Getting a local Sonoma County DUI lawyer gives you your best shot at beating a DUI in the local Sonoma Superior Court, and protecting your driver's license at the Santa Rosa DMV. All of the other parties to your case have their own agendas: the arresting officer, the DMV, the Sonoma County District Attorney and the Sonoma County Judge. For a more detailed discussion of the police agenda, see Jake's discussion in this Top Ten Tips series: Don't Follow Bad Advice. The judge and assistant district attorney who are examining your case are both highly disciplined and experienced lawyers, and, together with the DMV hearing officer assigned to your case, all of these local DUI authorities who are about to make decisions about the outcome of your matter are guided by much broader public safety considerations than just you or your own personal hardship, family needs or future job security.
Sonoma County DUI attorneys are specifically hired to protect you in every practical way. Not only can the outcome of a Sonoma County DUI affect you for the rest of your life, but in addition, all kinds of unexpected complications in Sonoma DUI cases can trip you up, and all kinds of shortcuts exist making it easier for you to comply with far less pain at the end of the day; only Sonoma DUI lawyers are uniquely positioned to navigate you through this situation, and no one has the expertise to go it alone.
Would you perform medical procedures on yourself? Engineer your own home? Fix your own plumbing or electrical problems? Sue a big company without a good lawyer on your side? We hire professionals to address and properly fix all kinds of problems in our lives, expertly and correctly from beginning to end, with minimum confusion and stress, with maximum information and flexibility, the options and execution you need right now. Don't follow casual advice from friends or try to do this yourself; you should have a Santa Rosa DUI lawyer looking out for your own best interests and easing the consequences so that you may move on with the least stress and inconvenience.
Public defenders. If you really cannot afford to hire a private Sonoma County DUI lawyer, then it's almost always advisable to appear at the first court date in the Sonoma County courthouse and when your case is called by the judge, don't try to explain your case or circumstances or ask for a break, but rather, at the very first moment that you are permitted to speak, simply ask for the Sonoma County Public Defender to be appointed.
Note: Sonoma County public defenders do not handle DMV proceedings in Santa Rosa or elsewhere, and typically you are not permitted to speak with them prior to your first court appearance. Also, typically you have to physically go to court for the first appearance and every proceeding in your case, as opposed to private Sonoma DUI lawyers who go for you while you go to work or stay home. However, although public defenders get a bad rap because they typically can't spend as much time with you as compared to a private DUI lawyer, nevertheless their service is excellent and highly valued.
Representing yourself. Although you have a constitutional right to represent yourself according to the US Supreme Court's Faretta Ruling, understand that in any civil or criminal case, it is nearly always considered a mistake to represent yourself in court. This is because the other side (in Sonoma County criminal cases, the other side is the State of California) has its own highly trained lawyer (the District Attorney), with a bank of assistant lawyers and staff, but you don't have such support if you represent yourself, and therefore you are at a severe disadvantage. In addition, one is always biased and sympathetic to one's own personal situation, and unable to objectively advise yourself of your own best interests. This is true even for defendants who are themselves lawyers and is the fundamental reason why "a lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client." See also the Sonoma County Superior Court's Faretta Waiver advisements and warnings if you still wish to consider this ill-advised alternative to affordable counsel.
If you don't see how involved and complex even a first DUI can be in Sonoma County without a lawyer, then click on our Sonoma DUI Lawyer Anatomy of a DUI on this site and see the many different directions a Sonoma case can go, as well as the collection of obligations, timetables and tasks to perform. A local Sonoma DUI attorney who can guide you through the maze of bureaucratic doo-doo, not to mention the possibility of getting charges reduced or dismissed, is well worth the expense. Your situation requires an attorney knowledgeable in the precise area of the law in which you find yourself. Consider just a sample listing of possible DUI defenses on this site by clicking on Ten Tips for Fighting a Sonoma County DUI. A DUI should be handled by a criminal defense lawyer who regularly defends DUI cases in your courtroom.
