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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

FAQ Links

Criminal
FED/Evictions
Jury
Small Claims

 

Criminal

 

What can I expect at my arraignment?

First, you will be checked in with the verifier's office. They will ask you if you would like to apply for a court appointed attorney, or if you will be retaining your own.


Second, upon entry into the courtroom, court staff will give you a copy of your charging instrument (a document which lists the offense(s) you are being charged with).


Third, the Washington County Sheriff's Deputy in the courtroom will advise you as to whether or not you will need to complete the booking process after you have been arraigned. Booking process includes being fingerprinted and photographed.
Fourth, the judge will take the bench and advise every one of their rights prior to calling each case individually. Once the rights are given, the judge will call each case, when you hear your name called, you must step to the podium and answer any questions the judge will have.


Fifth, the judge will advise you of your next court appearance as well as authorize a court appointed attorney to assist you if that is applicable.
(for further information please follow the link to "Criminal Department")

 

What if I need to reschedule my arraignment?

Court staff is not able to reset any arraignment. Should there be an emergency or other situation that may allow a reset of your arraignment, please fax (503.846.6087) a written request as soon as possible prior to the arraignment date, including your name, case number if one is available and the specifics of your request along with a contact number so that court staff can reach you to advise you of the judge's decision.

 


What happens if I did not appear for my arraignment?

Failure to appear, or arriving late to your arraignment may result in a warrant being issued for your arrest. Please refer to the Washington County Sheriff's Office website for instruction on how to turn yourself in on an outstanding warrant.

 


I have a friend and/or relative incarcerated in the Washington County jail, will they be released pending trial?

Release Assistance Officers will determine the eligibility of individuals to be released. Should they meet the Release Assistance Officer's criteria, individuals may be released by signing a Release Agreement with conditions. If an individual does not meet the criteria, they may ask for a release hearing to determine if they should be released pending trial. The Release Assistance Officers will provide a report, containing results of investigations and interviews, to the judge, the prosecuting attorney, and to the defense attorney. This report will also contain a recommendation for the judge to take into consideration prior to making the release decision.

 


I am a defendant who has signed a Release Agreement and there is a provision where I cannot leave the State of Oregon. I need to receive permission to travel out of state for a specific reason, how do I make these arrangements?

Please contact the Release Office within the Washington County Court Criminal Department. The Release Assistance Officer(s) will review your request to determine whether or not your Release Agreement may be modified to allow you to leave the State of Oregon.

 

How do I go about posting bail or arranging to visit my friend and/or relative in the Washington County Jail?

Please refer to the Washington County Jail link to their website. This will provide specific information on how to post bail and also how to arrange visits with a friend or relative currently incarcerated in the Washington County Jail.

 

FED/Eviction Process


Does the court have eviction notices (ie 72 hour notices)?

no, Those are to be purchased at a stationary supply store or online.

Can a landlord get a judgment for back rent or damages?

No, this is done by filing a small claims case or civil suit. It cannot be included in the FED process.  

Who will my judge be for my hearing?

Washington County has a Protem Judge assigned to FED Court hearings.

What room do I appear in?

Roll call is held in room B8 of the Washington County Courthouse at 145 NE 2nd Avenue, Hillsboro, OR 97124. All parties start there. After roll call, parties will appear in a courtroom. However, do not go to the courtroom without first checking in at room B8.

What is mediation?

The Washington County Court has established a mediation program to assist you in settling your case and to hopefully avoid the necessity and possible additional expense of a trial. Mediation is a procedure that brings you and the other party together to discuss your dispute with a trained neutral mediator, who is available to assist both parties. Sometimes cases are resolved in mediation by the parties agreeing on a payment plan when a tenant is unable to immediately pay the full amount owing. Inability to pay is not a valid defense that can be taken into consideration by a judge. 

Jury

The information contained in this section was taken from the materials that jurors receive in the mail from Washington County Circuit Court when they are summonsed to appear for jury duty.

What qualifications do I need to be a juror in Washington County?

To be a juror in Washington County, you must be a citizen of the United States, a resident of Washington County, be 18 years of age or older, and not have previously served on any State or Federal jury within the last 2 years. You may be ineligible if you have had rights and privileges withdrawn and not restored under ORS 137.281.

