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Top Ten Tips > Easing the Consequences of a DUI

7. Jail Alternatives

First DUI Sentences.

According to Sonoma DUI lawyers, most people consider staying out of jail to be the highest priority, second perhaps only to wanting a complete dismissal of charges or preserving driving privileges. While it is true that most misdemeanors in California carry a risk of up to six months to one year in jail, nevertheless an informed Sonoma DUI lawyer should tell you that a typical Sonoma County DUI sentence in a case with no prior convictions and no aggravating circumstances, usually results in two days of jail, all of which usually may be served with jail alternatives rather than actual incarceration. See Jake's Video Short "Am I Going to Jail". Even two days is not required by law, and sometimes a local Santa Rosa DUI lawyer can avoid such a sentence altogether. Your DUI attorney should discuss your specific exposure with you so that you understand the realistic gravity of your unique case.

If your blood alcohol was relatively high (over .15%), or there was any kind of collision in your DUI case, or the district attorney alleges that you refused to provide a sample of your breath or blood after a DUI arrest, or other aggravating factors or charges are present in your case, then you may be at risk for an additional three to ten days of jail or more in any subsequent Sonoma County DUI sentencing hearing. (CVC 23578). An allegation of speeding 20 to 30 mph over the limit (depending on what kind of roadway) coupled with an allegation of reckless driving while over .08 (or .01 if under age 21) exposes you to a potential additional 60 days in county jail. (CVC 23582). DUIs with a minor passenger (under age 14) in the vehicle adds at least 2 days jail and up to ninety! (CVC 23572).

Your Sonoma County DUI lawyer will argue any compelling circumstances in your situation, and any legal weaknesses in the prosecutor's case, with the goal of dismissing your case, or negotiating the charges and penalties in order to reduce or eliminate the jail sentence. Further, time-served jail credits may reduce sentenced jail time; if you were not released immediately after arrest and therefore you spent time in the Sonoma County (or other local) jail, then tell your Santa Rosa DUI attorney how long, and we may be able to obtain credits against any subsequent Sonoma County jail sentence.

Multiple DUI Sentences.

If your arrest occurred during a time when you were on probation for a prior DUI conviction (see the "Court Probation" discussion in Tip #6 above), then the best Sonoma DUI lawyers will tell you that you may be at risk for substantially more jail time for a violation of probation (VOP) in that case (theoretically up to six months or more but typically 10-45 added days of jail) at the time of sentencing on the new DUI matter. Although DUI lawyers are laser-focused on keeping you out of jail, a VOP on a recent prior DUI case may invite a district attorney to insist on actual confinement rather than jail alternatives.

If this is your second or higher DUI and you decide you want to acknowledge an alcohol problem in your life, then you may wish to consider jail alternatives such as the new Sonoma County DUI court (see below) or residential treatment (see "Self-Help" resources on the Resources page of this site), not only for confronting abuse or addiction, but also for giving your Sonoma County DUI lawyer an extra tool to try to eliminate or shorten any jail sentence.

Work Release "Volunteer" Community Service.

Most counties, including Sonoma, offer "Work Release" or sheriff's alternative work program ("SWAP"), which is a jail alternative to actual incarceration following a DUI conviction, where, instead of actual incarceration behind bars, you are permitted to apply for and perform designated community service with the county in Santa Rosa or elsewhere, under the supervision of the Sheriff's Department or Probation Department. Sonoma County requires DUI offenders to successfully contact the work release program within 10 days of sentencing, or else you may lose the opportunity to perform this sheriff-supervised community service and would be required to turn yourself into jail for actual incarceration. You may call, or report within 10 days of sentencing to the Probation Department in Room 104-J on the first floor of the Sonoma County Superior Court building in the courtyard near the Criminal Clerk's office and just outside the Jury Room hallway.104-J

