I Received a Traffic Ticket, Now What Do I Do?
How do you wish to plead on the citation?
Guilty: Guilty means that you admit to having done what you are charged with. It is likely that you will be sentenced immediately. The judge may take into consideration your prior driving record and any explanation you wish to give. Any determination of fines and assessments will be made by the judge at that time.
No Contest: By pleading no contest you do not admit guilt and therefore no one can use that plea against you in any subsequent trial or hearing whether it is criminal or civil in nature. In a no contest plea you admit that the allegations contained in the complaint or citation are true, but only for the purpose of this hearing. If the judge accepts your plea of no contest and there are sufficient allegations contained in the citation, you will be found guilty. The judge may take into consideration your prior driving record, the officer’s written report, and any explanation you wish to give. Any determination of fines and assessments will be made by the judge at that time.
Not Guilty: Not guilty means you deny having done one or more of the elements contained in the offense or that you have a justifiable excuse for doing what you have done. If you plead not guilty the matter will be set for trial at some date in the future. You may enter a not guilty plea in writing by appearing at the Court prior to your court date and submitting a written notice to the court clerk.
Advice of Rights for a Court Trial
You have been cited for a violation not a crime. Your rights are similar, but not identical, to those in a criminal case.
Your case will be tried before the Court not a jury. Since this is not a crime, you do not have the right to a jury trial. You may be represented by an attorney, but you will have to pay the expense. The City will not provide an attorney. If you have an attorney, the City Prosecutor will present the City’s case. You must inform the City at least 7 days prior to trial if you will be represented by an attorney. If you do not have an attorney, the police officer will present the City’s case and you will present your case. (Many people choose to represent themselves in these types of matters.)
- You have the right to remain silent at the trial. The burden is on the City to prove the violation by a preponderance of the evidence.
- You have the right to confront and cross examine the police officer and any witnesses called by the City.
- You have the right to subpoena witnesses through the clerk to testify on your behalf. All evidence must be presented at the time of your trial. Any requests for issuance of subpoenas must include the witness’ name, telephone number and residence address, and must be received by the Court not less than seven (7) days before your scheduled trial.
If your case involved an accident, there may be written police reports which you may obtain at the Police Department at least 14 days prior to trial. There is a fee for photocopying. In the majority of traffic cases there are not written reports available.
If you are found guilty, you have the right to appeal to the Oregon Court of Appeals within 30 days of your conviction. You may wish to consult with an attorney regarding the proper procedure for filing an appeal with the Court of Appeals.
Do you prefer to handle the matter by mail?
You can send the full fine amount and a letter of explanation. The full payment will be receipted and the letter given to the judge. The judge will review the letter and will determine if a reduction will be applied and refunded to you. This can be done by signing the back of the citation at Option 2 and mailing a letter along with a check or money order. The plea and payment must be received no later than the day before the appearance date stated on the citation.
Would you prefer to handle the matter online?
If you plan to enter a guilty plea and pay your fine in full, you may do so online by going to www.st-helenstix.com and entering your personal and citation information as well as your credit card information. This must be done prior to your scheduled court appearance in order to avoid a guilty by default conviction and imposition of the maximum allowable fine.