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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

General Questions


  1. Can I just talk to a judge?
  2. Where do I take care of a parking ticket?
  3. Can I pay a fine online?
  4. How can I find out who is incarcerated in the state of Oregon?
  5. Where do I go for a birth or death certificate?
  6. Where do I file for bankruptcy?
  7. How can I set aside my conviction?


Civil


  1. How do I get a name change?
  2. How do I evict a tenant?
  3. How do I file a small claim?
  4. How do I get a Restraining Order?

DUII Diversion


  1. What advantages are there to entering the DUII Diversion Program?
  2. What is the DUII Diversion Program?
  3. Do I qualify for the diversion program?
  4. What costs are involved?
  5. When are court costs due?
  6. When and where do I apply for the DUII Diversion Program?
  7. Will I lose my license?
  8. Will the DUII go on my record?
  9. What happens to the diversion a year later?
  10. If I complete my Diversion treatment program, the Victims Impact Panel and pay my fine in full before the one year mark may I apply to have my diversion dismissed?
  11. May I get my evaluation from any evaluator?
  12. Can I do my treatment in anther County?

Traffic


  1. Do I have to appear in person on my court date?
  2. I can't make it for my court date. Can I have an extension?
  3. What are my plea options?
  4. If I plead not guilty, how and when will I be notified of the trial?
  5. If I plead not guilty and the Judge finds me guilty at the trial, will he/she reduce my fine?
  6. I want to plead not guilty, but cannot appear in person for my trial. What can I do?
  7. Can I go to traffic school?
  8. I received a ticket in a highway work zone. Can I get a reduction in my fine?
  9. Can I make payments on my fine?
  10. I am unhappy with the judge's ruling on my case. What can I do?
  11. My license has been suspended because of a ticket I have in your court. How do I get my license back?
  12. It was not me driving the car and I did not receive this ticket. How can I get this off my record?


General Questions


  1. Can I just talk to a judge?
    Generally no. Communicating with a judge about your case or ticket, without the other party present, is called "Ex Parte" contact. Mostly likely your case or ticket does not qualify for "ex-parte" contact with a judge.

    If you have a question regarding how, or if you are able to contact a judge directly, please seek legal advice from an attorney or by contacting the Legal Aid Services of Oregon at:Hillsboro Regional Office (503) 655-7163; (888) 245-4091. Spanish-speaking staff available. Public Benefits Hotline (800) 520-5292; Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.; Wednesday and Friday, 9:00 a.m. to noon. Tenant Hotline (503) 648-7723 (collect calls accepted); Monday and Wednesday, 9:00 a.m. to noon. Child Support Helpline (800) 383-1222; Monday, 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. and Thursday, 9:00 a.m. to noon. Evening intake for employment, consumer, tax: (503) 640-4115; Monday, 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

    Court staff are prohibited from providing legal advice.

  2. Where do I take care of a parking ticket?
    The Circuit Court is a state court and parking tickets are issued by city or municipal courts. You will need to contact the municipal court in the city that issued the ticket. Here are the links to Clatsop County municipal courts.

  3. Can I pay a fine online? 
    Click on the image-link below to pay your fine online.
    ePay Image
  4. How can I find out who is incarcerated in the state of Oregon?
    Vinelink is a free service that allows you to locate any inmate in the Oregon prison system. This is a private company and not affiliated with or officially endorsed by Clatsop County Circuit Court or the Oregon Judicial Department. This link is provided for your convenience, Clatsop County State Courts are not liable for inaccurate or false information.

  5. Where do I go for a birth or death certificate?
    The Center for Health Statistics is responsible for issuing certified copies of vital records, including birth, death, marriage and divorce certificates for events that occurred in Oregon. The office has birth and death records dating from July, 1903; marriage records from 1906 and divorce certificates (not decrees) from 1925.

  6. Where do I file for bankruptcy?
    Bankruptcy is a federal matter and cannot be conducted in state courts. There are Oregon bankruptcy courts located in Portland and Eugene. See the Federal Courts info on bankruptcy page for more information.