 

What do I do with this jury summons?

After reading the summons, decide how you are going to proceed and return the enclosed postcard as soon as possible indicating either that you will be attending on the date for which you have been summoned, or note your ineligibility, or ask to defer your jury service. Your return of this pre-paid post card is the only way the court has to identify how many jurors have committed to attending jury duty. (NOTE - If you have received a green jury summons, this does not apply.)

 

How long is jury service?

In Washington County, jury service is for the duration of one trial or one day of service. (Unless you are selected for Grand Jury - see Grand Jury section.) You will report for jury duty on the day designated and if selected for a trial, you will remain with that trial until it concludes. If you are not selected for a trial, you will still have completed your term of service.

 

Where and when do I report for jury service? - Regular (White) Jury Summons

If your juror number is selected for service, you must report at 7:45 a.m. on the date of your summons. It is important that you either check the Date and List of Juror Numbers, or the recorded telephone message, 503.846.8820, to be sure that your number is in the group to report. Report to the Jury Assembly Room, B-8, on the basement level of the Washington County Courthouse, 145 NE 2nd Avenue, Hillsboro, Oregon. There is information regarding parking and other important details in the link at the top of this page or the recorded telephone message. Mapquest

 

Where and when do I report for jury service? - Special (Green) Jury Summons

Check on the recorded telephone message 503.846.3711, for information regarding reporting. Mapquest

 

Can I change my jury service to another date?

If you are unable to serve on the date for which you have been summoned to appear, you may request to be deferred to another time. Using the enclosed postcard or online (Juror Response Form), propose several dates which you can serve (No Mondays) not more than one year from the original summons date that will work for you. Your service will only be deferred one time unless good cause can be shown.Washington County Circuit Court will defer your service only one time.

 

Can my employer prevent me from serving on jury duty?

Prohibited Acts by Employers: Oregon law provides that an employer shall not discharge or threaten to discharge, intimidate, or coerce an employee by reason of the employee’s service as a juror. As of January 1, 2012, the law also provides protections related to leave and continuing insurance coverage. See this link:

[http://courts.oregon.gov/OJD/docs/jurorinfo/Juror_Employment_Protections.pdf]

or contact your jury coordinator for more information, or see ORS 0.090 as amended by Or Laws 2011 ch 118 and ch 377.

 

Can I get out of jury service?

In order to be excused from jury service, you must meet either the mandatory standards or the discretionary standards to be excused.

If you are age 70 or older on the date of jury service, or if you are a woman breast-feeding a child, and if you request to be excused, the court must excuse you from service.

For other types of excuse requests, you must show good cause why you should be excused. Requests by phone to be excused by these standards are not accepted. If you are self-employed or not paid by your employer for time spent on jury duty, you are not exempt from jury duty. If you have a critical medical condition, or otherwise have a critical conflict with jury duty, you must explain your situation in writing. Include proof such as a doctor's complete explanation, including whether or not you work outside the home, travel itinerary or copy of tickets, etc. In most cases you will not be excused, but we may be able to defer your term of service to a date not more than one year from your original summons. In your correspondence, propose several dates which you can serve (No Mondays)….Send your letter immediately. The court will act promptly on your request. You will be notified if your request is denied. Send letters to:

Jury Coordinator
Washington County Circuit Court
145 NE 2nd Avenue
Hillsboro, OR 97124.

 

What is Grand Jury?

A small number of jurors may be chosen as grand jurors. The grand jury is a body of persons sworn to inquire into alleged criminal acts. The term of service for grand jurors is one or two days per week for 5 weeks.

 

What kind of parking is available?

There is free all-day parking available to jurors in the parking structure. Refer to your summons for your parking permit as well as a walking map to the court buildings. Washington County Government Campus

 

Is there public transportation?

There is a MAX station within one block of the courthouse. See the map in your summons. Washington County Government Campus

Tri-Met also has busses to and from Hillsboro. Tri-Met Schedule

 

Does the court have accommodations for those with disabilities serving on jury duty?