This program is available in most cases as long as you successfully contact the program within 10 days of sentencing and are accepted into the program. Certain allowances are made for legitimate physical limitations. Ask your Sonoma DUI attorney how a Prop. 215 card (and more recently a "Light Duty Doctor's Letter" may result in an accommodation and your transfer to a separate volunteer center program rather than the Sheriff's work crew. Certain allegations in your matter or in your past may prevent your being permitted to participate in Sonoma County's work release jail alternative, even after being referred by the court, such as an arrest (not even a conviction) for battery against a significant other, co-habitant, or peace officer, resisting arrest, or other violent crimes. In such cases, your DUI attorney may be able to help you appeal a denial, or advocate for additional alternatives. Click here for Sonoma County's DUI offender eligibility guidelines and other Work Release Details, and here for Additional Eligibility listings.

Once a DUI offender has been accepted into the work release program, you must be absolutely sure of what is expected of you and precisely how to comply. If you do not successfully comply with all of the Work Release program's requirements, including sobriety, and timely contacts and performance, then you may receive a Work Release Termination Notice, a copy of which would be sent to the Sonoma County DUI court, informing you of the termination and a turn-in date to report to Sonoma County Jail to complete the remainder of your sentence in actual custody. If you do not report as directed, then a bench warrant would likely issue for your arrest.

If you receive this notice, or you are informed of an outstanding arrest warrant because of a Work Release termination, or other failure to report, then you would be well-advised to seek the advice and assistance of a Sonoma County DUI lawyer. A Santa Rosa DUI attorney may be able to avoid or recall an arrest warrant and then get you re-referred to a jail alternative, depending on your circumstances, so that you are not required to spend time behind bars in a jail cell following a Sonoma County DUI conviction.

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Jail Show and Release.

In Sonoma County, typically you can simply report on your "turn-in date" (your Sonoma County DUI attorney should coordinate this date with you to avoid scheduling conflicts; the date will be indicated on your sentencing order) at either the North County Detention Facility (FOR MEN ONLY) by the Santa Rosa Airport (2254 Ordinance Road, last right turn off Airport Blvd before the Sonoma County Airport), or the Main Adult Detention Facility (FOR WOMEN ONLY) next to the Sonoma County courthouse (2777 Ventura Avenue, likely where you were first booked if you were brought to the county jail). Not a guarantee, but nearly everyone is released in a matter of hours if your remaining DUI sentence is four days of jail, or two days of jail, or just one day. This is also called "book, print and release" (for a one-day sentence) or "book and midnight release" (for a two, or four-day sentence). In this scenario, such individuals do not change clothes or see the inside of a cell, but rather they sit quietly in a secure waiting area until released, either very quickly, or immediately after midnight.

MEN REPORT HERE:


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WOMEN REPORT HERE:


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Some Real Life Descriptions of How It Works. The most experienced and best Sonoma County DUI lawyers understand this "book and release" policy very well, as it has been the standard operating procedure here for many years. However, clients are often understandably nervous about reporting to jail, so Jake always asks clients to send descriptions of their experiences for others (like you) to read before deciding whether to take advantage of this nearly universally easy way to get a handful of jail days accomplished without actual cell time.

Real Sonoma DUI Client Accounts of "Book & Release," or "Book & Midnight Release" (oldest to newest):

Example #1 "Book & Release" (Male) first-hand experience related by a first offender with 1 day of jail remaining to serve on a Sonoma County DUI (2-day sentence with one day credit Jake obtained for this client at sentencing, arguing he already spent time in jail on the night of arrest prior to bailing out, and thus only had one day of jail remaining to serve at the time of turn-in -- only one day to serve enjoys the "book, print & release" procedure): "I did the jail turn-in on 5/29 as instructed. Got there around 6:00 p.m. and mostly sat around reading my book with occasionally being called over for questions (while the deputy filled out forms), fingerprinting and photo. They released me about a quarter to nine (2-1/2 hours later)."

