What to do if You Receive a Ticket/Citation?

  • Q. What should I do when I receive a ticket/citation?

    A. Due to the COVID-19 emergency, the rules for entering a plea have changed. The main change is that NO PERSONAL IN-COURT APPEARANCES WILL BE REQUIRED OR PERMITTED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE FROM THE COURT.

    Pleas of guilty, not guilty and no contest MUST be entered via email, regular mail, fax or by telephone on or before your assigned court date. Due to high call volume, please consider communicating your plea by email, mail or fax if possible.

    If you choose to plead not guilty, the court will schedule a telephone pretrial conference with the Madison City Attorney just as if you had appeared in person and entered your plea. A pretrial is where you attempt to negotiate an agreement with the prosecutor. If you are able to reach a settlement with the prosecutor at the telephone pretrial, the court will review and likely approve the agreement. If you are not able to reach an agreement with the prosecutor, the court will set the case for a trial and send you a notice of the trial date.

    If you wish to plead guilty or no contest, a judgment will be ordered on the charge described in the citation/ticket/complaint. The Judge will set the penalty within the minimum and maximum allowed by law. You may include with your written guilty or no contest plea a description of any circumstances surrounding your citation which you would like the court to take into consideration for sentencing purposes. Payment will be due in 90 days from your original court date. Payment can be made by mailing a check or money order to the municipal court or payment can be made online at Madisonpay.com (click on "Municipal Court"). If you submit full payment for your citation/ticket/complaint before your assigned court date, it will be treated as a no contest plea.

    If you need a pay plan, you can write to the court and state how much you can pay monthly and when you can start making payments. You will be notified in writing if your pay plan is approved.

    IF YOU DO NOT CONTACT THE COURT on or before your assigned court date you will be found guilty of the charge on the citation/ticket/complaint and the court will send you an order about what you must pay and other legal sanctions that may apply to your case. You must notify the court in writing of any change of address that is different than what is listed on your citation/ticket/complaint.

  • Q. What will happen if I do not contact the court by mail, email, fax or telephone on or before my assigned court date?

    A. IF YOU DO NOT CONTACT THE COURT on or before your assigned court date you will be found guilty of the charge on the citation/ticket/complaint and the court will send you an order about what you must pay and other legal sanctions that may apply to your case. You must notify the court in writing of any change of address that is different than what is listed on your citation/ticket/complaint.

  • Q. What are the different pleas I may enter?

    A. You may enter one of the following pleas:

    • GUILTY: If you plead Guilty, you admit you committed the violation. The judge will find you guilty of the charge, set the forfeiture and order any other appropriate sentence, and notify you when you must pay the forfeiture or provide proof of compliance with the court order. If you cannot pay the forfeiture immediately, you may request more time to pay.
    • NO CONTEST: If you plead No Contest you declare you are neither guilty nor not guilty. You merely want to get the matter over with and pay the forfeiture. As a result of this plea you will be found guilty but this finding cannot be used against you as an admission of guilt if you appear in any other court action related to the charge against you. The judge will review the police report, or other reports about the case, and review your prior record. You may submit a written statement with any mitigating facts about your case. The judge will set the forfeiture and order any other appropriate sentence within the minimum and maximum allowed by law, and notify you when you must pay the forfeiture or provide proof of compliance with the court order. If you cannot pay the forfeiture immediately, you may request more time to pay. You cannot change your plea after the penalty is set. Also, judges cannot bargain. This option is typically your fastest option, but it is final.
    • NOT GUILTY: If you plead Not Guilty, you deny committing the violation charged against you. You will meet with your opponent, the City Attorney, via telephone to discuss the case. If an agreement can be reached between you and the City, the judge will review the agreement and decide whether to approve it. If you cannot reach an agreement you will be given a trial date on the case.
  • Q. How do I enter a plea?

    A. Pleas of guilty, not guilty and no contest MUST be entered via email, regular mail, fax or by telephone on or before your assigned court date. Due to high call volume, please consider communicating your plea by email, mail or fax if possible. Please include your name, date of birth, citation number, type of violation and court date.

  • Q. What will happen after I plead NOT GUILTY?

    A. If you choose to plead not guilty, the court will schedule a telephone pretrial conference with the Madison City Attorney just as if you had appeared in person and entered your plea. A pretrial is where you attempt to negotiate an agreement with the prosecutor. If you are able to reach a settlement with the prosecutor at the telephone pretrial, the court will review and likely approve the agreement. If you are not able to reach an agreement with the prosecutor, the court will set the case for a trial and send you a notice of the trial date.