A private DUI lawyer will go to Sonoma Superior Court or traffic court for you and in most Sonoma County cases you don't ever have to appear. This is particularly helpful if you don't live in Sonoma County. A private Sonoma DUI lawyer should also handle the DMV case for you so you don't have to yourself (these hearings are usually litigated in the Santa Rosa or Petaluma satellite DMV offices). The value of this convenience and the possibility of a Sonoma DUI lawyer successfully obtaining lower or dismissed charges and protecting your driver license, is well worth a reasonable Sonoma attorney fee (typically in the $1500-$2500 range for any straight-forward 1st or 2nd DUI in Sonoma County).
Any good Sonoma County DUI defense lawyer will closely examine the Sonoma County Superior Court complaint against you and the police report completed by Sonoma County law enforcement, looking for any glaring or less obvious defenses, and then sit down with you for as long as you need, explain everything to you and ask you to make your own decisions after you understand the issues, likelihood of success, possible additional costs if any, and probable risks and consequences. A good Sonoma DUI lawyer will help you navigate the minefield of possibilities, get you through the bureaucratic mess which is present in every Sonoma County DUI arrest case, help you understand the multiple tasks facing you, and coordinate the timing of tasks and resolutions, to get all of this behind you from arrest to resolution with the least amount of stress and pain. See Jake's Short Video "Hire a DUI Lawyer!" here: Jake's Video Shorts.
A local DUI lawyer who lives and practices in Sonoma County is far better than one based in Marin, San Francisco or LA, because lawyers who regularly practice DUI law in Sonoma know how the Santa Rosa DMV, and how the Sonoma County judges and Sonoma County District Attorney react to certain cases, and we know the available options and procedures here in Sonoma County which often vary widely in different counties. For example, a standard no-defenses second DUI in Sonoma County is typically sentenced to thirty days of jail, but all of the time may be served by volunteering with the county if you are not otherwise ineligible. By comparison, in Marin County the typical sentence for the same charges is fifteen days instead of thirty, and four days must be served in actual custody. Napa's typical sentence for a second DUI is only ten days of jail, all of which may be served with a jail alternative. Local Santa Rosa lawyers who actually live and practice in Sonoma County know Sonoma County DUI practices and procedures.
If you don't see how the wrong DUI lawyer can be a castatrophe, click here to see an authentic Bad DUI Lawyer Email Sent to Jake complaining about a remote lawyer, missed court appearance, arrest warrant, ridiculous DMV phone hearing resulting in a two-year license suspension, total disaster.
Ask questions, and choose carefully; here's another real statement, from one of Jake's former clients: "I also wanted to share something that you may or may not wish to add to the testimonial (if you've used it). Since being in the DUI program, I've come across a wide range of folks who have had varying experiences with their lawyers. Every time someone shares a story, I am even more grateful than ever that I sought you out and that you agreed to take my case. I've heard stories from people whose lawyers won't answer any questions after court, who wouldn't appear for them in court (it's possible that they weren't allowed to I suppose) or who gave such minimal information that they have been left to navigate much of the DUI laws and DMV processes by themselves. So, thank you again for all of your help, your honesty and bluntness, and your follow up."
Don't pay extra by being fooled into hiring a smooth talking "big name" criminal lawyer based in another county like San Mateo, Marin, San Francisco or Los Angeles to whom you pay more money so that he or she can hopefully accomplish the exact same result as a Sonoma County DUI defense attorney, or worse yet they turn around and hire a local Sonoma no-name contract lawyer to appear for you. The quality of representation might be adequate but still a waste of additional money and an unwanted additional layer of people and miscommunications.
If you wish to test whether your prospective lawyer is truly knowledgeable and local, ask how many offices he/she has, where his/her primary business office is located, how often he/she appears personally in Sonoma as compared to other courts, when was the last time he/she physically stood in front of a Sonoma County judge on behalf of a client arrested for DUI, at which DMV office he/she conducts DMV hearings, and what is his/her personal understanding of a standard no-defenses DUI sentence in Sonoma County. The answers should be immediate, specific, and confidently provided to you.