Example #2 "Book & Release" (Male) first-hand experience from a Santa Rosa DUI first offender with a 1 day of jail remaining: "Hi Jake, I turned myself in to the North County Detention Facility on Friday, and the process went just as you said it would. I checked in around 6:40, and they booked me a few minutes after 7:00. They took my iPhone, but I was allowed to keep my wallet. I was printed and my photo taken, and then I sat in an open waiting area for close to 2 hours. I was released at 8:54 PM. The whole process was as painless as could be. Now I just need to ride out the last two months of my license suspension/restriction and finish paying my fine to Sonoma County. Thanks again for your help in this matter."

Example #3 "Book & Release" (Male) first-hand experience from a Santa Rosa DUI first offender with a 1 day of jail remaining: "Everything went as well as it could. I arrived there at 6:15 and had to wait until around 7 before actually being taken in. I brought a book that they let me bring in with me which really helped pass the time. They held me until around 9:10 at which time I was released. All in all it went well and definitely was the best choice considering my options, thanks for suggesting this to me!"

Example #4 "Book & Release" (Female) first-hand experience (brief voice message Jake received) from a Santa Rosa DUI first offender with a 1 day of jail remaining: "Hey Jake, just wanted to give you feedback on the jail processing; it was 45 minutes, in and out."

Example #5 "Book & Midnight Release" (Male) first-hand experience with a Sonoma DUI jail sentence which was supposed to be 4 days including 1 day alread served, but turned out to be 5 days: "Hey Jake, I just wanted to let you know how my turn in went up at North County Detention last night. I got there 20 before 7. I only brought my ID and they had all my paperwork there. Of course being it is this county of ours, they didn't have my one day credit on file. I was down for 5 days instead of 4. But the lady doing my paper work said I would be a midnight release, so of course I kept my mouth shut and said ok. I got out right at midnight. Everyone else who was there for DUI or traffic violations was a midnight release. The only person who got checked in had a 14 day sentence for driving with a suspended license. So I just wanted to let you know how it went. I served 5 days in 5 hours. Oh and there is no TV or anything to read, so you get the enjoyment of staring at a wall. I will take that over 5 days anytime. Thanks again for all the help, I hope this helps give other clients hope if they decide to turn in instead of doing community service."

Example #6 "Book & Midnight Release" (Male) first-hand experience with 4-day Sonoma DUI jail sentence: "Hi Jake. Just wanted to touch base with you. Last night I checked myself in to the North County Detention Facility as directed, and they did in fact let me out 1 minute after Midnight. I want to thank you for helping me through this, as I was extremely nervous about the possibility of being kept in jail over the weekend. From the very first meeting we had, you insured me that I would not be going to jail. I hope there's a way that other people can read this so it can help them through the process as well."

Example #7 "Book & Midnight Release" (Female) first-hand experience with 2-day Sonoma DUI jail sentence: "I arrived at Jail slightly nervous and hoping for a simple intake/outtake procedure, similar to what Jake had prepared me for. He was right in that overall, the experience was pretty painless. You simply show up at 7pm and check yourself in. I waited in the lobby and read my book for 2 hours since it was so crowded and they finally checked me in around 9:30pm that Friday. The only tips I can offer are bring a book for the lobby and some quarters for a locker for your valuables (they cost 50 cents). If you are married make sure you do NOT wear your wedding ring because they will make you take it off and put it in a little envelope that they keep securely up front. I trusted them but it still made me nervous to have to take it off and leave it behind. Thankfully, I got it back upon release with no problems. (They will also take all jewelry and keep it up front so don't wear jewelry). I think Jake told me this ahead of time but I came straight from work and had forgotten. Once they check you in and pat you down, they will take you back to the jail waiting room. You do not go in a cell and you do not have to change clothes. I was fingerprinted and photographed and sat in a waiting room watching MTV (they had made me put my book and glasses in my locker). Make sure you eat dinner as I got hungry towards the end but overall it is very simple. Just be patient and polite to all the personnel at the jail. I noticed that when people asked too frequently when they were going to get out, the officers became aggravated. Others that had been processed in with me at 7pm were released at midnight but I was released at 1:30am because there was some sort of huge Meth sting earlier that night and it was quite crowded in the waiting room. If you remain calm, polite, and cooperative you'll be fine. As a side note, I heard Jake's name thrown around a few times in the jail waiting room and only heard positive reports. You are working with a very helpful and experienced lawyer."

