believes you are speeding you may be pulled over for unreasonable and imprudent speed. The citation essentially means that you were driving fast enough that the officer is aware that you were going too fast but does not know exactly how fast you were going. This catch all citation falls in the 4-point speeding ticket range in Wisconsin and, as far as points are concerned, is the same as a speeding ticket with the speed of 11-19 over the limit. Like all speeding tickets failure to either pay or contest the ticket by the ticket date will result in a suspension of your driver’s license until the ticket has been paid.

Too fast for conditions

This violation falls under the same statute as unreasonable and imprudent speed, making it also a 4-point violation. This allows an officer to ticket a driver to who may not be speeding and for driving a speed that the officer may not be aware of, simply if the officer believes that the speed you are driving is too fast because of some condition that exists [ie. rain, ice, road hazards etc.] the officer has the ability to issue you a ticket. These tickets can be fought with an experienced, even though the law is more interpretation based, by demonstrating that the speed that you were driving was reasonable given the circumstances at the time when you were pulled over.

Driving too slow

While you can be ticket for driving too fast at any given time, an officer can also issue a ticket if you are not driving fast enough. This violation is a 2-point ticket and occurs if you are not driving at an adequate speed such that you are impeding traffic around you. This too presents arguable scenarios, if there is no one else on the road who have impeded. Is there a threshold where you have automatically begun to impede traffic or is it a case by case location by location scenario? These questions are also arguments that can be made on your behalf whether directly to the City Attorney prosecuting the ticket or by cross examining the officer who decided to issue the ticket.

Move over or slow down?

Move over or slow is not really an either, nor is it an option or suggestion. Wisconsin Statute §346.072(1m) requires you to either move over or slow down, but it is not simply driver’s choice. If there are at least two lanes traveling in the same direction you are, then you are required to change lanes so that you are not driving in the lane closest to the emergency vehicle. If instead there is only one lane in the direction you are traveling, then you are required to slow down while you are passing the emergency vehicle. I violation of this law is a 3-point ticket.

How do I reduce my speeding ticket points in Wisconsin?

The most efficient way to reduce your speeding ticket is by hiring the right attorney. We will be able to negotiate and argue on your behalf before the judge, commissioner, or with the prosecutor to resolve your case while reducing your penalties.

How long does a speeding ticket stay on your record in Wisconsin?

Your driving record is not something that gets erased. Any resolved our outstanding citations against you will show up on your driving record.

How many points is a speeding ticket in Wisconsin?

1-9 over 3 point ticket
11-19 over 4 point ticket
20-24 over 6 point ticket
25+ over 6 point ticket with the potential of automatic suspension of your license

What about out of state speeding tickets with an Illinois License?

How a ticket effects your license issued by Illinois, Minnesota, or any other state ultimately comes down to the state that issued you your license. You will be assessed the fine on the ticket and the points that are listed. If you are ticketed often enough that those points add up to 12 or more, over a 12-month period, your ability to drive, in Wisconsin, will be suspended.

Is a speeding ticket a misdemeanor in Wisconsin?

No, a speeding ticket is a citation in Wisconsin, the driving may result in additional charges that could be a misdemeanor, but the ticket itself is not a misdemeanor offense.

Can a speeding ticket be a felony in Wisconsin?

A speeding ticket is never a felony in Wisconsin, however, the driving that resulted in a speeding ticket can also be a felony. An individual who does not what to get pulled over, so he/she speeds away from the police after the police have turned on their lights. They may get a speeding ticket in the end, but they may also be charged criminal for fleeing and eluding an officer, which is a felony with a 3.5-year maximum prison sentence.

Does Wisconsin offer traffic school for points reduction?

Yes, in Wisconsin you make take a traffic safety course to reduce the number of points against your license by 3 points. However, you are only able to attend a traffic safety course once every three years.

How much over the speed limit is reckless driving in Wisconsin?

Reckless driving does not equate to a specific speed or an over the limit amount in Wisconsin, it is instead the behavior you exhibit while you are behind the wheel. Are you driving fast and weaving in and out of traffic? Are you passing people in an unsafe way? In generally is your behavior behind the wheel that would be considered to put people at risk in a greater way than normal? Often the type of driving that is associated with someone who is intoxicated would be considered reckless driving if there was no intoxication.

How many points does a Wisconsin driver’s license have?

When you are given you license you start with zero points counting against it. You are allowed to accumulate up to 11 points within a calendar year without having your license suspended. Once you hit 12 points or more your license is “point suspended” and you will be unable to drive for the duration of the suspension, which is dependent on the number of points.

How does Wisconsin driver’s license point system work?

Points are accumulated on your license for different driving offenses while driving in Wisconsin. Speeding tickets, as issued, range anywhere from 3 points up to 6 points per ticket, however, those are not the only violations that result in points being attributed to your license. Following to close, driving to fast for conditions, failure to keep vehicle under control, failure to yield to the right of way, OWI’s, reckless driving, just to name a handful are various other citations that will accumulate points on your license typically either 4 or 6 points.

What happens if you get 12 points on your license in Wisconsin?

With the point system in Wisconsin you are given 12 points, once you accumulate a total of 12 points within in one calendar year your license will be suspended. The minimum your license can be suspended following a point suspension is 2 months, the maximum is 12 months and it is dependent on the number of points you have been assessed. The more points in excess of 12 that you are assessed the longer the suspension of your license will be.

How long do points stay on your license in Wisconsin?

As far as how long points stay on your license, in Wisconsin you are given back all of your points one year since the ticket was issued against you. You do not have to take any affirmative steps in order to get your points off of your license, however, there are opportunities to reduce points following a conviction on a citation without having to wait the year.

Can a speeding ticket be dismissed in Wisconsin?

Yes, under the right circumstances and with the right attorney a speeding ticket can ultimately be dismissed.

Contact Grieve Law, LLC criminal defense offices in the Milwaukee, Waukesha, Madison, and Glendale areas for attorneys specializing in speeding tickets and other traffic violations.

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