Clackamas County Home | Site Navigation

Court Appearances, Arraignments & Trials

If you will be appearing in Court, please:

  • 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 arraignment:

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 person, online, in writing, by mail or telephone. 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, at 9:00 a.m., 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Check your citation for the time you are scheduled to appear. If you fail to appear you will be found guilty by default, the maximum fine will be assessed and your license may be suspended. If your citation indicates that an appearance is MANDATORY, you must appear before the Judge on the date/time listed on your citation.

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. Testimony will be heard on 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, 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 present evidence and testimony in regard to your citation. If you miss a scheduled trial, you will be found guilty by default, the maximum fine imposed, and your driver's license may be 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, 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 officer has the burden of proving the case. The burden of proof for violations is "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 the facts presented and whether the incident happened, more likely than not.

The officer who cited you will appear in person to present the case in 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 pleas by emailing the webmaster or Justice Court; email contacts DO NOT constitute an appearance. You must contact the Court in writing through regular mail, fax, telephone, or appear in person at Court.

Appeals

If you are found Guilty at trial, you may appeal. The appeal process for violations is outlined in Oregon Revised Statute 138.057. Court staff cannot provide you with legal advice regarding the appeal process.

Content provided by Justice Court

Similar topics: court