Court Appearances, Arraignments & Trials
If you will be appearing in court please adhere to the following:
- Arrive early.
- Be polite and courteous to all court personnel and those around you.
- All electronic devices, including cellular phones and pagers, must be muted or turned off.
- Recording equipment is not allowed.
- Suitable attire is required: Shoes and shirts must be worn. No shorts, tank tops, or excessively soiled, damaged, or ill-fitting clothing is allowed in the courtroom.
- Remove hats upon entering the courtroom.
- No smoking, food, drink, or gum is allowed in the courtroom.
- Children may be present in the courtroom so long as the child is quiet. The Court does not provide child care services.
- Weapons are strictly prohibited in the courtroom and the building.
Violations are offenses that are punishable by a fine, but that are not punishable by a term of imprisonment. The Clackamas County Justice Court has adopted the State Presumptive Fine Schedule.
The following violations require a “Mandatory Appearance” before the Judge:
|Minor in Posession of Alcohol||ORS 471.430|
|Posession of Less Than One Ounce of Marijuana||ORS 475.864|
|Providing liquor to person under 21 |
OR to Intoxicated Person; Allowing
consumption by minor on property.
|NO MOTORCYCLE ENDORSEMENT||ORS 807.010|
|SPEEDING 100 mph or more||ORS 811.109(5)|
|CARELESS DRIVING||ORS 811.135|
An arraignment allows you the opportunity to appear in person before the judge to enter your plea in Court. At any time PRIOR to your arraignment date, you may enter your plea in writing (by mail or by fax), over the telephone, by appearing in person or on-line. No pleas will be accepted by email. The Judge will set a fine on the charges when you have entered a No Contest plea. Your fine is due in full when a plea/judgment is entered on your case. Court clerks, by means of an order from the Judge, can reduce your fine by the same amount as the Judge.
An arraignment date is set at the time you receive your citation; this date/time is listed on your citation (it is usually one month from the date you receive the citation, depending on the agency who issued the citation). Arraignments are held on Tuesdays, beginning at 9:00 a.m. Check your citation for the time you are scheduled to appear. If your citation indicates that an appearance is MANDATORY, you must appear before the Judge on the date/time listed on your citation. You do not need to speak directly with the Judge unless your citation indicates a mandatory appearance. However, you do need to take care of your citation on or before your arraignment date or you will be found Guilty by Default and the max fine will be added and your license may be suspended.
If you want to appear before the Judge or your appearance is mandatory, and you are unable to appear at the listed time, you must contact a clerk in advance to change your appearance time. Please see Court Hours for a list of arraignment times.
If you enter a plea of Not Guilty, your case will be set for trial and no testimony will be heard on your case until your trial date when the citing officer is present (see below for more information).
Can I take a class?
The Clackamas County Justice Court does not offer classes in lieu of conviction. However, based on your driving record or the violation you were cited for, the Judge may require you to attend a traffic safety education class as part of your conviction. In these instances, you will be referred to U-TURN 180 to schedule your class.
Trials and arraignments are two different things. The Judge is not allowed to hear testimony on a case scheduled for trial without both sides being present.
There is no grace period for a trial. If you miss a scheduled trial, you will be found guilty by default, the max fine imposed, and your license may be immediately suspended. If there are extenuating circumstances that arise prior to the scheduled trial date, contact the court immediately in writing. It is possible that a one-time postponement may be granted, but is at the Judge's discretion. Law enforcement officers are scheduled for multiple trials at the same time.
If you are not able to physically appear at your scheduled trial, you may request to submit your written testimony in lieu of submitting your testimony orally. Your testimony by affidavit must be received by the trial date and time and must be notarized in order for the Judge to consider the written statement as your appearance.
What happens at Trial?
The Judge will explain that the burden of proving the case is on the officer. The burden of proof for violations is called preponderance of the evidence, the lowest burden of proof in law. It means that the officer is required to prove “more likely than not” the offense occurred. The officer is not required to prove a guilty mental state, such as, intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence. The decision will be based on whether the incident happened, more likely than not.
The officer that cited you will be present to present the case to the court. After the officer presents the case, you will be able to ask the officer questions, then present your case. The officer may have questions for you. Following your presentation, the officer is allowed to present rebuttal evidence or testimony. If there is rebuttal evidence, you can ask questions. At the conclusion of the presentations, there will be a finding of either Not Guilty or Guilty. If the finding is Not Guilty, the citation is dismissed. If the finding is Guilty, a fine is imposed.
You CANNOT file paperwork or make pleas by emailing to the webmaster or Justice Court; these types of contacts DO NOT constitute an appearance by a defendant OR a written explanation. You must contact the Court in writing through standard mail, fax, phone, or appear in Court.
If you do not agree with the Judge’s ruling at your trial, you have the right to file an appeal with the Clackamas County Circuit Court. The appeal process for a violation is outlined in Oregon Revised Statute 138.057. Court staff cannot provide you with legal advice pertaining to the appeal process.