Anyone with a disability who needs accommodation to participate in jury service may advise the court of the disability and type of accommodation by telephone, TTY, or letter as soon as possible prior to jury service. Our contact information is:

Jury Coordinator
Washington County Circuit Court
145 NE 2nd Avenue
Hillsboro, OR 97124.

Phone number: 503.846.8648; TTY: 503.846.4863

 

Small Claims Court


How do you start a case in small claims court?

A small claims case is started by filling out a complaint form which is the starting instrument for a small claims case. This form can be purchased from the court for $5.00. The original claim must be filed with the clerk of the court at the Clerk's counter at the Justice Services Building, 150 N. 1st Avenue, Hillsboro Oregon 97124.

 

How much does it cost to file?

See Washington County Circuit Court Fee Schedule

 

What county should I file in?

The county that is most appropriate in which to file is either where the defendant resides or where the situation you are suing for took place.

 

What is the maximum amount that can be sued for in small claims?

$10,000.00

 

What does it mean to serve papers?

It means to have documents delivered to your opposing party in order to make them aware there has been a lawsuit filed.

How can I have the service done?

There are four ways:

1. The County Sheriff
2. Certified mail
If certified mail is attempted, the Plaintiff must mail the claim addressed to the Defendant at the last known address. The envelope must be marked with the words DELIVER TO ADDRESSEE ONLY and RETURN RECEIPT REQUESTED. The date of delivery on the return receipt card will be proof of completed mail service.
3. By a Private Process Server (look in the yellow pages under Process Servers)
4. Someone over 18 years of age who is not a party to the case.

Service cannot be done by someone who is a party to the case.

What does the sheriff charge to serve?

The sheriff charges a fee to serve one to two people at the same address. 

 

Who is the Plaintiff and who is the Defendant?

The Plaintiff is the party who files the complaint. The Defendant is the person who answers to the complaint. 

 

What is mediation?

It is the process of two opposing parties coming together to work out an agreement facilitated by a Mediator. This is an opportunity to create a win-win situation in your case rather than letting a judge decide in which one side will win and one side will lose.

 

Who are the Mediators?

They are trained, neutral, third party volunteers who assist you in coming up with a mediated agreement, such as a payment plan.

 

Who is present at Mediation?

You, your opposing party and a Mediator. Witnesses aren't necessary in mediation. If you bring friends or family with you, it will be up to the Mediator at the time of the mediation if they will be allowed to participate.

 

What if you can't mediate?

If you can't mediate, you have passed up the opportunity for both parties to give their input into the solution of the complaint. At this point it will be scheduled for trial sometime in the next few weeks after your scheduled mediation.

 

What happens at trial?

Mediation is a fairly informal procedure. Trial is more formal in that you stand before a judge in the courtroom and present your evidence in an organized way.

 

Am I allowed to reset my hearing?

Both parties are allowed only one reset.

 

How do I reset my hearing?

By submitting the ORIGINAL hard copy of a letter addressed to the small claims clerk. The letter should include your case number, why you need a reset and your signature.

 

Once served, how long does the defendant have to respond to the court?

14 days.

 

What if they don't answer within 14 days?

You can request a default judgment. You do this by filling out a two page document and submitting it to the court clerk.

 

How do I file a claim against a business?

First check with the Corporation Commisioners' office in Salem: 503.986.2200 so that you can check on the correct name of the business.

IF THE DEFENDANT IS A CORPORATION

Put down the full Corporation name and address as the Defendant, and then show, over at the right side of the form, the name and address of the Registered Agent for the Corporation. The registered Agent is the person who will actually be served with the copy of your claim, together with an Answer form. An example is

EASY PAY WAY, INC. Serve Registered Agent: John Brown
555 5th Ave 711 Bank Building
Hillsboro, Oregon 97123 Portand, Oregon 97225

IF THE DEFENDANT IS AN ASSUMED BUSINESS NAME (D.B.A.)-LIKE A PARTNERSHIP-

Name all the partners, D.B.A. (doing business as) the business name, as Defendants. Each of the partners (also called parties of interest or owner) will be served with a copy of the claim and an Answer form. An example is:

JOHN WAY & JIM WAY BE SURE YOU SHOW CLEARLY WHERE
EACH PARTNER IS TO BE SERVED
D.B.A. WAY’S EASY PAY
555 5TH Ave
Hillsboro, Oregon 97123

IF THE DEFENDANT IS A CORPORATION-WITH AN ASSUMED BUSINESS NAME-

In this instance, the Corporation name becomes the owner or party of interest, and service of the claim will be made upon the Registered Agent of the Corporation. An example is:

EASY PAY WAY, INC. Serve Registered Agent: John Brown
D.B.A. WAY’S EASY PAY 711 Bank Building
555 5TH Street Portland, Oregon 97225
Hillsboro, Oregon 97123

 

What do I do if I've been served with a small claims complaint?

Carefully read through all the paperwork you have been served. Fill out the Notice of Defendant's Response by choosing one of the options and then submit it the court within 14 days.

 

The following five questions are frequently asked about the Notice of Defendant's Election itself:

1. If I'm the defendant and I want to pay the plaintiff in full and avoid a hearing, how do I show proof of payment?

Make a copy of your check or money order and staple it to the back of your Notice of Defendant's Response and submit it to the court. Your payment must include filing fees and service expenses.

2. Do I have to pay the plaintiff directly or can I pay the court?

You can do either. If you prefer to pay the court, the money will be forwarded to the plaintiff after about two weeks.

3. What if I don't actually deny the claim, but I want to go to mediation?

Even though the answer form says I deny the claim of the plaintiff and I demand a hearing. You can check this box on your answer form even if you don't actually deny the claim.

4. What happens if I want to demand a jury trial?

To demand a jury trial, the money amount in the claim must be over $750.00. The fee for demanding a jury is $244.00. Once you have done this, the Plaintiff is mailed a notice to file a formal complaint. If the Plaintiff responds within 20 days, the case will be moved out of small claims court and into civil court. If the Plaintiff does not respond, the case will be dismissed.

5. What is a counter claim?

Counter claims (sometimes called cross claims) are what the Defendant files against the Plaintiff in the same way the Plaintiff originally filed a claim against the Defendant. You may file a counterclaim against the Plaintiff if you believe he owes you money or holds specific personal property as party of the same controversy. THE COUNTERCLAIM MUST HAVE EXISTED OUT OF THE SAME TRANSACTION OR OCCURRENCE AS PLAINTIFF’S CLAIM. If your counterclaim is for $10,000.00 or less, the claim and the counterclaim will be heard at the same hearing, in the Small Claims Department. If your counterclaim requires a transfer of the case to Circuit Court, the Plaintiff will no longer be limited to the original amount of his claim.

 

What if I'm the plaintiff and I need more than 60 days to serve?

If service is not completed within 60 days, the case may be dismissed after written notice to you.
You can submit a letter to the small claims judge and ask for an extension of time.


What is a certificate of mailing?

This is what you need to file when you have subserved (when you've served someone over the age of 14, at the normal place of residence and who is not the person being sued). These can picked up at the clerk's office. This is usually only done when the sheriff serves. Private Process Servers do their own (check with them if they're going to take care of this for you.)

 

On the section of the complaint form that says on or about ________ , _____ what goes in the blank?

This is regarding the date of the incident for which you are filing a lawsuit. For example, on or about October 5, 2004 an incident happened that you are suing for.

 

Is the court clerk a notary?

No. However, court clerks can verify your signature with your ID and sign your document as a clerk of the court.

 

Can attorneys come to small claims court?

Not usually. Attorneys must receive special permission from the judge to appear in court.

 

How do I schedule an interpreter to be present at the time of a hearing?

Call the clerk or submit a written request and one will be scheduled for you.

 

How do I collect money after I've won the case?

Collection is solely your responsibility. By using the court process, you can attain a judgment order which gives you the legal grounds to begin collection.

IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS ABOUT PROCEDURES, YOU SHOULD CONTACT THE CLERK OF THE COURT, HOWEVER, THE CLERKS CANNOT GIVE LEGAL ADVICE.

Any correspondence done by mail to the court should be addressed this way:

Washington County Courthouse
Attn: Small Claims Dept.
150 N. 1st Avenue
Hillsboro, Oregon 97124