  7. How can I set aside my conviction?
    Court staff are not allowed to give legal advice or tell you what forms to fill out and file with the court. To find out how to set aside a conviction or record of an arrest you may:

    1. Contact an attorney.
    2. Read through the Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS), which detail how to set aside a conviction or record of arrest. You can find the ORS on the following: http://www.leg.state.or.us/ors
    3. There is a filing fee due at the time of the filing.

 

Civil


  1. How do I get a name change?
    You can file for a name change at the civil department on the 1st floor of the courthouse. The court does not supply forms for a name change. Forms can be purchased at a stationery store that carries legal forms or an attorney can file a name change for you. Stationery stores sell the forms separately or as a kit which includes all forms needed for a name change and instructions. Forms for a name change of a minor / child are different than for an adult so be sure to select the correct forms. Please review the fee schedule for the name change filing fee.

  2. How do I evict a tenant?
    To file an eviction (FED) with the court you will need both a Complaint form and a Summons form, along with the notice of eviction that was given/served to your tenant(s). Most stationery stores will carry legal forms that you are able to purchase for almost any type of proceeding, or we have interactive forms available online for you to print and use at your own convenience.

  3. How do I file a small claim?
    To file a Small Claim you will need to file a Claim and Notice of Claim Form with the Civil Department. This form and Instructions are available in the Civil Department and on our website. The maximum amount you can file for is $10,000.00. Please Review our fee schedule for the required filing fee.

  4. How do I get a Restraining Order?
    You would need to contact the Family Resource Center to obtain a Restraining Order or Family Abuse Prevention Act (FAPA) packet. There is no charge to obtain or file this packet. Once completed, your petition for the Restraining Order will be filed with the Civil Department and you will be given a court date to meet with a judge.

 

DUII Diversion


  1. What advantages are there to entering the DUII Diversion Program?
    In summary, the DUII Diversion Program affords eligible persons the opportunity to participate in an alcohol/drug evaluation and education/rehabilitation program in lieu of being convicted of DUII. The advantages to entering the program are:

    • Upon completion of the Diversion Program, there is no DUII conviction entered on your driving record.
    • Court costs are considerably lower. The filing fee for participation in the DUII Diversion Program is less than a fine for conviction.
    • Your driver's license will be suspended by the Court if you are convicted of DUII. There is no suspension for participation in the DUII Diversion Program.
    • There is no requirement to serve jail time or perform community service work in the Diversion Program.

  2. What is the DUII Diversion Program?
    The DUII Diversion Program is a legal agreement with the Court that sets aside a guilty or no contest plea and enables the case to be dismissed in one year if all the terms of the Diversion Agreement are satisfied.

  3. Do I qualify for the Diversion Program?
    If you have not been convicted of a DUII or have not participated in a DUII Diversion Program in the past 15 years prior to the current DUII arrest or in any similar drug or alcohol rehabilitation program in any state within the 15 years prior to this arrest, and if you have no other charge of murder, manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, or assault resulting from the operation of a motor vehicle pending in any state on the date you file for diversion, and if this arrest did not involve an accident in which another person was injured, you may be eligible for the DUII Diversion Program.

  4. What costs are involved in the DUII Diversion Program?
    If you decide to participate, you must pay a filing fee to the Court and a $150.00 screening interview fee to an Alcohol and Drug Evaluation Specialist. These costs are required by statute. In addition to the above fees, you must pay the costs of treatment and pay for the Victim Impact Panel Program.

  5. When are court costs due?
    The filing fee is due at the time you file a petition for entry into the DUII Diversion Program. You may set up a payment plan with the Court if you are unable to pay in full at the beginning of the program. The $150.00 evaluation fee must be paid prior to the screening interview unless you make other arrangements with the evaluator. Failure to pay the filing fee in full or when payments are due will result in the termination of your diversion agreement. Failure to pay for the evaluation and/or treatment may result in the termination of your diversion agreement.

  6. When and where do I apply for the DUII Diversion Program?
    Application for the program is made at the court clerk's office on the main floor of the Clatsop County Courthouse, 749 Commercial Street, Astoria, Oregon. When you appear in court for your first appearance, an application will be provided at your request. If you desire, you may come to the clerks' office prior to your scheduled court appearance to apply for the diversion program.

