Justice Court F.A.Q.

Fines are set by the Oregon state Legislature, which has established a minimum and a maximum fine for each category of ticket. The court may choose to reduce depending on your individual circumstances.

You can pay the fine by cash, check, debit or credit card, or a payment plan. A processing fee equal to five percent (5%) of the payment amount is added to all credit/debit transactions. Check payments cannot be processed over the phone. Please do not mail cash.

No. You can request a payment plan. There is a one-time $25 charge 90 days after the effective date of the payment plan. If you do not make your payments according to your plan, the Court will refer your driving privilege to the DMV for suspension. Any fine reduction previously granted would then be added back to your original bail amount, additional fees would be applied, and your account would be referred to a collection agency.

You can request a trial by affidavit. You and the officer would be required to submit written sworn testimony in the form of an affidavit. Witnesses may also submit affidavits. The judge reads the affidavits and makes a decision. To request a trial by affidavit, enter a not guilty plea and ask for a trial by affidavit (by initialing next to option 4 on your summons and sending it to the Court). Your entry of plea and request for trial by affidavit must be received by the Court no later than the appearance date set on your summons. In this process, you give up your right to ask the officer questions.

The officer has the burden of proof by a preponderance of the evidence. Preponderance of the evidence means the greater weight of evidence. It is evidence that has more convincing force when weighed against the opposing evidence. The officer testifies first and tells the judge the circumstances involved in the alleged violation. You can then ask the officer questions about the officer’s testimony. If the officer has other witnesses, you can question those witnesses. You can have your own witnesses testify. You may also testify, but you are not required to. If you testify, the officer and the judge can ask you questions. At the end of the trial, the judge decides what the facts are and applies the law to the facts. If the judge decides you are not guilty, the judge will dismiss the ticket. If the judge believes that the violation has been proved by a preponderance of the evidence the judge will impose a fine. You can make payment arrangements to pay the fine. You have a right to appeal a decision adverse to you to the Circuit Court.

If you contact the court before your court date, the Court will typically allow a one-time, two-week continuance for entry of plea.  Instructions for rescheduling a trial are included in the Order Setting Hearing.

If you are convicted of a traffic violation, the court is required to inform the Oregon DMV, and the DMV will put the conviction on your driving record. If you live outside of Oregon, the Oregon DMV will send the information to your home state. If you qualify for and attend traffic school, the citation will be dismissed and not appear on your driving record.

No. You have to have the ticket decided in the court in which you were cited to appear.

The court will find you guilty by default and the base fine will be imposed. If you do not pay that fine, the court will have the DMV suspend your driving privileges and may send the account to a collection agency. Additional fees will be imposed. You will not get your license released until the fine amounts are paid in full and you pay a reinstatement fee to the DMV.

The court cannot give legal advice. You may wish to consult your own attorney. If you have questions or need legal advice, you may need to consult with legal counsel of your own choice. If you do not have an attorney, you may contact the Oregon State Bar Referral Service at 1 (800) 452-7636.

Yes, as the license suspension action is honored by other states and by provinces in Canada. A collection agency will seek to enforce the debt in all states and in Canada. Other states will also put the conviction in your case on your driving record in your home state. (Of note, some pre-paid legal services will provide attorneys to appear on your behalf in out-of-area cases.)

No. Tickets in Justice Court are violations and not crimes. As there is no possible penalty of jail time, you will not get a court-appointed lawyer and you are not entitled to a jury trial.

Your license can be suspended for many reasons. Your local DMV is the best place to start, where you can request information on the pending suspension. If your suspension is due to outstanding fines in this court, you should contact us for your options.

Mitigation may take the form of a reduction in the presumptive fine, the ability to make incremental payments, or any other requests a defendant may have of the Court.

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