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                                            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 "bail" amount on a ticket is the "presumptive fine".   The court will only impose the minimum fine if you have a clean driving record.  The fine will not be reduced below the "presumptive fine" if you do not have a clean driving record. If you do not live in Oregon, you will need to provide the Court with a copy of your driving record in your home state, which is available from your DMV.  Please let the Court know you are engaged in that process before your court date. 

Do I have to pay all of the fine now? No. You can sign up for a payment contract.  There is 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 payment 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 either of these actions occur. 

What do I do if I don't think the officer was right to give me a ticket?  You need to read the back of your ticket, and sign the appropriate box (Not Guilty).  Mail that to the clerk, and then a trial will be scheduled (or, if you choose Option 4, a trial by affidavit (mail).)   The court has very limited authority to simply dismiss the ticket.  The only exceptions are if you have a ticket for not having a driver's license and you then obtained a license, you fixed your mud flap or fender problem, or if you have proof you had insurance at the time the officer gave you the ticket.  The court needs some proof of these events.  

What happens at a trial?  The officer has the burden of proof.  The officer testifies first and tells the judge why the officer wrote the ticket.   You can then ask the officer questions about the officer's testimony and the reasons the officer wrote the ticket.  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 compelling your witness to be in court.  You can testify, too, but 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, more likely than not, that the violation occurred, the judge will find you guilty and impose a fine.  You can make payment arrangements to pay the fine.  You can appeal the judge's decision to the Circuit Court for a brand new trial.

Is there another option besides a trial in court?  You can have a "trial by affidavit", where both you and the officer submit testimony to the judge in writing.  The judge then reads both statements and writes a letter with the judge's decision.   A witness can also submit a written statement.  The clerk will send you a form for this process, once you 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.

Do you have traffic school or diversion? No. We don't have those options. 

Can I change my court date? If you call the court before your court date, you can change your court date to another time.  We have court Tuesdays and Thursdays at 8:45 and 10 a.m. 

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.

Do you have Spanish court?  Yes, usually the first Tuesday of each month at 4 p.m. Judge Denise Harrington conducts the court in Spanish.  We have a Spanish speaking bailiff and clerk.  Oregon DMV Contenido en Español

What if I don't pay the ticket or show up in court?  The court will find you guilty by default and the presumptive fine (The dollar amount on your ticket) will be imposed as the fine.  If you don't pay that fine, the court will ask the DMV to suspend your driving privileges and may send the account to a collection agency.  Additional fees will be imposed.   You won't get your license "unsuspended" until the account is paid in full.

    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.   The collection agency will seek to enforce the debt in all states and in Canada as well as other countries.   Other states' DMVs 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 penalty of jail time, you don't get a court appointed lawyer.  You can hire your own lawyer.  Then, the District Attorney will represent the police officer at trial.  The Oregon State Bar offers reduced fee legal advice services.

What are the penalties for marijuana?   In terms of Oregon state law, voters partially legalized possession of marijuana. Justice Court has jurisdiction over Minor in Possession of Marijuana (ages 18-20) and Public Use of Marijuana. Both violations have a presumptive fine of $260,  and a six month driver's license suspension.. Marijuana Tickets

What do I need to do to get my license back after an MIP or Marijuana conviction? A license suspension for Minor in Possession of Alcohol is one year, and six months for Marijuana.  After 90 days, you can petition the court in writing to regain your driving privileges.  You need to attend a local DUII Victim Impact Panel, and write a five page letter to the Judge about what you learned.  The court clerk has information on the class.

What do I need for a wedding at the courthouse?  You will need a marriage license issued by a county clerk in Oregon.  There is normally a three day waiting period, but the county clerk may waive that time.  You also need to bring two adult witnesses (age 18 or older).  You are welcome to take pictures, and bring flowers, friends, and relatives.   Please call the court clerk to schedule a time for your wedding. (503) 842.3416.  Tillamook County Clerk.




This page last updated on Wednesday, April 27, 2016 02:11 PM

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