It is much easier for you (and well worth it) if you do not have to take time off work and attend a stressful and confusing appearance in Santa Rosa Superior Court if your DUI attorney determines that there is no other reason for you to attend. Most court appearances are boring for non-lawyers, and the first appearance in Sonoma County is usually only meant to trade papers and information and set new dates, not to argue anything of substance. Typically in Santa Rosa and Sonoma County you are not required to attend a misdemeanor court or DMV hearing unless there is a substantial proceeding where evidence is to be formally introduced (usually only a contested hearing or actual trial proceedings). A DUI arrest need not ever result in a requirement that a defendant appear in court, not even for sentencing in Sonoma County. This is also true in our surrounding counties of Marin, Napa, Mendocino and Solano.
Will your absence be noticed by the court or required by your attorney? No, as discussed above, in most cases court appearances are strictly procedural. Unless special circumstances are present (such as a high blood alcohol level alleged, multiple priors, or a violation of probation), judges do not wish to speak to a defendant at such proceedings. Clients who live in Santa Rosa or elsewhere in Sonoma County, rarely, if ever, come to court in typical DUI cases. This doesn't mean you'll be left in the dark about your case. A good attorney will explain the entire process. To start, click here to see Jake's comprehensive Anatomy of a Sonoma County DUI flowchart. In addition, Jake's tech know-how can be very helpful to avoid the need for client travel, meetings or appearances, especially at the procedural beginning of a case. If requested, we .pdf police reports and other case documents to you after court appearances so that you can examine these important documents and provide feedback to help us to help you.
You can (and should) closely follow the progress of your Sonoma County case by regularly communicating with your DUI lawyer before and after Santa Rosa court appearances, and follow your case separately online by clicking on Resources on this site and then find your local court under "Superior Courts" by clicking on the county where you were arrested (for example, Sonoma, Marin, Napa or Mendocino), and search 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.
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.
Typically people arrested for DUI in Sonoma County 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 presumptive bail amount for each charge. You can click here to see Sonoma County's specific 2017 Bail Amounts for DUI and other Vehicle Code Charges. These amounts can go up or down depending on a variety of factors relating to a case, and can also change from year to year. If someone arrested for DUI is not released on OR, or cannot bail out and is due to appear in court while still in custody, then most likely bail would be set at the first court appearance, or the person arrested for DUI may be released on a more comprehensive form of OR called "Supervised Own Recognizance" ("SOR" or "Conditions of Pre-Trial Release"), where the Santa Rosa judge imposes special SOR Conditions on the defendant's release. Often a Sonoma County DUI attorney may take the opportunity 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 lots of bail money.
Sometimes, someone arrested for a DUI in Sonoma County may not be able to get out of jail immediately, or at all, unless they post bail. A friend or loved one can usually post 10% of the stated bail for someone who is in jail. See, for example, the San Rafael's Zig Zag Bail Agreement & Application. See also Santa Rosa's Aladdin Bail Bonds FAQ's for answers to frequent quetions about bail. See also Santa Rosa's Romelli Bail Bonds FAQ's. Good Sonoma DUI lawyers will tell you that some Sonoma County bail companies will refund money to you if you hire a private Santa Rosa DUI lawyer. Most bail companies offfer an 8% rate rather than a 10% rate (they will give you back 20% of what you paid, typically a $100 refund on the normal $500 bail premium) if you hire a private Sonoma County DUI attorney, probably because it's more likely the case will resolve properly with a local DUI lawyer involved. Greg Rynerson Bail Bonds and Bad Boys Bail Bonds actually offer a 7% rate if you hire a private Sonoma County DUI lawyer.
You can call or visit your Sonoma bail company office to inquire about its rate chart (California Department of Insurance states such fees are to be posted in a visible location in every bail bond office) and see if obtaining a DUI lawyer (or being a member of a union or the military) gets you a lower rate. Click below to see examples of the forms used by local bail companies in Sonoma County:
Typically, you can only qualify for the lower Sonoma County private DUI defense attorney rate if you act within a specified time. For example, Aladdin's lower private attorney rate is usually only available if the private lawyer was retained within 30 days of the date that the bail was issued and proof of such retention is received by the bail company within a reasonable time.
