How long are case files kept?
Pursuant to Wisconsin Supreme Court Rule 72, case information remains accessible for the minimum periods for the following case types:
- Felony: 75 years after final judgment
- Misdemeanor and Criminal Traffic: 20 years after final judgment
- Traffic: Five years after final judgment
How do I get copies of documents in a case file?
Copies are available Monday - Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. from the customer service window outside Room #117 of the Safety Building, 821 West State Street. Copies cost $1.25 per page. If you need a copy of a document certified, the cost for certification is $5 in addition to the copy costs.
Older files are located offsite and have to be ordered, which may take two to three days.
Can I request Clerk of Circuit Court office staff to change my court date?
No, office staff cannot change court dates. Non-appearance on a scheduled court date may result in a warrant being issued for your arrest.
I have a warrant, what should I do?
If you have a lawyer, call your lawyer to learn more about your options.
If you have a felony case, you should turn yourself in at the Sheriff's Department, Room # G-1 of the Criminal Justice Facility, 949 North 9th Street.
If you have a misdemeanor case, you should report to the customer service window outside Room #117 of the Safety Building, 821 West State Street, to check the status of your case. If a warrant has been issued, inform the staff that you would like to clear the warrant. You will be sent to appear before the court commissioner. Note that misdemeanor bench warrant walk-ins are processed by the court Monday-Friday in the AFTERNOONS ONLY and are handled on a first-come /first-served basis after the scheduled court calendar.
If you have a traffic case, the court may have issued a default judgment and sent you a copy. You are responsible for paying the fine within 60 days or your license will be suspended. Payments may be mailed to the Clerk of Circuit Court Cashier, Room #117 Safety Building, 821 West State Street, Milwaukee, WI 53233.
My driver's license has been suspended because I didn't pay my fine. What should I do?
Call (414) 278-4599 for information. You will need to pay the fine to the Clerk of Circuit Court Cashier, Room #117 Safety Building, 821 West State Street, Milwaukee, WI 53233 and you will need to pay a $60* reinstatement fee to the Department of Transportation. Your license will NOT be reinstated automatically with the payment of your fine to the Clerk of Circuit Court. You must also pay the reinstatement fee to the D.O.T. Call your local D.O.T. office for information on paying the reinstatement fee.
* Reinstatement fee for OWI-related offenses is $200.
I posted bail. How do I get my bail money back?
If the case is still open, the judge will usually require the bail to remain on deposit to ensure the defendant's appearance in court. After the case is closed, any remaining bail (after it is applied to the fine, court costs, assessments, and surcharges) will be returned to the person designated on the bail form. A bail refund check is usually mailed within 21 days of sentencing/disposition of the case. If you do not receive the bail refund after three weeks of the closing of the case, you may contact our office at (414) 278-4538.
* Please note that if the bail posted on a criminal case is over $1000 and eligible for refund, a bail refund notice and affidavit will be mailed to the person who posted the bail within three weeks after the case is closed.
Note that if the defendant failed to appear for a court date, the judge may order the bail forfeited and issue a bench warrant for the arrest of the defendant. If the bail is ordered forfeited, our office will mail a notice to both the defendant and the person who posted bail.
I was a witness in a case. How do I request my witness fee?
Once the case is closed, you may call our office at (414) 278-4538 to request your witness fee. Be ready to provide the case number, defendant's name, dates you were subpoenaed to appear in court, and your current address and phone number.
My State tax refund was intercepted. What do I do?
If you went to the State's website and found your taxes were intercepted, you will be receiving a letter with instructions and a phone number to call.
I received a default judgment on my traffic case. How can I reopen it?
You must appear in person at the customer service window outside Room #117 Safety Building, 821 West State Street, to fill out a Petition to Reopen and deposit $20 per case. Petitions are processed by the court Monday - Friday between 9 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. and are handled on a first-come/first-served basis after the scheduled court calendar.
What steps can be taken to have an address removed from a non-criminal case (TR-Traffic or FO-Forfeiture) because the information contained online may cause a demonstrated potential of physical or bodily harm to someone or a member of their household?
Complete the Petition, Affidavit and Order concerning Removal of Address Information from Online Records form [GF-183] and mail to:
Clerk of Circuit Court
821 W. State Street, Room 117
Milwaukee, WI 53233