Wisconsin Legal Resources

Overview of the Wisconsin Court System

The Wisconsin judicial system has four court levels: municipal courts, circuit courts, the Court of Appeals, and the Supreme Court.

The municipal courts make up the bottom level of this structure. The majority of cases heard by these courts involve traffic, parking, and ordinance matters. They also handle juvenile cases such as truancy and underage drinking and drug use.

The circuit courts are Wisconsin's primary trial courts, handling a wide range of criminal and civil cases.

The Court of Appeals, the third level of the structure, is the state's intermediate appeals court. Any citizen may appeal a decision at the circuit court level to the Court of Appeals. 

Any published opinions by the Court of Appeals are binding precedent unless overturned by the Supreme Court, the top level of the system. Parties may also ask the Supreme Court to bypass the Court of Appeals and take a case. In addition to taking cases, the Court also administers the entire Wisconsin court system.

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