Good DUI lawyers will inform you that laws related to right to bail by people arrested for a DUI in Sonoma County are generally found in Penal Code Sections 1268-1320.5. Bail companies are regulated by the California Department of Insurance. Department regulations may be found in the California Code of Regulations at Title 10, chapter 5, subchapter 1, article 2, sections 2053-2104. You may find bail company license information and any recent enforcement actions by the Department by clicking on Bail Agent License Status, and answers to some of the more common questions by clicking Bail Faq's. Click on Court Appearances to see a discussion on this site regarding how bail companies and Sonoma County DUI lawyers can help efforts to clear a warrant for a failure to appear in court following a DUI arrest.
You might get a bill from the police. Some police agencies routinely mail reimbursement bills to attempt to recoup costs for arresting you! Even though you may be a Sonoma County taxpayer and may have already paid for the police department, the police car, and the salary of the police officer whose DUI arrest you are now fighting, still, in these tough economic times Sonoma County agencies may try to bill you for reimbursement of their costs for the actual DUI arrest incident pursuant to Government Code Section 53150. Click below to see examples:
Although an invoice pursuant to this law may be valid if emergency personnel were required to respond to a DUI incident (for example an ambulance, paramedics or fire trucks responding to an accident scene, or more CHP or Santa Rosa police officers responded in order to manage traffic interruption due to a DUI incident), nevertheless, the California Court of Appeals for Sonoma County has ruled that an ordinary arrest for DUI is not a sufficient trigger event to require reimbursement to Sonoma County law enforcement under this law. See, California Highway Patrol v. Superior Court (Allende) (1st Dist 2006) 135 C.A.4th 488.
An Example. A Sonoma County CHP invoice received by one of Jake's DUI clients who was subjected to a typical, uneventful DUI arrest, stated that "the defendant herein shall pay to CHP the total indicated below" listing 5.2 personnel hours and a total due of $469.33. After reviewing this client's incident, and the invoice received, Jake was outraged by the intimidating and misleading "defendant shall pay CHP" language in the DUI invoice from an agency whose leaders are sworn to uphold and enforce the law; he advised this individual client not to pay the bill based on the facts in her case, and fired off a Counsel's Reply Letter on her behalf.
Although failure to pay may result in a debt collection lawsuit (civil, not criminal case), or may cause an item to be referred to the Franchise Tax Board or a collection agency (click to see City of Santa Rosa Refers to Collection Agency and a Sample Reply Letter), risking a negative credit incident (many people may never hear from the police agency again, especially if the arrest was in fact uneventful), such possible risks may be addressed, minimized and/or negated with vigilance and protest when the claimed debt is disputed and invalid on its face.
Update: 2011 Allende II Ruling: On December 9, 2011, the Court of Appeals for Sonoma County DUI cases re-examined the issue of when CHP can recoup costs for DUI-related incidents, in Allende v. Dept of California Highway Patrol ("Allende II"), and upheld the CHP's latest policy, to seek DUI cost recovery "for any incident in which an officer is dispatched to a call resulting in a DUI arrest of a driver."
To the dismay of Sonoma County DUI lawyers, the Allende II court embraced the CHP's "Fox Guarding the Chicken Coup" approach to when CHP can collect money from citizens whom they arrest for DUI, writing about the circular "wisdom of deferring to CHP expertise" in this self-interested cost inquiry, noting the CHP's stated internal policy where "the CHP has instituted an internal appeal process under which arrested drivers may challenge an officer's initial determination that an incident qualifies for cost recovery. According to the evidence presented to the court, "when [the CHP] send[s] out an Emergency Response Cost invoice under the CHP's Cost Recovery Program, and disputes arise over the propriety of the invoice, [it] has established procedures for investigating, reviewing, and resolving such disputes . . . ." For example, if "the dispute involves a contention . . . that no emergency response to an incident was involved, [the CHP] will put the invoice on hold and forward a copy of the invoice file (including the dispute letter) to the area office from which the incident arose. Information is requested from the area office so that an appropriate response can be made. If it is determined that the invoice was mistakenly issued, [the CHP] will cancel the invoice and inform the disputant of that fact. If the area office believes the invoice was properly issued and the disputant does not agree, or if the contention involves a dispute regarding the Government Code, the matter may be referred to the CHP's legal office. The CHP's counsel will then review the materials. When the CHP's counsel concludes an invoice was not appropriate, the charges are cancelled."
