When you receive a citation please read the information on the front and back of the citation very carefully. You have four options available to you when responding to the violation(s) on your citation:
- Appear in court. The time and date you are to appear in the court is on the front of your citation, at the very bottom. This is your scheduled arraignment time. You should arrive 15 minutes prior to your scheduled arraignment time to check in with the court clerk before entering the courtroom. You should also be aware of your rights when appearing before the court.
- Appear at the court clerk's office at any time before your scheduled court time to pay your full fine amount as indicated on the front of your citation. Based on your driving record, and the type of offense, the clerk may or may not be able to assess a fine lower than your full fine amount.
- Enter a plea by written appearance. You may enter the following pleas:
- Guilty - (waives your right to a trial)
- No Contest - (waives your right to a trial)
- Not Guilty- (will result in a trial and you will be notified, by mail, of the trial date)
On the back of your citation, complete the required information for either option 2 or option 3 and mail, or bring, your citation to the court, along with payment of the full fine amount.
When mailing in payment of your fine amount, please make your check or money order payable to the City of Hillsboro, and write your citation number on the payment for reference.
- Trial by Affidavit. Contact the court clerk, before your scheduled court time to see if you qualify for a trial by affidavit under ORS 153.080. If you do qualify, a trial would be based upon sworn, written statements, and future court appearances may not be necessary.
When appearing at the court, one should be prepared to pay the full fine amount listed on the front of the citation. All fines are due at the time of appearance. The court accepts cash, money orders, personal checks, and VISA or MasterCard, over the counter, for payment of fines.
The purpose of an arraignment is to tell the judge/clerk how you wish to proceed with your case.
Arraignments are held Tuesday mornings at:
- 8:30 am
- 10:00 am
The City provides a Spanish interpreter at 10:00 am following the arraignment. You are allowed to re-schedule your arraignment date, one time only, within two weeks of your original court date by calling the court clerks office at 503-681-6157.
You have two options at your arraignment:
- You can plead GUILTY or NO CONTEST. You can offer an explanation to the judge. The judge will consider your explanation, driving record, and the seriousness of the violation in setting your fine amount.
A plea of NO CONTEST under Oregon law results in a guilty finding by the court and the judge will consider any explanation you provide, your driving record, and the seriousness of the violation in setting your fine amount. The benefit to a no contest plea is that you do not have to admit guilt in open court.
- You can plead NOT GUILTY if you wish to contest the charge against you and the court will set a date for your trial . The trial will be scheduled within 2 - 3 weeks of you entering your plea, and the court clerk will notify you, by mail, of the trial date.
REMEMBER: If you do not follow any order of the court, including an order to pay a fine, your driver's license may be suspended and you may be subject to further legal action and costs.
If you have further questions regarding the handling of your traffic citation, parking ticket, or city ordinance violation, please send them to: municipal_court@Hillsboro-Oregon.gov or contact the court clerk's office at 503-681-6157.
Advice of Rights and Court Procedures
You must check in at the court clerk's counter before going into the courtroom. Cases are usually called on a first-come, first-serve basis. Please be seated when you enter the courtroom. Turn off all cell phones and audible pagers. If you are wearing a hat, please remove your hat.
- You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can be used against you.
- You have the right to hire an attorney. The City does not have to provide you with an attorney.
- You have the right to a trial. If you want a trial, you must enter a NOT GUILTY plea. At your trial you have the right to:
- Subpoena witnesses to appear and testify on your behalf,
- Question any witness that testifies against you,
- Remain silent at the trial. The burden is on the City to prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, that you have committed the violation with which you are charged.
When the judge calls your name, please stand between the two tables before the Judge. The judge will ask whether you understand your rights, and read the charges against you. The judge will then ask whether you understand the violation with which you are charged and ask you to enter a plea. You can plea GUILTY, NOT GUILTY or NO CONTEST.
Entry of Plea
- A GUILTY plea means you are admitting to the conduct charged. You may give the judge an explanation. The judge will consider your explanation and driving record in setting your fine.
- A NOT GUILTY plea means you are requesting a trial. If you want a trial, you may inform the court clerk at any time prior, and up to your scheduled court time. There is no need to appear in front of the judge at the time you enter a NOT GUILTY plea.
- A NO CONTEST plea under State law has the same result as a GUILTY plea and means you are not contesting the ticket. You may give the judge an explanation. The judge will consider your explanation and driving record in setting your fine. A NO CONTEST plea allows you to settle the ticket without admitting guilt.
Payment of Fines
After hearing closing arguments, the judge will make a decision (guilty or not guilty) and impose a fine, if appropriate. If a fine is imposed, full payment is due before leaving the court. Please obtain a copy of your ticket from the bailiff and proceed to the cashier at the court clerk's counter. The Hillsboro Municipal Court does allow you to defer payment in some cases, but there is a deferred payment fee. The clerk can tell you if you qualify for a deferred payment plan and the associated fee.
REMEMBER: If you do not follow any order of the court, including an order to pay a fine, your driver's license may be suspended, the unpaid amount may be referred to a collection agency and the court may order the issuance of a warrant for your arrest.
Trials are usually held on THURSDAY afternoons, from 1:30 to 4:00 p.m. Your case will be tried by the court, not a jury. Since this is not a crime you do not have a right to a jury trial.
At a trial, you will appear in the court with the citing officer to present evidence about your case. Evidence can include the testimony from you, the citing officer, any witnesses, and photographs or diagrams.
If you choose to hire an attorney to represent you, your attorney must provide a letter of representation to the court no later than 14 days prior to the trial date. The court will automatically reschedule your trial upon notification that you have retained an attorney. The City will not provide you with an attorney. If you hire an attorney to represent you, the City will have the city attorney present the City's case.
You will present your case to the court if you do not hire an attorney to represent you. The citing officer, not the city attorney, will present the City's case. Many persons choose to represent themselves. Non-attorney trials are informal and typically take 15 minutes or less.
You (the defendant) may ask the court to reschedule your initial trial date, in writing, and not later than forty-eight (48) hours prior to the scheduled time for the trial.
If you request the trial date to be rescheduled, you will be required to pay the full fine amount indicated on the face of the citation before a new trial date is set.
The court clerk will notify all parties involved, by mail, of the rescheduled trial date.
REMEMBER: if you fail to appear at your scheduled court date or fail to pay any fine imposed, various procedures will be implemented to collect unsatisfied judgments. These include, but are not limited to, suspension of your driver's license and referral of the amount unpaid to a collection agency.
If you are found guilty of a traffic offense at your trial you have the right to file an appeal to the state Circuit Court in Hillsboro. Oregon law provides that a judge in that court will treat an appeal "as though the case had been originally filed with the circuit court and shall try the case anew, disregarding any irregularity or imperfection in the proceedings" in the municipal court. Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS) Section 138.057(f).
A written notice of appeal must be filed within 30 days after the date of the decision in the Hillsboro Municipal Court to start the appeal process. There is a $307.00 non-refundable filing fee required by the Circuit Court that must accompany the notice of appeal. (Please note: The non-refundable filing fee is subject to change without notice based on the Oregon Legislature and the Washington County Circuit Court).