Example #8 "Book & Midnight Release" (Female) first-hand experience with 2-day Sonoma DUI jail sentence: "I reported to the Santa Rosa facility by the airport as you suggested at 6:45 p.m. and everyone there was very nice and polite. They already had all my information on file so I only signed one form stating that I could not leave the building until I was released. They informed my friend who drove me that he could not wait with me, but he could return shortly after midnight to pick me up. I put my things in a locker and sat in a waiting area until about 12:15 a.m. and then I went home. All things considered, I've had more stressful evenings at home with my teenager. It seems this is a standard procedure. You were right to warn me against pot or alcohol on my breath; there were 5 guys who came in obviously having been drinking, and they were immediately taken into custody."

Example #9 "Book & Midnight Release" (Female) first-hand experience with 2-day Sonoma DUI jail sentence: "I have never been to jail... and had no idea what to expect. I showed up at 6:45 p.m. on a Friday. There were about 20 people already there in the waiting room. I walked in, went up to the front desk, and gave them my name. They told me to sit and wait. There were people there who had long sentences and people who come every weekend. Those people were called up first. They call up one person at a time to enter this little area and to go through a metal detector (I would recommend to bring quarters to keep your belongings in a locker, or keep them in your car). I was one of the last people to be called into the room on the other side. Everyone who was there for midnight release was called in last. It was really easy, and no big deal whatsoever; they told me ahead of time that I would be released at midnight. I sat in a chair for a couple of hours, in a room with other people all there for the same reason. The officer even brought me a magazine to read. The worst part about it was the extreme boredom. The whole situation was extremely routine. I was released at about 12:05 a.m."

Example #10 "Book & Midnight Release" (Male) first-hand experience with 2-day Sonoma DUI jail sentence: "I arrived at 6:45pm and was told to wait. At first I thought they would keep us in the lobby all night, but eventually they called people one by one to walk through the metal detector. The cop who searched me for weapons kindly informed me I "wasn't going in," which was reassuring. So I sat and read my book until midnight. Make sure you bring a book and a thick sweatshirt to use as a buffer against the awful plastic chairs and walls. Two people went to the wrong jail and had to wait until midnight only to be transported back downtown. Yet another reason to have hired a lawyer... I was released just before 12:15am. I cannot stress the importance of a book enough."

Example #11 "Book & Midnight Release" (Male) first-hand experience with 2-day Sonoma DUI jail sentence: "I was terrified of the possibility of jail time. Unfortunately, my case was pretty open and shut and I was sentenced to two days. I showed up at 6:45 pm, checked in, and was told right away that I would be an "after-midnight release." I sat in waiting room, read a book, and messed with my phone. After an hour, I was called up to verify some facts then told to sit in the same waiting area. 20 minutes after that, I was put through a metal detector. It was kind of like going through airport security. The guards let me keep my book and coat (although, I suggest bringing a heavier coat because it gets cold in there). The room held about 20 guys, and those called into custody already knew the guards from a larger sentence. By 9 pm, there were just seven of us waiting around until after midnight. At around 12:10 am I was called up to collect my belongings, called a cab, and went home. I am glad to have had a lawyer like Jake walk me through this process because it is a complex process between the DMV and court system. Everything went as well as Jake said it would. Jake was professional, courteous, and can explain things simply."