Allende II also upheld the specific formula for determining the amount of reimbursement in a Sonoma County DUI arrest, where "CHP calculates annually a standard hourly rate for its officers by taking the monetary wages paid to a mid-step traffic officer, adding the cost of benefits (retirement contributions, health insurance, workers compensation and Medicare contributions) and dividing that amount by an officer's "total actual working time," which includes the total number of hours an average officer works after subtracting paid time off for holidays, vacations and other leave."
Although the latest case law has emboldened police agencies to invoice DUI arrestees more often, Santa Rosa DUI attorneys are following these developments and are in the best position to advise someone arrested for a DUI in Sonoma County who subsequently receives a bill from a local police agency for the type of DUI cost recovery described here. It is still possible to dispute the most overreaching invoices: see, for example, a "middle finger" letter written by Jake on behalf of Santa Rosa DUI client regarding a CHP invoice for an alleged DUI incident which was never charged in court or pursued at DMV: Dispute Letter When No Charges Filed. You can see that hiring a Sonoma DUI lawyer can be very beneficial to deal with all manner of unanticipated challenges.
You might get a bill from the hospital. Often a Santa Rosa DUI arrest involves a blood test, because the arresting officer placed you in custody and ordered you to give a blood sample, either because a breath test was unavailable, or because you chose the blood test rather than the breath test, or because the officer informed you (as they are required) that the breath-testing equipment does not retain any sample of the breath and that no breath sample will be available after the test which could be analyzed later by you or your Sonoma County DUI lawyer, and because no breath sample is retained, you have the opportunity to provide a blood or urine sample that will be retained at no cost to you so that there will be something retained that may be subsequently analyzed for the alcoholic content of your blood. See Vehicle Code Section 23614.
If you are commanded to provide a blood test (or told that the law requires you to choose), then you have not freely elected to choose and should not be required to pay for it. Further, the fact that the police do not have access to their own medical staff, or to a paramedic response (many police agencies do have such access), does not mean that you should have to pay for alternative hospital staff to perform the blood draw while you are in state custody exercising a right protected by law which specifically states that there will be no cost to you.
Finally, you may have signed a hospital form promising to be financially responsible for the blood draw. The above arguments should be equally applicable, since your presence at the hospital and subsequent paperwork and medically unnecessary procedures were not the product of your own free will. If you receive a hospital bill for a blood draw in the context of a Sonoma County DUI arrest, then you should discuss it with a Sonoma County DUI attorney before paying it. Click here for an example of a Hospital Bill for Blood Draw. Always discuss your individual circumstances with a Sonoma County DUI lawyer because the unique facts of your case may affect the actual legal advice you need.
DUI defendants should always consult with a Sonoma DUI lawyer about the individual circumstances of an arrest before being intimidated into paying any such invoices from Sonoma County, or state law enforcement agencies, or a medical institution.
"Do not look any further for an attorney! Read just a few of these thank you and testimonials and recognize that Jake is the man. He is not too expensive and the outcome is well worth the cost for counsel. Jake knows the law and what he is doing when he represents you. Being from out of state I was extremely worried about logistics, time, and cost of my penalties for my huge mistake. After the first time I spoke with Jake, he was reassuring and confident and I carried that with me up to sentencing where my charges were reduced and my penalties were manageable. Whatever it takes, secure Jake Schwartz if you find yourself facing a DUI anywhere in Sonoma County."
