Traffic and other violations

First appearance/arraignment

Your first court appearance date, also called arraignment, is set by the citing officer at the time you receive your citation. Check the citation for your appearance date and time.

Unless your citation requires a mandatory court appearance before the judge, you can choose to enter a No Contest or Not Guilty plea prior to the court appearance date, as follows:

  • Enter a No Contest plea in person, online, by mail or telephone.
  • Call a court clerk. You may be eligible for a fine reduction.
  • Your fine is due in full when the plea is entered in your case, or you must set up a payment plan in person. The court accepts payments by cash, money order, check, Visa, Mastercard, or Discover.
  • Enter a Not Guilty plea in person, by mail or fax to request a trial. Include your day time telephone number and current address.

For traffic and other violations, a plea may be submitted to the court by mail prior to the first court appearance arraignment date listed on the citation. Select an option from the list of choices on your citation, sign and date it, and include a current address and telephone number where you can be contacted. Mail your filled out citation to the court so it is received before the first court appearance arraignment date listed on the citation. If your plea is No Contest, pay your fine by enclosing a check or money order. Please do not send cash.

You may appear in person on your first court appearance date and time to enter your No Contest plea at the clerk window or before the judge in the courtroom. After a No Contest plea, you can give an explanation of the violation to the Judge. You may enter a plea of Not Guilty in the courtroom, and the judge will explain the trial procedures. The citing officer will not be present until trial when testimony will be heard by the judge.

If you are unable to appear on the date and time set on your citation, you must contact a clerk before your court date to change your appearance date or time.

If you fail to appear on the date and time set on your citation, you will be found guilty by default. A fine will be assessed. Your driving privileges may be suspended and the money judgment referred to collections. Contact a clerk for instructions on how to resolve your case. The court offers a driver's license reinstatement program if your driving privileges are suspended.

You cannot file paperwork or enter a plea by emailing Justice Court or the webmaster. Email contacts do not constitute an appearance. You must contact the court in writing through regular mail, fax, telephone, or appear in person.

Mandatory Court Appearance

The following violations require a mandatory court appearance before the Judge on the first court appearance date and time listed on your citation:

Minor in Possession of Alcohol ORS 471.430
Providing liquor to person under 21;
Providing liquor to Intoxicated Person;
Allowing consumption by minor on property
ORS 471.410
Minor in Possession of Marijuana ORS 475B.316
Speeding 100 mph or more ORS 811.109(5)
Fish and Wildlife violation (2nd offense) ORS 498.002

Can I Take a Class?

The court does not offer classes to dismiss a violation citation.

In addition to a fine imposed upon conviction, the judge may require you to attend an education class.

What Happens at Trial?

A trial is a hearing where you are contesting whether the violation occurred. The citing officer will present the case to the court. You may ask the officer questions, present your own case or retain an attorney to present your case for you.

The officer has the burden of proving the case by a preponderance of the evidence meaning more likely than not the violation occurred. There is no guilty mental state for violations, so the officer is not required to prove that you had a guilty mental state nor that you were acting intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence at the time of the violation. At the conclusion of the presentations, the judge will enter 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. The fine is due and payable at the court window.

Trial by Declaration

If you enter a Not Guilty plea, the court will set a trial date. If you are unable to appear in person at your scheduled trial, you may submit your written testimony by declaration.

You must:

  • Enter a Not Guilty Plea
  • Let the court know you want your case set for a Trial by Declaration
  • Fill out the required Testimony by Declaration form available online, at the court office, or by mail upon request. The declaration must be received by the trial date and time in order for the judge to review and consider your written statement as your appearance at trial.
  • Return all forms to the court by the trial date at Clackamas County Justice Court, 11750 S.E. 82nd Ave, Suite D, Happy Valley, OR 97086 map.

Testimony by Declaration
On this form, state the facts of the violation just as you would tell the judge if you appeared in person. The judge will consider this information to be your written testimony and will give it the same consideration as a personal appearance. If you want a witness to provide written testimony, submit the witness declaration to the court. If you choose to appear by declaration, you will be informed of the judge's decision by mail after the trial date. If you attach additional pages to the declaration, please check the box by your signature and enter the number of pages attached.

If you do not submit your declaration by the trial date and time, a default judgment will be entered against you. You will be convicted and a fine will be due.

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.