Wisconsin Department of Transportation

Alert: The following services will be unavailable on Saturday, January 5, 2013 from 12 a.m. (midnight) to 6 a.m. CST due to system maintenance.

Unpaid parking tickets, judgments and towing and storage fees

The Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) administers the Traffic Violation and Registration Program (TVRP) which was created to help local authorities and courts collect unpaid parking tickets, non-moving traffic forfeiture judgments, and towing and storage fees. DMV charges a small fee to authorities and courts that participate in TVRP. The authority may add this fee to the amount due for the unpaid citation, judgment, or towing and storage fees.

The difference between a registration suspension and refusal

An authority issuing a parking ticket will send two notices to the registered owner of the vehicle. If, after 28 days, the ticket remains unpaid or the owner does not appear in court in response to the ticket, an authority may tell the DMV to suspend the registration of the vehicle involved in the unpaid parking ticket and/or refuse registration for all vehicles registered to the same owner. Most authorities tell DMV to both suspend and refuse registration for unpaid parking tickets. Customers receive a letter from DMV informing them of the action taken.

A court issuing a judgment or tow lot with unpaid towing and storage fees will send two notices to the defendant. If, after 28 days, the judgment or towing and storage fees remain unpaid or the defendant does not appear in court in response to the judgment or towing and storage fees, the issuing agency may tell the DMV to refuse the registration of any vehicle owned by the person. Customers receive a letter from DMV informing them of the action taken.

A suspended registration means it is illegal to operate the vehicle. When a personís registration is refused, operation of a vehicle may be legal if the registration is not suspended or expired, but the person may not:

  • Renew the registration of any vehicle.
  • Register another vehicle.
  • Change the registration of any vehicle.
  • Obtain replacement license plates for any vehicle.
  • Transfer registration to another vehicle

In addition, DMV will suspend any non-expiring registration (example: Collector plates) owned by that person after 30 days.

Requirements to remove registration suspension or refusal

You must first pay the full amount due on all unpaid parking tickets, court judgments, or towing and storage fees issued by the authority or court. Contact the authority or court for the amount due because they do not always notify DMV about each unpaid parking ticket or judgment.

How long must I wait until my registration is reinstated or refusals removed from my vehicle records after I have made payment?

After paying the unpaid citation, judgment, or towing and storage fees, the authority or court sends a written notice to DMV within three business days. Normally, your registration privileges will be reinstated within seven to 10 days from the payment date (this includes mailing time).

Tax refund intercept program (TRIP)

The Tax Refund Intercept Program (TRIP) is administered by the Wisconsin Department of Revenue (DOR). It allows state agencies, counties and municipalities to collect debts from taxpayers/customers who are due to receive state or federal income tax refunds. TRIP may be used by parking authorities to collect fees related to unpaid parking tickets, traffic forfeiture judgments and towing and storage fees.

When a customer files their federal or state income tax return and a refund is due, the parking authority may collect unpaid parking citations, court judgments or towing/storage fees due from the amount of the individualís income tax refund(s).

The customer receives a Notice of Refund Offset from DOR explaining that their refund was applied to their debt. It also says that the authority may not get the money for a month or more. After the authority receives payment, the usual seven to 10 day period applies to remove the TV&RP suspension and/or refusal.

For more information, call DORís Central Collections Section at (608) 266-7879, option 1.

How will I know when my registration is reinstated?

Please visit Request incidents that prevent you from obtaining a DMV product to obtain current information regarding your eligibility status to obtain vehicle and/or driver related products. You will need the following items to inquire about any restrictions (incidents) through this online system:

  • If available, your Wisconsin driver license number or Wisconsin identification card number, the last four digits of your social security number, and date of birth.
  • If you do not know your driver license or identification card number, you will need to enter your proper name including first, last and middle initial, your complete social security number, and date of birth.
Questions? Contact us: Wisconsin DMV email service
Call: (414) 266-1000 or (608) 267-9791

For more information:

Last modified: October 7, 2011

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