Fight Traffic Ticket in Oregon
Were you recently issued a traffic citation in Oregon and do you have the means to prove your innocence? If so, take a look through this guide to find out how you can fight your OR traffic ticket in court.
Plead Not Guilty to Your OR Citation
To start fighting your OR traffic ticket, you'll need to plead “not guilty" to the court in charge of your case. Depending on the Oregon county where you received the citation, the methods for submitting your plea may differ.
You'll always have the option of going to court on the arraignment date printed on your ticket to plead “not guilty" in person. However, the court might also allow you to plead “not guilty" by:
Once you plead not guilty to your traffic charge(s), the court will assign you a date to return for your pretrial hearing OR trial before a judge.
If you miss a court date, you could face consequences like:
- Driver license suspension.
- Warrant for your arrest.
So, if you need to reschedule a court date or still have questions about pleading not guilty, contact the Oregon court that's handling your case.
What It Means to Plead Not Guilty
When you plead not guilty, you're exercising your right to argue your innocence before an Oregon judge.
Prior to pleading not guilty, be sure you:
- Can devote the necessary time to appearing in court, possibly on multiple occasions.
- Are aware that you could face jail time as a result of a conviction.
- Know how points added to your driving record can affect your driving privileges.
Fight Your Oregon Ticket in Court
The process for fighting your Oregon traffic ticket in court could include the following:
- Pre-trial hearing.
- Trial before a judge.
Consider hiring a traffic ticket attorney BEFORE you appear in court. In Oregon, the court will not appoint you counsel for traffic violation cases, regardless of your financial status.
If you represent yourself, you'll be expected to follow all procedures of Oregon traffic court correctly.
At your pre-trial hearing, an Oregon state prosecutor and yourself (or your lawyer) will meet to try to negotiate a pre-trial settlement, which prevents you from going to trial before a judge. A pre-trial settlement will typically include:
- Changing your plea to "guilty".
- Lighter penalties for your traffic charges.
If you can't reach a pre-trial settlement, the court will assign you a date and time to return for trial before an Oregon traffic court judge.
Even though you can avoid the hassles of having to go to trial, accepting a pre-trial settlement can drive up your insurance rates! Make sure you're fully informed on how pleading “guilty" to a traffic citation can affect your auto insurance payments.
Trial Before a Judge
If you end up having to go to trial, the process for fighting your ticket before a judge will generally follow these steps:
- The OR state prosecution and you (or your attorney) present opening arguments.
- Both sides have the opportunity to present:
- Cross-examination of witnesses.
- Each side presents closing arguments.
- Judge's verdict.
- If you're found guilty, the judge will then issue your sentence.
File an Appeal
If you're found guilty of the traffic charges you were originally contesting, you still have the opportunity to file an appeal of the judge's verdict.
To do so, submit a Notice of Appeal to the Oregon Court of Appeals within 30 days of your traffic conviction.
Outcomes of Contesting Your Ticket
Depending on the judge's verdict, the outcomes of fighting your Oregon traffic ticket can have long-lasting positive AND negative effects.
If the OR judge finds you guilty of your traffic violation, you could face any of the following punishments:
- In general, you'll have to pay all fines on the day you're found guilty. Some courts may allow for payment plans if you can prove indigence.
- License suspension.
- Additional points on your driving record.
- Community service.
- Jail time.
NOTE: All commercial drivers are required by federal law to notify their employer of ANY traffic violations within 30 days of conviction. This does not include parking violations.
Did you know, completing traffic school in Oregon could help dismiss your ticket and REDUCE the amount your car insurance rates increase? To take advantage of this, you must plead no contest to your traffic charges.
Learn more at our Oregon traffic school guide.
Not Guilty Verdict
If the judge finds you not guilty of the traffic violation(s), you'll look forward to:
- The ticket and all charges being dismissed.
- No fines or penalties.
- Insurance rates won't increase.
- No additional points on your record.
After receiving your verdict, make sure to check the accuracy of your driving record. Erroneous information could result in unnecessary costs, penalties, and stress.