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Municipal Court

Relief from Judgments due to Failure to Appear

If a person cited for a violation (a “defendant”) fails to appear at the time scheduled for a first appearance, or at the time scheduled for trial, the court may enter a money judgment against the defendant under Oregon law. 

State law and court rules (see below) provide a way for defendants to seek relief from such judgments by making a written request (a “motion”) that satisfies all legal requirements. A motion for relief must be filed within a reasonable time, but no more than one year after the judgment was entered by the court. 

The court may rule on the motion without a hearing or may require the defendant to appear in court and present oral argument.

The motion must show that the failure to appear was due to one of the following:

  • Mistake
  • Inadvertence
  • Surprise
  • Excusable neglect

The motion must be accompanied by a payment of $100 to the court. The payment requirement may be waived by the court for good cause. 

You may be represented by a lawyer at your own expense. If you don’t have a lawyer, you may wish to contact the Oregon State Bar’s Lawyer Referral Service at 503-684-3763.


 

OREGON REVISED STATUTES
Section 153.105 - Relief from default judgment

If a default judgment is entered against a defendant under ORS 153.102, the court may relieve a defendant from the judgment upon a showing that the failure of the defendant to appear was due to mistake, inadvertence, surprise or excusable neglect. A motion for relief under this section must be made by the defendant within a reasonable time, and in no event may a motion under this section be made more than one year after entry of judgment.


TIGARD MUNICIPAL COURT RULE 4 – SUBSECTION 7

A motion for relief from a judgment in civil and traffic cases must be submitted in writing with payment in the sum of $100. The payment requirement may be waived by the court for good cause.

The motion must show “that the failure of the defendant to appear was due to mistake, inadvertence, surprise or excusable neglect,” as provided by ORS 153.105.  As further provided by ORS 153.105, a motion for relief must be made within a reasonable time, and in no event may such a motion be made more than one year after entry of judgment. 

The court may rule on the motion without a hearing or may require the defendant to appear in court and present oral argument. If a motion for relief is allowed, the matter shall be set for trial or arraignment as appropriate. 

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