My question involves traffic court in the State of: California
Here's an interesting one I'm hoping someone can help me sort out:
I got a speeding ticket back in May 2008. The CHP officer gave me a court date in early July 2008 for arraignment. Unfortunately I missed the date and went to the court clerks office one week later. The clerks office scheduled me for an arraignment that afternoon.
So on that afternoon in July, I plead not guilty and waived my right to a speedy trial. They gave me a "Next Court Appearance Date" of September 30, 2008.
I plead not guilty because there is no other way out of the points on my license. They allege I was doing 103 in a 65 zone. Since I can't go to traffic school on this my only hope is to plead not guilty and research a good ladar defense (or hope the officer doesn't show.)
On September 6th I received a copy of a docket in the mail that they held a Trial in Absentia on September 5th, in which the CHP officer was present, I was found guilty (since I was not there), and a fine was imposed. A tidy sum of almost $800. I'm not so concerned about the fine as I am the points on my license and the report to my insurance company.
I was never told about the September 5th court date. I have paperwork from my arraignment in July with the September 30th court date.
What is my recourse? I basically had NO chance to defend myself in this case.
Should I ask for a dismissal in the interest of justice since holding a trial without my knowledge (when the court had previously schedule a date) is a violation of my rights?
Should I ask for a mistrial? Will that mean it gets rescheduled?
If I just show up on the 30th for the trial, will this be considered double jeopardy and would it be dismissed? If that happens what will happen with the first trial? Is it invalidated or validated since the court (and I) would likely have to acknowledge it for double jeopardy exist?
I don't want to simply let them do whatever they want (like saying "OOPS we'll just reschedule a new trial") if there's a chance I can use this to keep the points off my record. Saving the $800 fine they imposed would be nice too.