Wisconsin state court system

Understanding how the system of Wisconsin state court works is very important as it helps you find court records easily.

Wisconsin Courts Overview

With the basic understanding of the organization of Wisconsin state court system and how it works, it will be easier for you to find the court files and records you are looking for. To make your work easier, start searching for court records in Wisconsin by simply going to courts by county.

The trial court system of Wisconsin State consists of Municipal Courts and Circuit Courts.

Circuit Courts

Wisconsin Circuit Courts have original jurisdiction over all types of Criminal and civil cases. However, Circuit Courts usually handle only those cases that are beyond the jurisdiction limit of Municipal Courts. Circuit Courts also have unlimited jurisdiction over all jury trials.

Wisconsin Circuit Courts have limited jurisdiction over all types of criminal cases. Typically, Circuit Courts do not actually handle ordinance violations that are within a Municipal Court jurisdiction.

Civil cases generally heard by Wisconsin Circuit Courts include most juvenile cases, probate matters, domestic relations, civil equity cases, and general civil claims.

Municipal Courts

Wisconsin Municipal Courts have limited jurisdiction over majority of ordinance violations. Typical cases that Municipal Courts handle include ordinance violations, traffic violations, and non-jury trials particularly for first offense drunk driving.

Wisconsin Municipal Courts also handle certain types of juvenile cases, including alcohol violations, truancy, curfew violations, and drug offenses. Municipal Courts have no jurisdiction over jury trials. They don’t offer jury trials. If the proper request is made and granted, the case can be transferred to Wisconsin Circuit Courts. A Municipal Court doesn’t have jurisdiction to hear cases requesting equitable relief.

Circuit Courts hear ordinance violations in the areas where Municipal Courts are not available.

Court Notes

The State of Wisconsin is currently in the process of expanding its trial court system. It is actually developing special or “problem solving” court programs within its Circuit Courts. These specialized court programs are developed to handle some types of cases. They include offender reentry courts, domestic violence courts, specialized juvenile courts, mental health treatment courts, and drug treatment courts. All these court programs operate as “problem solving” or specialized court programs of Circuit Courts.

The State of Wisconsin is also considering establishing some divisions within the Municipal Courts.  Every division must have its jurisdiction, which can be shared with Municipal Courts.

Currently, the files of cases exist in Circuit Courts and Municipal Courts.

The Official Website of Wisconsin County

Milwaukee City of Milwaukee
Madison City of Madison, Wisconsin
Kenosha City of Kenosha The City of Kenosha website helps citizens and visitors learn about city services and conduct business, including permit applications and online payments.
Racine Welcome to the City of Racine The official website for the City of Racine, Wisconsin
Appleton Appleton, WI
Waukesha Waukesha, WI | Official Website
Oshkosh City of Oshkosh
Eau Claire City of Eau Claire, Wisconsin
Janesville Janesville, WI
West Allis West Allis, WI – Official Website
La Crosse La Crosse, WI
Wauwatosa Wauwatosa, WI
Fond du Lac City of Fond Du Lac
New Berlin New Berlin, WI – Official Website
Wausau Wausau Wisconsin
Milwaukee County Milwaukee County | County of Milwaukee
Dane County Welcome to Dane County, Wisconsin The official County Government website for Dane County, WI. Find information on elected officials, local news & events, county services and more!
Brown County The official website of Brown County, Wisconsin government Brown County Government, Green Bay, Wisconsin – providing Brown County news, services and event information
Racine County Racine County, WI Racine County Courthouse730 Wisconsin Ave.Racine, Wisconsin 53403262-636-3333
Outagamie County Outagamie County, WI
Winnebago County Welcome to Winnebago County | Winnebago County
Kenosha County Kenosha County, WI – Official Website
Rock County Rock County Wisconsin
Marathon County Marathon County Wisconsin
Washington County Washington County, WI A Winter Weather Emergency has been declared for Washington County. All non-essential Washington County offices will be closed Monday, January 28.As part of this closure, the Justice Center will be closed and all court matters will be rescheduled.
Sheboygan County Sheboygan County
La Crosse County Official Web Site of La Crosse County Government Welcome to the official website of La Crosse County, Wisconsin
Walworth County Walworth County
Fond du Lac County Fond du Lac County Welcome to the new official Fond du Lac County site. Government officials, departments and services plus much more.
Eau Claire County Eau Claire County
Ozaukee County Ozaukee County, WI – Official Website
St. Croix County Welcome to St Croix County
Jefferson County Welcome to Jefferson County
Manitowoc County Manitowoc County, WI
Wood County Wood County Wisconsin
Portage County Portage County, WI
Chippewa County Chippewa County, Wi
Sauk County Sauk County Wisconsin Official Website
Columbia County Columbia County Website
Waupaca County Welcome to Waupaca County, WI
Grant County Grant County, Wisconsin Grant County, Wisconsin World Wide Web Site
Calumet County Calumet County, WI – Official Website
Barron County Barron County, Wisconsin – www.barroncountywi.gov
Monroe County Monroe County, Wisconsin –
Polk County Polk County, Wisconsin Polk County Wisconsin
Douglas County Douglas County, WI – Official Website
Dunn County Dunn County, WI
Shawano County The Official Shawano County Government Web Site Shawano County – Honoring Tradition, Discovering Tomorrow
Marinette County The Official Marinette County Government Website Marinette County has everything! Find information on Government officials, departments, services and more.
Pierce County Pierce County