  7. Will I lose my driver's license?
    The court will not suspend your license unless you fail to comply with the Diversion Agreement. Thirty days after your arrest or citation, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will suspend your license if you failed or refused the breath test. You must contact DMV regarding this suspension and any application for a hardship permit. If you are convicted of DUII, your driving privileges will be suspended from one or three years or for your lifetime, depending on your driving record.

  8. Will the DUII go on my record?
    The DUII will be on your driving record as a diversion, not a conviction.

  9. What happens to the DUII Diversion at the end of the one year period?
    If you have successfully completed the alcohol treatment or education program, paid all of the required fees and completed all other requirements of the Diversion Program, the DUII charge will be dismissed by the Court. If you do not complete all the requirements of the Diversion Program, your diversion agreement will be terminated and the case will be set for sentencing. If you fail to appear in court when scheduled, a warrant will be issued for your arrest, your driver's license will be sanctioned and any unpaid fees referred to the Department of Revenue for collection.

  10. If I complete my Diversion treatment program, the Victims Impact Panel and pay my fine in full before the one year mark may I apply to have my diversion dismissed?
    No. The diversion program is for one full year, even if you complete all components of the diversion program.

  11. May I get my evaluation from any evaluator?
    No, the court will assign a Court Certified Evaluator.

  12. Can I do my treatment in another County?
    When you go for your evaluation you may ask the evaluator if he can find an approved program in your area.

 

Traffic


  1. Do I have to appear in person on my court date?
    No. It is not required that you appear in person on your court date. You may mail or telephone in your plea to us if it is more convenient for you. The back of your citation has several options to choose from so that you may handle your citation entirely through the mail or by telephone. Your citation will be handled the same way regardless if you plea in person, by mail, or by phone.

  2. I can't make it for my court date. Can I have an extension?
    You may enter your plea (no contest or not guilty) any time prior to your court date without a personal appearance. You may respond in writing or by telephone. If you find you have missed your court date you have until 5:00 p.m. the following day to contact the court and enter your plea. If you fail to contact the court within this time frame, a default judgment of conviction will be entered against you and the full bail amount is due and payable immediately.

  3. What are my plea options?
    You may plead no contest or not guilty.

  4. If I plead not guilty, how and when will I be notified of the trial?
    The court will contact you by mail with the new date to appear.

  5. If I plead not guilty and the Judge finds me guilty at the trial, will he/she reduce my fine?
    The Judge has the authority to raise or lower the fine as he/she deems appropriate within the statutory limits. The judges will follow the same bail reduction schedule the clerks follow.

  6. I want to plead not guilty, but cannot appear in person for my trial. What can I do?
    Upon written request, we can send you the paperwork to proceed with a trial by affidavit.

  7. Can I go to traffic school?
    Clatsop County does not accept or offer traffic school for traffic violations at this time.

  8. I received a ticket in a highway work zone. Can I get a reduction in my fine?
    No, fine amounts are higher and reductions are not allowed at this time.

  9. Can I make payments on my fine?
    Yes, however, you must request a payment schedule. Our minimum monthly payment amount is $25.00. The court will add a fee to each case not paid in full within 30 days after judgment (ORS 1.202(2)). The fee is $50 on a case balance that is under $150; the fee is $125 on a case balance that is between $150-$399;the fee is $200 on a case that is $400 or more.

  10. I am unhappy with the judge's ruling on my case. What can I do?
    You can appeal the decision. You must file a notice of appeal with the Court of Appeals. The time frame allowed for filing a notice of appeal is within 30 days from the date of conviction.

  11. My license has been suspended because of a ticket I have in your court. How do I get my license back?
    You must pay to the court the full amount you owe on the ticket plus any additional fees.  Once the court receives your money, we will notify DMV to reinstate your license. There may be additional fees you need to pay to DMV.

  12. It was not me driving the car and I did not receive this ticket. How can I get this off my record?
    Supporting documentation proving why this cannot be you must accompany an explanation to the court. The judge will determine whether or not to remove the conviction from your record.

 

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    Our court's forms are all provided in PDF (portable document format) files. To access these files you need a current version of Adobe Acrobat Reader. You can download this application for free at Adobe's website.

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