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Unless a crime has been committed or there is an ongoing public nuisance, the City cannot use its police power to resolve a neighborhood dispute. However, as a service to residents, the City offers free mediation for neighbors who want to try to resolve their differences. Click here for more information.
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No. City attorneys represent West Allis as a municipal corporation and cannot give legal advice to any individual. Find out more about the Role of a City Attorney (link).
If you wish to make a claim for damages against the city, you might have to file a claim for damages first. Before pursuing any legal action, it's not a bad idea to talk to a private attorney who can assist you.
Claims process (link)
Yes, there are a number of ways to do that.
First, double check that your citation lists the West Allis Municipal Court, 11301 W. Lincoln Avenue. Several courts use the same format for citations and the county or state could be handling your case even if the incident happened in West Allis.
Second, make sure you've got things handled with the municipal judge. You will need to contact the judge by entering a plea. If you plead guilty or no contest, the judge will likely resolve the case and determine the outcome. The prosecutor can handle your case only if you plead "not guilty" to your municipal citation.
If you have pleaded "not guilty" already and wish to discuss your case with the city prosecutor, here are the ways for you to do that:
The primary difference is that a city attorney is more like a corporate attorney who does some non-criminal prosecution and a district attorney is a criminal prosecutor who focuses almost exclusively on that work.
A city attorney is the lawyer who represents a city as a corporation in a wide variety of matters. While some city attorneys prosecute cases in court, those cases are non-criminal and only a portion of the city attorney's responsibilities. Some city attorneys are full-time employees and others are retained through private law firms, but each city pays for its own attorney regardless of whether the person is an employee or retained counsel. By statute, city attorneys handle all the "law business" of their cities, so much of what a city attorney does is not necessarily listed in a statute. Every city should have at least a part-time city attorney, but some larger cities may have full-time deputy and assistant city attorneys as well (for example, West Allis has 4 attorneys). A city attorney only focuses on that city.
A district attorney is a criminal prosecutor who primarily handles the charging and prosecution of crimes that occur within that district attorney's county. Each county in the state has its own elected district attorney with the exception of a shared office between Menominee and Shawano County. A district attorney can also hire deputy and assistant attorneys, but the state employs all district attorneys, deputies, and assistants instead of the county in which they work (with a few exceptions for special prosecutors). The district attorney has very specialized duties laid out in state law and is responsible for all municipalities in the district attorney's county.
Click here to visit the Milwaukee County District Attorney's website.
The primary difference is that a circuit court handles a wide variety of legal claims made under state law and a municipal court only handles prosecution of local ordinance violations.
Municipal courts only hear cases in which a city alleges that an individual violated an ordinance. The primary penalty is a forfeiture, which is just the legal word for a money payment. Although a municipal judge can order a defendant to serve time in jail for non-payment of a forfeiture, that judge cannot directly order jail time as a penalty. A municipal court only exists when a city creates one and operates under the rules found in Chapter 800 of the Wisconsin Statutes.
Circuit courts hear state claims on a wide variety of topics, including contracts, real estate, probate, and criminal cases. Circuit court judges can order money judgments, fines, jail or prison time, probation, injunctions, and other types of remedies. Circuit courts exist by the law in our state constitution and the rules are found in Chapter 753 of the Wisconsin Statutes.
It depends on the kind of dispute.
General Crimes - If you wish to report a crime that has occurred in West Allis, please call the West Allis Police Department at (414) 302-8000.
Condition of the Dwelling - If you are a tenant and your dispute is related to the condition of your residence, you may contact the Code Enforcement Department and provide that information.
Unfair Business Practices - If you are a tenant and you believe your agreement with your landlord is illegal or if your landlord has done something that violates the state rental practices code (PDF), you may contact the state's consumer protection agency by clicking here.
The city may not be able to assist in other types of disputes. However, private mediation may be helpful if the landlord and tenant agree. A company called Mediate Wisconsin specializes in helping to resolve landlord-tenant disputes.