I live in California and got a red light camera ticket last October. I did a trial by written declaration and lost. I then set up a trial de novo, extended it out as long as possible, and eventually decided not to show up for my court date because the court is 200 miles away and I had no real argument as to how I was not guilty.
I got a letter in the mail today that says the defendant (me) did not show up and the prosecution did show up. Despite that the decision rendered was case dismissed in the interest of justice.
Does this decision essentially mean I will not be charged with this violation and my insurance rates won’t go up? I wasn’t eligible for traffic school because I had a speeding ticket about a year prior to this incident. Furthermore, how could the case be dismissed if I didn’t even show up? Finally, since the case is dismissed am I entitled to a refund of the cost of the ticket?
Judge did a good thing. Since there was no prosecution there was no evidence. Since there was no evidence to consider either a not guilty or dismissal was the only proper decision for the Judge. However, could have easily gone the other way, since you did not appear, which I have seen that many of time by an array of Judges.
As a dismissal, it is as if the citation never occurred. It will not show up on your DMV record once the dismissal is sent to DMV, assuming the court submitted the guilty to the DMV at the TBD stage. In any event it will eventually not be on your record.
The refund will come between 45-60 days from the court. Check the your address on the citation and on page 2 of the declaration (should be the same), That is the address the refund will be sent.
Although you did not appear at the trial, the prosecution still needs to prove their case to the judge. Their can been any number of reasons why the prosecution chose to dismiss your case. It may have simply been that they were have issues with that particular red light camera and that they are dismissing all of those cases. However, since you were not at the hearing, you will never know why the case was dismissed. Long story short, you were not convicted of the offense and it should not show up on your DMV printout. Therefore, your insurance rates should not go up. If you paid bail on the citation so that you could fight the case, typically, the court will send you a check in that amount. In a few weeks, I suggest that you go to the DMV to verify that there is no conviction on your record. Take the letter that you got in the mail with you in case you need it to update your records.
Apologies, misread the question. Though the prosecution did show, and most likely prepared, your failure to appear may have made identity a difficult issue, compounded by the already looming issues Courts have with camera citations. Dismissed in the interest of justice is a judicial discretion decision prompted by the Judge. There may be many factors we will never be aware of that would prompt such a decision.