Example #12 "Book & Midnight Release" (Female) first-hand experience with 2-day Sonoma DUI jail sentence: "Well it went as good as turning yourself in could go... It was quite interesting, to say the least there are some CHARACTERS up in the booking area. From one guy singing random songs from the drunk tanks nearby, another beating his arm against the glass & then kicking the door... Trust me it was anything but boring. I also had a group of Gang/Mob wives next to me talking about all sorts of crazy things & when they started taking people upstairs to the cell around 12am, they tried to befriend me thinking I was going in for a while with them. I have never been so grateful to leave a place LOL! They just kept me in booking until around 12:30am. I have never sat in such uncomfortable seats but what can I say it was better than actually being in a jail cell. Thank you for all you have done making this process so unbelievably easier! So next step I get my license … I already have my SR22, already enrolled & attended my first DUI class this past Thursday & it's actually bearable. The teacher is quite hysterical & let's just say unique :)"

Example #13 "Book & Midnight Release" (Female) first-hand experience with 2-day Sonoma DUI jail sentence: "Everything that Jake arranged for me and all of his instructions I followed to a "T"... I booked myself into the Sonoma County Jail where I was unsure if I would be able to handle the process of being locked up. Fortunately it was just as Jake explained to me, and it really wasn't that bad of an ordeal. I showed up at 7pm and went in the back for booking at 8:30pm then watched t.v. in a big room with other people who were there to serve time as I was. The sheriff's deputy's were very professional and treated people with respect. It seemed to be pretty busy that Friday night and finally I was released at 12:05am. I am happy to have the jail time behind me and can continue my weekly DUI classes which have not been bad either. I actually look forward to them and will definitely have something to take away from this experience. Thank you Jake, I would not have been able to navigate this ordeal without your expertise."

Example #14 "Book & Release" (Male) first-hand experience with 4-day Sonoma DUI jail sentence: "I just did my "time" at the North County Detention Center. Jake told me to check in at 7pm, and I would be released at 12:05. I got there a little early, 6:30, checked in, and was told I was scheduled for Book & Release. The officer said he got off at 10pm, and if my documents came back promptly from the DOJ after fingerprinting, he would release me before the end of his shift. (By the way, after you check in, you cannot go back to your car, or outside at all. It is officially considered an escape attempt. So don't forget to lock your car and bring whatever you need.) I was ushered into the waiting area. The building itself is pleasant, and the waiting area is spare but comfortable. I was allowed to bring a book. The officers were very congenial. At 9pm, after being there only 2 1/2 hours, I was released."

Example #15 "Book & Release" (Male) first-hand experience with 2-day Sonoma DUI jail sentence: "I was serving 1 day of a 2 day sentence with 1 credit for time served the night I was arrested.  I arrived at the detention facility at about 6:30 PM, 30 minutes prior to my booking time.  I was booked in around 7:15 PM and told I was scheduled for "book and release", which was reassuring.  Other folks were told there were scheduled for the "book and midnight release" (probably longer sentences).  For others in my situation, I would recommend arriving about 30 minutes early, as I was the first to check in and the first released, around 9:40 PM.  The room got quite busy later, probably 20 or so folks being booked in.  A little stressful going down to the jail again, but really worked out just fine and exactly as Jake said.  Bring a book and some warm clothes."

Example #16 "Book & Midnight Release" (Male) first-hand experience with 4-day Sonoma DUI jail sentence: "Hi Jake, Just a quick story about my turn in for anyone worrying about this experience as I was: I arrived at the North County Detention Facility at about 6:40 pm for a 4 day jail sentence. I was very freaked out about the possibility of spending the weekend in jail, but almost immediately after stepping inside I relaxed. The deputies were very kind and respectful. They asked for my last named and gave me one sheet of paperwork to fill out. It seems they already had all my records from court on file - they didn't ask me for any of the documents I brought with me, not even ID. When I brought the paperwork back up the deputy asked me if I knew about the process I was about to go through. "It's just the book and release?" I nervously asked. He said yes, that I would go through the process of booking and then have to wait until I would be released just after midnight. He said "It usually gets pretty boring around here after 10 because everybody leaves." I waited in the visitor area of a very spacious room with about 15 other guys, and the deputies started calling people to go through the booking process at about 8:30 pm. I was directed to the back of the same spacious room, through a short divider and a metal detector, was processed, and told to sit in one of the chairs and wait. Four of the guys were released at 9:30. I assumed they had shorter sentences than me, maybe a day or 2? The rest of the guys were either transported to another facility or dressed up in jail fatigues and processed into the jail. By 10:30 I was the only one remaining. At about 10:40 a female deputy walked by and asked me if I was bored and wanted a book or something. Another deputy told me he had today's newspaper and asked if I wanted it to read it. I said sure. He said you don't got much else to do except sit here for an hour and a half, and handed me the paper. The atmosphere was very casual. Two deputies were chatting off in another room, one was reading at a desk, another went into an office close by and was watching a movie on the computer. So I sat and read the newspaper until midnight. At 12:01 am I was called to the front of the room, given my belongings and told I was free to go. I walked to the airport which is about 5 minutes away and called my ride home. Overall it was a huge relief that the experience was so surprisingly easy and painless, pretty much from the moment I walked through the facility doors. The thing that I was most anxious about in the days leading up to my turn-in was if the deputies were going to be nasty, unhappy people that wanted to cause me suffering. But actually almost the opposite was true. All of the deputies were polite, courteous, and respectful, and even compassionate (there was a homeless looking guy that was sleeping and took a while to move from his seat, and the deputy was very patient and gentle). Anyways, thanks for setting everything up! "

