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Court Appearances, Arraignments & Trials

If you will be appearing in court please adhere to the following:

  •  Arrive early.
  • 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.
  • Be polite and courteous to all court personnel and those around you.
  • All electronic devices, including cellular phones and pagers, must be turned off.
  • Recording equipment and cameras are not allowed.
  • 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.

Mandatory Appearance

The following violations require a “Mandatory Appearance” before the Judge at arraingment:

Minor in Possession of AlcoholORS 471.430
Providing liquor to person under 21
OR to Intoxicated Person; Allowing
consumption by minor on property.
ORS 471.410
No Motorcycle EndorsementORS 807.010
Speeding 100 MPH or moreORS 811.109(5)
Careless DrivingORS 811.135
  

Arraignments

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 No Contest plea in writing, mail, telephone, appearing in perosn or on-line. If you want to contest your citation, you may enter a Not Guilty plea in person, by mail or fax and request a trial. No pleas will be accepted by email. Contact the court prior to your arraignment court date, you may be eligible for a fine reduction. Your fine is due in full when a plea/judgment is entered on your case or you must set-up a payment plan. 

An arraignment date is set at the time you receive your citation; this date/time is listed on your citation usually one month from the date you receive the citation. Arraignments are held on Tuesdays, beginning at 9:00 a.m., 10:30 a.m. or 1:30 p.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. However, you do need to take care of your citation on or before your arraignment date. If you failed to appear you will be found guilty by default and the maximum fine will assest 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 Docket here, 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.

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

At a trial both, you and the law enforcement officer will appear in front of the Judge, to presetnt evidence and testimony in regards to your citation. If you miss a scheduled trial, you will be found guilty by default, the maximum 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.

If you are not able to physically appear at your scheduled trial, you may request to submit your written testimony in lieu of presenting 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 in court.

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 and you may pay at the front window with the clerk.

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.

Appeals

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 the Oregon Revised Statute 138.057. Court staff cannot provide you with legal advice pertaining to the appeal process.

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