"I am an attorney in Los Angeles and when my 20-year old son was charged with a DUI in Rohnert Park, I searched for the best attorney to handle the case. We were fortunate to find Jake who knows the law, the prosecuters, judges and DMV personnel which makes a difference in handling a DUI case involving a minor where the law is essentially zero tolerance. Jake was always available to answer questions, was honest, straightforward and put our minds at ease that we would get the best results possible. To our amazement, Jake was able to negotiate a full court and DMV dismissal so there is no criminal conviction, license suspension or insurance hit. Thank you, Jake, from our entire family!"
B.I., Father of Son Charged with DUI
"If you find yourself on this page please read all the testimonies here. I myself ended up in a dire situation facing very serious consequences for a second offense. In a state of panic, I contacted several attorney's immediately, after a night in jail and without giving it enough thought, and hired the first one to answer . . . It however didn't take me long to realize that I made a serious mistake. This particularly after finding Jake's extensive and well thought-through website. I subsequently fired my first attorney after speaking to Jake. Few, if any in Sonoma County have such an extensive knowledge as to the law/DMV/Court System, etc., and how to deal with what you have to go through in all aspects. Jake put my fears to rest and thoughtfully and carefully guided me through all the "hoops," and on a second offense there are alot of them. Jake was instrumental in helping me with the best possible outcome, given the severity of consequences and penalties. So don't fool yourself. If you are here and have yet to call Jake, then do so. You owe it to yourself even if you already have retained a lawyer. I highly recommend Jake and I am very grateful for his sincerity and the concern and care he afforded me. Way to go Jake."
C.O., Glen Ellen
"Do it the right way! No matter what background you have or no matter what your friends tell you; this is one of the most serious matters in your life, and unless you are an attorney yourself, get an expert like Jake (who is local too), to guide you through this! The complexities and timeliness of a DUI conviction are crucial, and every detail matters, so if you can get through the process faster, more efficiently, and maybe even with less punishment, Jake is there for you. Not only is he reliable and knowledgeable in this area, but he's always there when you need him (text /email /phone) and he's a nice guy too! A lot of people wander lost through the courts, jail, DMV, insurance, and DUI classes, and suffer even longer as a result of not knowing the ins and outs of the process. There were people in my DUI class mocking me for getting an attorney, yet they didn't even know you could be driving again (restricted of course) in 30 days! Jake will clearly lead you through it and if you do your part it's almost over before you know it! You already slipped up once, don't do it again; get the right guy to help you out. Thanks Jake! And yes, I am a real client."
K.W., Santa Rosa
"Jake is one of the easiest men to talk to; I never wanted to call a lawyer in my entire life but hearing from him was not only easy but relieving. I asked the impossible of this man and he pulled it off. There is absolutely no other person I would trust with my legal proceedings than him. Jake, you're made of Magic!"
M.L., Santa Rosa
"Jake was a life saver!! Making that phone call the morning after getting my DUI was the best thing I could have ever done after this horrible experience. I called in tears when Jake assured me that I was going to get through this and that is wasn't the end of the world, which was how I was felt after being in jail all night. I was almost done with my two year school program when this happened so I was not able to miss any school or I would not graduate, Jake handled everything so I didn't miss any school for court reasons. I suggest you have Jake on your team to get you through this experience because there was so much information I had no idea how to handle or really understand. Jake is honest, so easy to talk to, great at explaining your options so you can understand them and always answered any of my questions along the way for he was always available by email or phone. So don't waste another minute debating if you should have Jake represent you as your DUI Attorney, pick up the phone and do it!! Jake knows the ins and outs of this area, the process, the courts, DMV and will get you through this awful experience with the best results and outcomes. Thank you Jake."
A.C., Santa Rosa
"I cannot imagine going through a DUI conviction and hearing without the help of Jake. As a Sonoma county resident and teacher who had never had so much as a speeding ticket before my incident, I had no idea how harsh and process-oriented the penalties that accompany a first time DUI would be. Jake was calm, always responsive (answering emails and calls within minutes most of the time) and most importantly, highly qualified to handle my case. I never once had to appear in court and his handling of my case made the experience as stress-free as a DUI conviction can be. I highly recommend his services and believe that his fee is very competitive and fair in exchange for the services, insight, and expertise he offer."
