Dick Steinberg has resided in the city of Brookfield for 35 years. He served 34 years as municipal judge and has been an attorney for 50 years. He enjoys tennis, golf, biking and creative writing, which includes legal issues, sports, government and people.
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When a municipal police department issues a citation which purports to be a violation of a civil ordinance it creates a permanent court record and may create a permanent police record.
A municipal citation under state and local law is a violation of a civil ordinance and a finding of guilty results in a fine/forfeiture.
HOWEVER, even though the penalty results in a monetary fine there can be more serious consequences.
Many people are advised that a civil law violation is not a crime and therefore there is no criminal record attached.
This is correct in that a civil law violation is not a crime and that when the fine/forfeiture is paid the case is ended.
Caveat: If that civil law violation results in an arrest and the person is booked, fingerprinted and photographed, those records in some cases may become permanent and forwarded to certain data base agencies.
Caveat: If you plead guilty and sometimes no contest and that plea results in a judgment of guilty, then that record in some cases may become part of a permanent police record (rap sheet). That record may be permanent even in some cases that are dismissed.
Caveat: The Municipal Court has a permanent case file and computer generated record of every citation issued regardless of the outcome.
Examples of a civil law violation are disorderly conduct, retail theft, trespassing, vandalism, possession of controlled substance ,destruction of property and almost all violations described in the municipal ordinance.
Caveat: This type of record may prevent a person from employment and education opportunities and may prevent a person from being bonded or licensed.
Be very careful and seek professional advice before you are convicted of a civil ordinance violation in a municipal court.