If you’re like most Wisconsin residents, you likely do not challenge a traffic ticket when you get one, but pay it immediately. Most people do. After all, if you don’t pay or otherwise address your traffic ticket by the due date you risk serious penalties including higher fines, suspension of your driver’s license, arrest and even jail time.
However, what many people do not stop to consider is that by paying a traffic ticket without question, you are also pleading guilty to the charges assigned in that traffic citation. Each time you are found guilty of a traffic offense in Wisconsin, a number of points, or demerits, are assigned to your driver’s license. Once you accumulate a certain number of points, you risk having your driver’s license suspended.
This article will take a closer look at Wisconsin’s Point System so that you have a better understanding of the consequences of failing to challenge your traffic tickets.
To learn more about challenging a moving violation in Wisconsin, read the articles by The Fitzgerald Law Firm:
- “4 Reasons to Fight a Traffic Ticket in Wisconsin”
- “What Illinois Drivers Can Do About Wisconsin Speeding Tickets”
What is The Point System in Wisconsin?
Simply put, Wisconsin’s point system assigns a different number of demerit points to your driver’s license for each moving violation or traffic offense you commit. If you are someone who simply pays your speeding ticket or other traffic citation without thorough examination or review, you may be admitting to offenses you do not believe you committed, as well as accumulating more demerit points on your license than you realize.
If you received a traffic ticket for violations you feel you did not commit and want to challenge the ticket, it is a good idea to consult a knowledgeable defense attorney to assist you as you proceed.
How Wisconsin’s Point System Impacts Your Driver’s License
By choosing to pay a traffic ticket without question, you are pleading guilty to the associated traffic violation(s) and will be assigned the accompanying demerit points to your driver’s license, according to the Wisconsin point system.
Wisconsin’s point system is somewhat complicated to absorb due to the sheer number of categories of violations which carry various points, and depending upon your type of license.
The following lists of common traffic charges–while not complete–will help give you a better understanding of the number of points that are assigned by violation to a regular or standard driver’s license under the point system in Wisconsin.
Traffic Offenses Assigned 2 Points in Wisconsin:
- Obstructing traffic – 2 points
- Parking on highway in traffic lane, defective speedometer – 2 points
Traffic Offenses Assigned 3 Points in Wisconsin:
- Speeding 1 to 10 miles over the limit – 3 points
- Prohibited or illegal turn – 3 points
- Operating with expired license or without a license – 3 points
- Improper brakes or lights – 3 points
- Operating while license is revoke or suspended – 3 points
- Illegal passing – 3 points
- Following too closely – 3 points
- Failure to give proper signal – 3 points
- Driving wrong way on one-way street – 3 points
Traffic Offenses Assigned 4 Points in Wisconsin:
- Speeding 11-19 mpg over the limit – 4 points
- Inattentive driving – 4 points
- Failure to yield to emergency vehicle – 4 points
- Failure to yield right of way – 4 points
- Imprudent driving, too fast for conditions, failure to have vehicle under control – 4 points
- Driving on wrong side of street – 4 points
- Deviating from traffic lane – 4 points
Traffic Offenses Assigned 6 Points in Wisconsin:
- Violating of occupational license – 6 points
- Speeding 20 mpg or more over the limit – 6 points
- Reckless driving or racing – 6 points
- Operating under the influence of an intoxicant – 6 points
- Attempting to elude an officer – 6 points
- Failure to perform duty after accident – 6 points
If you are concerned about how many points might be on your driver’s license currently, you can visit the State of Wisconsin Department of Transportation’s website to find out.
If you have already been assigned points under Wisconsin’s point system, there might be an option for you to have your points reduced by attending traffic safety courses. Contact an attorney skilled in traffic law to help explore your options.
CDL and Wisconsin’s Point System
If you have a commercial driver’s license or CDL, there different versions of some traffic violations and point allocations, including:
- Unlawful commercial motor vehicle license or endorsement – 3 points
- Possession of intoxicating beverage while operating or being on duty time with respect to a commercial motor vehicle – 3 points
- Commercial speeding intermediate of 15-19 mph over limit) – 4 points
- Commercial speeding in excess (20 or more mph over limit) – 6 points
- Operating with alcohol concentration of 0.04 or more but less than 0.08 causing injury – 6 points
- Operating while disqualified – 6 points
If you depend upon your driving privileges for your livelihood, contact a lawyer with experience fighting traffic tickets to explore your options.
How Wisconsin’s Point System Impacts a Motorcycle License
If you operate a motorcycle in Wisconsin, there are additional traffic violations specific to you under the state’s point system. The following traffic violations are some of the possible convictions you could face if you have a Wisconsin motorcycle license:
- Not wearing helmet* – 0 points
- No protective eye wear (operator) – 2 points
- More than 2 riders (operator) – 2 points
- Defective or repaired handlebars – 2 points
- No cycle license – 3 points
- Headlights not lit at night – 3 points
As you can see from the above list, if you were found guilty of all of the above violations–or admitted guilt by paying your ticket without challenge–you would already be at 12 points and would lose your driving privileges for a minimum of 2 months, depending on whether or not you had other points on your license prior to this stop.
*While it is considered a moving violation not to wear a helmet or protective headgear while operating a motorcycle in Wisconsin, no points are currently assigned to your license.
Contact a defense attorney well-versed in traffic law to help you fight your traffic tickets; it may be possible have your violations reduced to non-moving violations or even dismissed.
How Many Points Until I Lose My License?
Under the point system in Wisconsin, you will have your driving privileges suspended once you are assigned 12 points on your license within a 12 month period of time.
The specific duration of your license suspension depends upon two factors:
- What type of license you have (Standard, CDL, Probationary, etc.)
- How many points you have been assigned
Losing one’s license can be devastating for any driver, but especially impactful if you make your living as a truck driver or other commercial driver, or need to drive in order to get yourself or your loved one to work, school or medical appointments.
If you have been cited with multiple traffic violations and are afraid you may be at risk of losing your license, you need to contact a skilled attorney who is experienced in traffic law to discuss the details of your traffic citation.
If you have received a traffic ticket which you would like to challenge, it would be in your best interest to contact a criminal defense attorney who is experienced in helping clients fight traffic citations and avoiding the impact of Wisconsin point system.
FREE 15-Minute Consultation
If you would like to challenge a traffic ticket you have received, but don’t know where to start, you should contact an experienced legal firm to help you.
Specializing in helping clients fight against traffic charges, The Fitzgerald Law Firm is pleased to offer a no-obligation, FREE 15-minute consultation to explore your options are you fight your speeding or other ticket in Wisconsin. Don’t put off your fight when it comes to traffic tickets–you have options!