Local attorney Eric Bryant made national headlines last summer when, via a little-known state statute that allows one Oregonian to cite another for minor traffic violations, he ticketed a Portland police officer for parking illegally. Bryant made us wonder how easy it is to stick it to our fellow citizens. Multnomah County Circuit Court trial court administrator Doug Bray says it’s a little more involved than leaving a Post-it on the windshield.
Step 1 Get the make, model, and license plate number of the automobile. The tricky part: you also need the name and address of the person you’re citing.
Step 2 If possible, photograph the infraction. You don’t need this in order to issue the ticket, but you probably will need it to prove your case in court.
Step 3 Get thee to Multnomah County Circuit Court (if you’re citing someone for a violation within the county). Complete the Oregon Uniform Citation and Complaint. Signing the form is tantamount to swearing an oath that you’re telling the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Fabricating information is considered perjury, so playing a practical joke on your neighbor probably isn’t a good idea. You’ll also need to know the statute number. (Check the court’s law library if you’re not up on your statutes.)
Step 4 Wait. If your paperwork is in order, the court will summon the ticketee. You’ll be notified of the court date because you’ll have to present your case to a traffic court judge. If the judge determines that a preponderance of evidence points to guilty, you win.
Step 5 Leave. Quickly. And consider witness protection.
This article appeared in the February 2009 issue of Portland Monthly.