Although the releases described above, minutes or hours later without actual incarceration in a cell, is the nearly universal experience, still, as with everything in life and law, there is no guarantee in your specific case that you will avoid jail. Ask your Sonoma County DUI lawyer how this process might work for you, and please, if you elect this easy alternative, email Jake your own account so that other people facing a Sonoma County DUI can gain the same comfort and information as you have.

Electronic Monitoring Program (Home Confinement), Weekends, Other Alternatives

EMT MaleEven if this is your second or higher Sonoma County DUI, or this is your first DUI but additional factors are present so that you are currently exposed to 30 days or more of jail, good Santa Rosa DUI lawyers know that Sonoma County typically allows limited creative solutions to actual incarceration or to minimize the effects of incarceration on home or job. For example, the ankle bracelet (home confinement) and weekends (jail Friday night through Sunday morning) both allow you to go to work during the day and could save your job. Work furlough (work during the day, jail every night) may not be offered any longer due to budget constraints. A secure continuous remote alcohol monitor ("CAM" or "SCRAM") device (the ankle monitors pictured here) added to a sentencing scheme may convince a judge in a particular case to allow such alternatives to jail even in relatively bad cases.

It is critical to discuss alternatives with your local Sonoma County DUI lawyer prior to sentencing so that proper details are accomplished to maximize your ability to take advantage of such alternatives. Because of certain minimum jail requirements to qualify for the program, your Santa Rosa DUI attorney actually adding a day of jail to your sentence could be the difference between staying at home in your own neighborhood, or staying in a Santa Rosa jail cell.

Click here for the Sonoma County Sheriff's Electronic Monitoring Program flyer, and here for the Electronic Monitoring Program Sample Application (rev. 2013, still good as of 3/1/18), and here for Typical Added Documentation, and here for Additional Background Information about the program. Depending on the context and manner in which electronic monitoring is obtained by your Santa Rosa DUI attorney, or ordered by the court, the application and monitoring may be done through the Sonoma County Sheriff's office (typically post-sentencing), or by the private company contracted by the county, the BI company (typically pre-trial). Click here to see the pre-trial BI Company CAM Pre-Trial Court Flyer.

(Click here to see an older form (no longer used), but still useful for additional information and context if you are a convicted DUI offender in Sonoma County and interested in the Sheriff's EMP program: Sonoma County Electronic Confinement/Work Furlough Info And Sample Application).

A good Santa Rosa DUI lawyer will inform you that there are important requirements if you are convicted of a Sonoma County DUI and wish to take advantage of this jail alternative: you must be sentenced first before you may apply, there cannot be any warrants or holds, no pending cases, and you must have a permanent residence. Additional common requirements for a DUI offender include an extended turn-in date after sentencing, work schedule verification, dedicated phone line, completely alcohol and drug-free home, and only limited visitors allowed. Additionally there is usually a daily fee. These alternatives are seen as a benefit to both the Sonoma County DUI offender and Sonoma County itself, but are not made available to everyone, and the application process can be lengthy and unreliable, so it is critical to consult with a good Santa Rosa DUI lawyer and start completing the application as soon as possible after any jail sentence is imposed.