K.K., Santa Rosa
"Freaked out after getting my first ever DUI, I scoured the internet for information. Of course there was so much information and misinformation. What I knew was that I needed help navigating through the court system as well as the DMV system and I decided there was no way I was going to attempt to get through this alone. Thankfully I found Jake on Yelp.com. After reading every single one of the positive reviews, I knew I had to meet with him. Not only did he call me within minutes of my email, on a Saturday no less, but assured me that I would get through this just fine. The most important thing for me because of the type of work I do is that I keep driving was for as long as possible. I couldn't take time off work or work from home until the end of the year when things in my industry quiet down. Jake was able to do that as well as time everything perfectly so that I was able to get my restricted license back in time to drive to my first DUI class. It was a huge relief to be able to pay a reasonable fee to have someone who is trustworthy, kind, knowledgeable and effective. I would recommend anyone who is even hesitating for any reason to pull the trigger and just let Jake do the heavy lifting on your case. You will sleep better and be able to focus on your work and family without wondering daily if you are doing the right thing at the right time with regard to the courts and/or your driver's license."
"While visiting Sonoma I stupidly indulged in excessive wine tasting and ended up crashing my car (no one hurt thank goodness), getting arrested for DUI and spending a night in jail. I've never been in jail before, much less arrested, so after my release I was humiliated and confused. I did not really understand the charges I was facing, and I soon learned that the sanctions I was facing, even as a first-time offender, could be severe including additional jail time. I was scared. I then surfed the internet, found Dave "Jake" Schwartz’s website and found a host of excellent information regarding how the DUI process works and how an out-of-state resident might handle it. Now much better informed, I contacted Jake and his soothing manner on the phone convinced me to retain him. After returning to New Mexico, we continued to communicate on my case as it wound its way through the court. And the case resolution was a great result, one count dropped and no additional jail time! And he was able to get the court to agree that I could take my DUI school in my home state. I never had to return to California, but when I do I would like to meet Jake and thank him in person."
"The morning that I got released from the county jail for driving under the influence, I was completely worried and stressed about what my next step should be. I am a Virginia resident and was in California on vacation and had no idea how to deal with the situation that I put myself in. After doing some research I found Jake's website and decided to give me a call for a consultation. Right from the start Jake was completely helpful with a free phone consultation which lead to me hiring him to handle my case. This was the best choice I could have made. Jake handled all of my court proceedings, kept me up to date on what was going on with my case, and managed to reach a settlement that kept me from having to travel back to California for anything. Although I made a bad decision and put myself in a tough predicament, Jake made the entire ordeal manageable, and most importantly kept me out of jail. Thank you Jake!"
"When I was arrested on the road, I was completely panicked. I had never been involved with the legal system before and had no idea how to proceed. By pure luck, I chose to call Dave Jake Schwartz, who answered his phone on Easter Sunday! Jake not only answered my million questions (correctly, no small thing) but was a reliable and knowledgeable voice of calm and comfort all the way through this ordeal. He even made me laugh a few times! Looking back, I made some mistakes, which I have paid for, but I did not make a mistake calling Jake. Thank you, Jake!"
"I remember when I first talked to Jake. My case seemed simple and he even told me that I really did not need to hire him for my case. I was not sure what I was doing and he seemed honest and straight forward. It was the best decision I have ever made. Jake has been so helpful through this entire process. I never would have known what to do if it was not for him. He never gave me false hope or made promises he could not keep. He always kept me well informed and was able to take action immediately and with speed. Communication was amazing during this process. Hopefully I will never have to hire him again, but if any of my friends ever had this happen to them, I wouldn't let them hire anyone else. I cannot thank Jake enough for all the help he has given me and the peace of mind he gave me during this difficult time. Hiring Jake was definitely the best decision I could have made."
B.B., Santa Rosa
"Hi Jake, I would like to thank you and let you know that its great to have my life back because of what you were able to accomplish in my DUI case. The nightmare is over. Through yourself and your website it made the most difficult experience I have ever had in my life easily manageable. I thought that living in New York and having to deal with a DUI in California was going to cost me huge expenses and lots of personal time. I was really surprised that you (Jake) handled everything from the West coast. I was extremely happy with the outcome without ever making a trip back to California. I would recommend anyone in DUI trouble in Napa or Sonoma get in touch with you ASAP."
