SonomaCounty DUILawyer.com

Top Ten Tips > Easing the Consequences of a DUI

1. Court Appearances

Sonoma Courthouse Don't go to Court for a DUI.

It is much easier for you if you do not have to take time off work and attend a stressful and confusing appearance in Sonoma Superior Court in Santa Rosa if we determine that there is no other reason for you to attend. In Sonoma, Napa, Mendocino and Solano Counties, you are not required to attend a court or DMV hearing with your attorney unless there is a substantial hearing where evidence is to be formally introduced. Marin County used to require you to attend any sentencing but now allows your DUI lawyer to appear for all proceedings just like most cases in Sonoma County.

Do Stay Informed.

You can (and should) closely follow the progress of your case by communicating with your attorney before and after Santa Rosa court appearances, and following your case separately online by clicking on Resources on this site and then find your local court under "Courts" by clicking on the county where you were arrested (for example, Sonoma, Mendocino, or Napa), and search for your name. Sonoma Courts have a case history summary online, typically a few days before your first court date, listing case number, charges, and the first (or next) court date and time, as well as the assigned Judge in your Sonoma DUI case. Napa Courts and Mendocino Courts have daily online calendars. Marin Courts have San Rafael appearances online weeks in advance.

Santa Rosa DUI sting police waiting to stop suspended drivers Don't Drive to Court With a Suspended License.

Beware the driver license DUI sting operations. Important!! If you have a suspended license, don't drive, and if you drive to court in Sonoma, you stand a chance of being arrested in one of Sonoma County's sting operations where Santa Rosa and Sonoma County police agents watch in court and radio to officers hiding in the shadows nearby, waiting to stop you when you drive away from the courthouse.

These stings typically happen at random times throughout the year and result in huge additional headaches (including impounded vehicle and more jail time) for those caught. Click here if you don't believe it! Santa Rosa Court Sting. This photograph was taken by Jake outside of his office, just one block from the courthouse, on December 21, 2010, as CHP and Santa Rosa Police Department motorcycle cops waited for radio descriptions of suspended licensees driving away. According to the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, in an article questioning such aggressive tactics, 10 people were arrested that day, and the police have continued these stings at least a few times per year ever since then. One DUI client told his Sonoma County DUI lawyer about a similar sting at the DUI program classes. A recent Napa Register news article announced such a court sting in Napa County. Have a local DUI lawyer appear for you in court instead of risking new charges.

If a Warrant Has Been Issued for Your Arrest.

If you failed to appear for a DUI court date pursuant to a promise to appear which you signed at the time of your original DUI arrest citation by Sonoma County law enforcement, then typically in misdemeanor cases the Santa Rosa Superior Court Judge will issue a bench warrant for your arrest. If you bailed out of jail at the time of the DUI arrest, then usually you must obtain a "Letter of Reassumption" of bail from your bail company (showing that the bail company agrees to resume its bail bond guarantee to the court on your behalf) before you or your Sonoma DUI lawyer can successfully place you on the court's calendar to remove the warrant, reinstate the bail, and resume your case. Some Sonoma bail companies charge additional fees for the letter of reassumption, and some do not. Click here for examples of an Aladdin Letter of Resumption, Romelli Consent to Reinstate, and Wally Jacobsen Bail Reassumption.

Sometimes a judge wants to put you in jail for failing to appear when ordered or promised. To minimize the chances of being remanded (taken into custody) if you were to appear in court to clear a warrant, retain the services of a local Sonoma County DUI attorney instead. A Santa Rosa DUI attorney can often quickly place your matter on the "clear warrant calendar" and then appear for you and explain why you failed to appear, so that you do not have to personally appear with all of the stress and inconvenience, and risk going to jail. If you cannot afford to hire a lawyer, then click here to see the local Sonoma County Clear Warrant Policy for appearing in court to clear an outstanding warrant and resume a pending criminal matter; if you cannot afford the convenience and expertise of a local lawyer, then when you first appear, before you say anything else, you should ask the judge to appoint the Sonoma County Public Defender to assist you before the judge decides how to handle the warrant, your bail and custody status, and the remainder of your case.

Custody & Bail Issues.

Aladdin bail bonds car Typically people arrested for DUI are either released by police on their own recognizance ("OR") after being processed, or post bail to be released. Bail is supposed to be set by the jailer pursuant to the Sonoma County Bail Schedule which lists most possible charges and the bail amount for each charge. These amounts can go up or down depending on a variety of factors relating to you and your case. If you were not released on O.R. and you appeared in court while still in custody, then most likely bail was set at that time, or you may have been released on a more comprehensive form of O.R. called "Supervised Own Recognizance" ("SOR" or "Conditions of Pre-trial Release"), where the Santa Rosa judge imposed special SOR Conditions on your release. Often a Sonoma County attorney may be able to save an arrestee or family large sums of money by arguing that such conditions will be better for the defendant and the community than posting more money for bail.

You can find much more detailed information about bail, lawyers and court appearances on this website at Tips for the First 48 Hours: Hire a Lawyer.

Testimonials

Any result portrayed was dependent on the facts of that case, and the results will differ if based on different facts.

Our DUI Lawyers

Dave Jake Schwartz is an Honors Graduate from UC Hastings Law School, and UC Davis, former Federal Judicial Clerk, and Nationally Qualified Sobriety Tests Practitioner. Member of the California Bar for 30 years, Sonoma County resident for over 20 years, handles only DUI cases, including thousands of Sonoma County DUIs and DMV hearings: first/multiple offenders, minors, seniors, tourists, undocumented immigrants, veterans, probation violations, suspended license, public intoxication, open container, minor in possession, child endangerment, collisions, hit and run, evading, resisting arrest.

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Dave Jake Schwartz