EMT FemaleAlthough the county's DUI jail alternative program is only for those who live in Sonoma County, if you do not live here (or sometimes immediately adjacent), then your Santa Rosa DUI attorney should explain that it may still be possible to serve Sonoma DUI jail time in another county with the electronic confinement alternative. Click here for one qualified out-of-county program, The LCA Program, which Sonoma Courts have permitted to provide this service outside Sonoma County for DUI offenders. Typically to be successful obtaining this alternative, one must be directly referred to LCA at the time of sentencing in the Santa Rosa courthouse, and then pre-approved and referred by the Sonoma County probation department using the same application sample above. LCA will provide a Final Report to the court and your Sonoma County DUI lawyer detailing a DUI detainee's performance, costs, office visits, etc. You can also see LCA's client enrollment packet for the electronic monitoring equipment (for both electronic confinement and the SCRAM alcohol monitoring anklet), by clicking here: LCA Enrollment Packet, and you can find more detailed information and rules by clicking here: LCA Electronic Monitoring Handbook.

With respect to pre-trial monitoring, your Sonoma County DUI lawyer should be able to show you examples of successful completion documents from their experience obtaining such jail alternatives for their clients: Click here for an example of BI Successful Completion, and BI Unsuccessful Remand, Reinstallation.

For additional links and information about LCA, BI, work release and other jail alternatives, click on Resources and scroll under "DUI compliance" to the jail alternatives links.

Sonoma County's DUI Specialty Courts.

The "Tier 1" Compliance Court [Unfunded/Suspended Program as of July 2012]

In December, 2009, Sonoma County DUI lawyers watched as our courts introduced a new layer of informal probation-type oversight for all second and third DUI offenders. This program has been discontinued for new offenders as of 6/2012 until additional funding is obtained, but the information is provided below for background and context.

In addition to the existing DUI court (described in the next section below), a new segment was added, referred to as the DUI oversight court. Under this new system, second and third DUI offenders are referred to this compliance court. These offenders are referred to a compliance officer/case manager, and required to attend another court session two months following their sentencing (court hearings are on the second Wednesday of each month), and again at the six month mark and finally at the one year mark. The court may order that the defendant not attend the second or third hearings. Residents who live in distant counties, and out of state residents, may participate by telephone.


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The Case Manager. Sentenced offenders will contact the Orenda Center compliance office and be required to meet with one of two case managers from the Sonoma County Alcohol And Other Drug Services Program ("AODS") to come up with an action/treatment plan to address (and facilitate/ensure) compliance with the original sentencing court's orders, such as enrollment and attendance in the DUI program, AA meetings, installation of the scram anklet, ignition interlock devices, jail, work release or home confinement, etc. Participants provide proof of such compliance to their case managers.

The case manager/compliance officer will monitor probation compliance and assist the DUI offenders in their efforts to eliminate drugs and alcohol from their lives, and may include, if necessary, referral to community services, monitoring substance abuse, random drug testing, addressing family issues, verification of participation in job training, immigration assistance, housing and education. If a client has not fulfilled their obligations, it will be up to the compliance officer and the court to determine why, and also to suggest a different course intended to help the client to comply. The ultimate determination of a response by the court remains with the judge. Defense attorneys will have open communication with such case managers and the court, and may help facilitate an appropriate response to certain difficulties.

Click here to see the complete Sonoma County DUI Compliance Court summary memorandum. More information, including necessary documents and maps, etc, may be found on the Resources page of this site under DUI Compliance>DUI Court.

