While a traffic ticket is not usually a criminal offense where jail is possible, it can still have a negative effect on your day-to-day life, such as a loss of your driving privilege, extension of a license probationary period, or increase insurance premiums. Without an experienced Wisconsin traffic defense attorney, there can be ripple effects that you do not anticipate. These effects can be even more severe if you have a commercial driver’s license (CDL), and can even lead to the loss of employment for commercial drivers. Effective Wisconsin traffic defense includes going to court for you, and knowing the details of these ramifications to improve the outcome through negotiations, or potentially avoid though trial. Mastantuono & Coffee has the experience to give you straight advice on your situation.
How do points work?
Wisconsin operates on a demerit point system for driver’s licenses. Everyone starts with zero points. If any driver accumulates 12 points in any 12-month period, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will impose a 6-month driver’s license suspension. This is determined on any 12-month period from the date of the violation. For example, if a driver received a ticket on May 10, 2019, those points would be on their record for 12 months from that date, or until May 10, 2020. The points are removed from the driver’s record after that.
Drivers with a commercial driver’s license (CDL) are held to a higher standard of driving. This means that it is easier for a CDL driver to lose their driving privileges for a period of time or permanently, which is called a disqualification. The DMV posts a list of violations that can cause a disqualification in Wisconsin.
Generally speaking, a first offense drunk driving will result in a one-year disqualification. There is no occupational license for a CDL. A second or subsequent violation is a lifetime disqualification. There are also less serious offenses that can result in a disqualification if there are two or more convictions within 3 years of each other, like speeding more than 15 mph over the limit, improper lane change, or following too closely.
How is a probationary license different?
Probationary licenses carry restrictions that are listed on the back, including limiting the number of people in the vehicle and the hours of the day. Significantly, probationary license status causes the demerit points of any second or subsequent traffic citation to be doubled. The same point calculation applies: accumulating 12 or more demerit points within a 12-month period results in a 6-month license suspension. There’s also the added penalty of an extension of the probationary period.
What can Wisconsin do if I get a ticket in another state?
Out of state violations are often reported to the Wisconsin DMV. When Wisconsin receives notice, the points – and any suspension – may be imposed by the Wisconsin DMV.