Frequently Asked Questions

Will my traffic ticket fine be reduced?
Fines are set by the Legislature, which has established a minimum and a maximum fine for each category of ticket. The "presumptive fine" amount on a ticket is the "presumptive fine" amount. The court may choose to reduce fine if you have a clean driving record, depending on the circumstances.
How can I pay for the citation?
You can pay the fine by cash, check, debit or credit card, or a payment plan.
Do I have to pay all of the fine now?
No. You can sign up for a payment contract. There may be a finance charge for the fine payment plan, which is also called a promissory note. If you do not make your payments according to your plan, the court can ask the DMV to suspend your driving privileges, and can also send the account to a collection agency. Additional fees are added to the account if these actions occur.
What happens at a trial?
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 can get a subpoena from the court to compel witnesses to appear in court. You may also testify, but you are not required to. You have a Constitutional right not to testify. 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 the a decision adverse to you to the Circuit Court.
Is there another option besides in court for a trial?
You can have a "trial by affidavit," where you submit written sworn testimony under oath to the judge. ORS 153.080. The testimony must be in the form of an affidavit, and your signature must be notarized. The judge reads your affidavit at trial and makes a decision. A witness can also submit a written affidavit. To request a trial by affidavit, enter a not guilty plea and ask for a trial by affidavit. In this process, you give up your right to ask the officer questions.
Can I change my court date?
If you call the court before your court date, you can change your court date to another time.
Will the citation appear on my traffic record?
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 qualify for and attend traffic school, the citation will be dismissed and not appear on your driving record. To qualify for traffic school, you must have no other moving violations or traffic crimes within the past two years, the citation must not have resulted in a collision, and you must not have previously participated in a traffic school program. To attend traffic school, you must first plead guilty, and guilty plea will be deferred for 90 days to allow you time to complete the traffic school. If you fail to complete the traffic school, the guilty plea will be entered by the court and the conviction will appear on your driving record. The typical price of the class is $50.00, which is in addition to the court diversion fee.
Can I change my ticket to another court?
No. You have to have the ticket decided in the court in which you were cited to appear.
What if I don't pay the ticket or show up in court?
The court will find you guilty by default and the base fine will be imposed. If you do not pay that fine, the court will have the DMV suspend your driving privileges and may send the account to a collection agency. Additional fees will be imposed. You will not get your license released until the fine amounts are paid in full and you pay a reinstatement fee to the DMV.
How do I get legal advice or help with a trial?
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.
I live in another state. Will anything happen to me if I don't pay or appear?
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.
Can I get a court appointed lawyer?
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.
I received a DMV notice stating my license will be suspended. What do I do?
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.
What if it is a financial hardship on my household to pay fines imposed?
Your Ability to Pay Fines
  • You have a right to have the court determine your ability to pay fine amounts.
  • There is a 2 page form listing your household income and expenses to fill out.
  • You can request an individual hearing on your financial condition after filling out the detailed income and expense form.
  • You can request Community Service ($50 set up fee; $15/hr. credit), or to have payment amounts lowered or extended.