Fight Traffic Ticket in Oregon
To fight your OR traffic ticket, you'll need to submit a "not guilty" plea to the appropriate district court and schedule a trial date.
For specific instructions, refer to your OR traffic ticket or contact the appropriate court.
Unless your ticket states you must appear in court, you probably can plead "guilty" or "no contest" and pay your ticket without stepping foot in the courthouse.
Alternatively, you can plead "not guilty" and fight your charges.
(Plead Guilty or No Contest)
- Pay the fine; online if applicable.
- Suffer violation-related penalties (sometimes license suspension or revocation.
- Experience auto insurance rates increase.
- Possibly enroll in the Driver Improvement Program for ticket dismissal.
Learn more about
Paying your Traffic Ticket »
(Plead Not Guilty)
- Enter a not guilty plea.
- Prepare for your hearing, possibly with help from a traffic ticket attorney.
- Suffer no penalties if found not guilty (except applicable court/attorney fees).
- Appeal the guilty verdict (if applicable).
To fight your Oregon traffic ticket, you must:
- Appear in court on your arraignment date to enter a "not guilty" plea.
- Receive your traffic ticket hearing date.
- Prepare and plead your case (some drivers hire traffic ticket lawyers for help).
- Receive your verdict.
If your judge finds you " guilty," you can either:
- Deal with the applicable fines and penalties.
- Appeal the verdict (see below).
Pleading Guilty or No Contest
You might find it more convenient to plead "guilty" OR "no contest" and pay your Oregon traffic ticket. Some courts allow online payments, and many allow payments by mail or by phone.
Visit Paying Your Traffic Ticket for more information about this option.
Avoid Additional Charges
Failure to appear in court or pay your fine on time results in a driver's license suspension; sometimes, courts even send the information to collection agencies and issue arrest warrants. Depending on the nature of your traffic violation, you could also face a default "guilty" judgment and be ordered to pay even heftier fines.
NOTE: Most courts will work with you if you can't pay the entire fine all at once. Talk with your Oregon court's clerk about scheduling a payment schedule.
Determine Where to Plead
Numerous courts handle traffic tickets in Oregon. You might go before a Municipal Court, Justice Court, or even Circuit Court.
Check your traffic ticket for the section that lists all the possible courts. You'll plead "not guilty" at the court the officer checked on the traffic ticket.
Inform the Court
There should be a hearing date on your Oregon citation. This is called the arraignment date. You must appear in court on this date to enter your "not guilty" plea. You'll then receive a date for your traffic ticket hearing where you'll be able to fight your charge.
NOTE: Some courts allow you to plead "not guilty" by mail or in person at the clerk's office. Check your Oregon traffic ticket for this information.
Rescheduling or Postponing Your Hearing
Contact your court as soon as you realize you can't make your arraignment date or your traffic ticket hearing date.
Refer to your traffic citation for the court's contact details or visit the Oregon Judicial Department's Court Registry website.
Oregon will not provide you with a court-appointed lawyer, but you can hire your own.
It's a good idea to hire a traffic ticket lawyer if:
- You need help preparing and presenting your case, or gathering evidence and subpoenaing witnesses.
- You're open to negotiating a plea agreement.
- You're facing serious charges, such as a DUI or anything involving a felony.
An attorney also can help you reschedule your hearing and appeal a "guilty" verdict.
As you prepare for your case, keep these tips in mind:
- Unless your lawyer is speaking for you, practice your testimony.
- Consider evidence and witnesses that can help prove your innocence or that the violation was unavoidable.
- Consider plea agreements to lesser charges with lesser penalties.
Overall, traffic ticket hearings in Oregon are simple. Expect time for:
- Opening statements.
- Testimony, evidence, and witnesses from both sides.
- Questioning and cross examining.
- Closing statements.
- A judgment.
You're not responsible for any traffic ticket fines or other penalties if your judge finds you "not guilty;" if he finds you "guilty," however, you must either handle your ticket fines and penalties or file an appeal (see below).
There are a couple types of traffic ticket offenses: violations and crimes.
Typically, violations follow the simple hearing process outline above; crimes, on the other hand, often require a third court appearance (a pre-trial hearing in between the arraignment and the actual hearing) and sometimes allow for juries.
Check your OR traffic citation for information about your offense, and contact your court with any questions.
Filing an Ticket Appeal in Oregon
You can file an appeal if you want to fight a "guilty" verdict. Oregon recommends consulting with a traffic ticket lawyer as the appeals process can be complicated and often costs more than the fine itself.
Although Oregon doesn't use a point system, the state still tracks and records your traffic violations.
When you order your OR driving record, you can make sure only the applicable convictions appear, as well as get a look at what potential employers and auto insurance providers will see if they take a look.
Shop for Better Auto Insurance Rates
Usually, a "guilty" verdict results in higher auto insurance rates the next time you renew your policy.
You can combat these higher rates by shopping for lower rates now.
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