I am 18 years old, and yesterday I received an underage drinking ticket at a condo in Wisconsin Dells, WI (I live in a different county). I cooperated with the officer and admitted to having a few beers, and I blew a .076. It was my first offense of any kind. I have a few questions:
When will the ticket arrive in the mail?
The officer said that because I live far from the Dells, the court date will be "non-mandatory." What does this mean? Should I go? Do I need a lawyer?
If I understand correctly, this is a civil issue, not a criminal one. Will there be any permanent record of it?
If I opt to take an alcohol awareness course, can I either get out of paying the fine or get it taken off of my record?
Landlord / Tenant Lawyer
I wouldn't worry too much about it, underage drinking tickets are very common. It's a non-criminal offense so you won't have to report that "you've committed a crime."
"Non-mandatory" just means that you can pay the ticket and not show up in court. Some tickets require you to show up in court regardless of whether you intend to pay/plea guilty.
The only benefit to going to the court date is that you might be able to get the city attorney reduce the fine and/or amend the ticket to something that sounds better than "underage drinking." You don't need a lawyer to do this. As a bargaining chip you could offer to take that Alcohol Awareness course.
Since it's municipal court your ticket will not be on CCAP, which is where most people look. It will likely show up on your Wisconsin Department of Justice CIB record which people can order for a $18 fee.