Justice Court FAQ

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 the fine amount upon request 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 four percent (4%) of the payment amount is added to all credit/debit transactions. Check payments cannot be processed over the phone. The Court does not recommend sending cash through the US mail.  Payments may be mailed or placed in the red dropbox located at the north end of the front sidewalk.

No. You can request a payment plan.  Persons requesting a payment plan are encouraged to describe any individual circumstances that they would like the Court to consider related to their ability to pay.

You can request a trial by affidavit or declaration. 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 or declaration 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.  Please see the Covid-19 update.

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 enroll in and successfully complete the Traffic Diversion Program, the citation will be dismissed and not appear on your driving record.

No. Under Oregon law, you are required to have the ticket decided in the court in which you were cited to appear.

If you do not make a first appearance, the court will find you guilty by default and the presumptive fine will be imposed. If you do not pay that fine, the Court has the authority to initiate the suspension of your driving privilege; therefore, it is important that you work with the Court to maintain compliance and keep the Court aware of any change in your mailing address.

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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