The "Tier 2" Compliance Court ("DUI Court")

Good Sonoma County DUI lawyers will explain to you that in February, 2008, Sonoma County implemented an intensive, treatment-oriented program, modeled after Sonoma County's Drug Court, which effectively delays serving a jail sentence, and upon successful completion contemplates home confinement to satisfy any minimum jail sentence and early termination of your time on probation. The program is a collaboration of the Court, Probation Department, Health Services, the Public Defender's office, the District Attorney's office and local law enforcement.

Sonoma DUI Court is only available for Sonoma arrests, only for Sonoma County residents and only for non-felony cases, with no prior serious felonies and no current parole, and only after any sentence related to any probation violation is completed. Most participants are third offenders.

Sonoma DUI court is a post-plea interim resolution which would typically only be appropriate for eligible multiple offenders after thorough analysis of your present case with a Sonoma County DUI lawyer if you determine that either there are no viable defenses and the requested jail sentence is unacceptable to you because of job and/or family, or you wish to address the adverse effects of alcohol in your life.

Program Details. If you are willing to acknowledge a substance abuse problem and wish to take advantage of this intensive three-phase Santa Rosa program with regular obligations and reviews, bi-weekly therapy, drug and alcohol testing, at least 5 12-step meetings per week, and drinking driver DUI program classes, then, after meaningful review of your case with your Santa Rosa DUI lawyer, you may be referred by the trial court to the next DUI court session (Tuesdays at 2:00 p.m. --you must not be late-- in Santa Rosa Courtroom 15) for a mandatory observation by you. If you are willing, then a no-contest plea and alternate sentence would be entered at the next trial court hearing, and then you would be sent back to the DUI court for a further observation and subsequent preliminary recovery assessment by the judge. After this second observation, you would be interviewed in the following days and assessed by program counselors and staff, and if a satisfactory referral is made, then upon sentencing at the third DUI court session (usually with your Sonoma DUI lawyer) you would commence the program. The stated program length is a minimum of 12 months plus available after-care.

Typical Sentencing Terms. In addition to expected obligations such as twice-monthly counseling sessions, weekly court attendance, and 5 AA meetings per week, good Sonoma DUI lawyers will inform you that the court will typically impose the following additional terms at sentencing:

  • 30 days CAM alcohol monitoring anklet at start of DUI court program
  • 60 months formal probation (may convert to informal probation following successful completion of DUI court program)
  • 120 days jail stayed (delayed) until completion of the one-year DUI court program, with 60 days home confinement at the beginning of the program, and 60 days home confinement at the end of the program (going to work and staying at home is permitted and the best incentive to being compliant and successful in this program)
  • No firearms use or possession
  • No alcohol use or possession, random drug/alcohol testing, and stay out of places where alcohol is the primary item of sale
  • No controlled substances or paraphenalia without a valid prescription (includes ban on medical marijuana)
  • Search and seizure rights waived (in order to facilitate enforcement searches regarding alcohol use/possession)
  • Ignition interlock device in any vehicle owned or operated
  • Habitual traffic offender designation (basically serves as a sentencing enhancement if there are further traffic violations)
  • Multiple offender DUI program
  • Fines

Program Benefits. Successful completion of the 52 week minimum program length allows a participant to completely avoid time in actual jail custody. In addition, your incentive to participate is this more thoughtful and measured approach for multiple offenders, including access to a lower cost, structured, and local Santa Rosa treatment program designed to transition you to a healthy and stable life, and early probation termination.

You should discuss all of the details with your Santa Rosa DUI lawyer. Click here to see the Summary Sonoma County DUI Court Brochure, and here for the complete Sonoma County DUI Court Participant Handbook. If you believe this program is right for you, then you should also view the obligations contained in the Conditions of Probation, and the DUI Court Agreement.

Important: Please be aware that this and other jail alternatives, specialty courts such as Sonoma County's "DUI Court," and other DUI programs available in Sonoma County, are subject to frequent changes in rules and procedures due to constant policy review and budgetary changes. Be sure to discuss current requirements and program availability and details with a knowledgeable Sonoma County DUI attorney prior to committing to, or rejecting participation in any court program.

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