"On New Year's Eve, my 22 year old son drank at a party and then foolishly drove his car. He was stopped by the Highway Patrol and he got a DUI. Thus began our journey into the unknown depths of legal proceedings, paperwork, deadlines, the court, judges, District Attorneys, the DMV, AA meetings a host of intimidating processes. Without Jake as our attorney, we would have been totally lost. Jake is a professional and he knows what he's doing. He successfully navigated all the obstacles for us. For a very reasonable fee, he met with us personally, kept in touch, reviewed our case, told us what to expect, and represented my son in court. All came out well in the end, and we have Jake to thank for it. The words above are sincere and heart felt. Thanks again, Jake, for all you did for us."
"Thank You Jake. You took the time to explain my options and the court's decision, so I could understand them. Your are an excellent lawyer. I got my charges reduced. I did not get my license suspended. I did not have to take a DUI class and you saved me a lot of money in fines. Thanks again Jake, you did a great job."
T.Y., Las Vegas
"Jake, many thanks for your help throughout this situation. A DUI is a serious matter and a highly regarded and competent local DUI lawyer like Jake helps ease an incredibly stressful situation. When I met with Jake, he clearly detailed all of the complexities of the case and all of my options. It also helped to have someone representing me whom I trusted, I am not living in Sonoma County. Jake was able to work out a deal where I actually did not have to return to Sonoma, saving me an incredible amount of time and money. To top it off, Jake is a friendly guy with a great sense of humor, which definitely helps!!"
K.S., Santa Barbara
"Thank you for all of your time and work. Being a pre-medical student, I initially feared that my future career goals were ruined and feared my life would irreversibly change due to the DUI. I was immediately put at ease about that worry, and the rest of the usual worries that may accompany a DUI, such as additional jail time, fines, etc... It was such a relief to not have to worry about any of this myself. I really got to step aside and focus on the more important things in my life, all the while knowing that things were getting done to the best of their ability. Given my circumstances, I feel I got off with the least amount of consequences possible. It was a great pleasure to work with you and if any of my family and friends have any issues that would require your service, I know exactly who to point them to. Thanks a lot Jake!"
"Thank You Jake! From our first phone call to the final solution, you put me at ease each step of the way. You made me aware of the entire process and very quickly had it resolved. Your advice was invaluable. I am very appreciative you were able to get my DUI charges reduced to a wet reckless and my DMV record cleared so that I still have full driving privileges and my real license. I am also grateful you appeared in court for me and I did not have the burden or stress of having to attend any court hearings. Your professional advice and services are superlative. I am sure I will recommend you to anyone I know and highly recommend you to those I don't know! Thanks again and again."
"If you get arrested for DUI in Sonoma County, you WILL need an attorney. You will need an expert on the DMV and the Courts. You need to hire Jake. I found Jake to be a very competent, experienced, friendly lawyer who helped me navigate me through all of the challenges presented by my getting a DUI. Jake's website is extremely comprehensive. It accurately defines all aspects of the DUI. After reading through his web site and seeing how well each issued was addressed, choosing Jake to represent me was an easy decision. He is an expert on DMV issues and does all he can to minimize your time off the road. Jake represented me in court. I never had to appear. His court experience is extremely valuable. Jake is friendly, understanding and very responsive. He is a very methodical, meticulous and conscientious attorney. If you find yourself on Jake's website, then it is time to call him. You will not regret it. In fact, you will be glad you did. Thanks Jake!"
"When I started this whole process with my second DUI offense I thought I was going to have a horrible long bad road ahead of me. However after searching for the right lawyer you were more than what I was looking for! You helped to make the process smooth and very clear, and without your assistance I would have been extremely less confident. With my case you helped the punishments to be the bare minimum, which was completely unexpected and gave me much relief. Your responses were persistent and quick and your answers were never short of information. Thank you so much for all the help I couldn't have gotten the results without you!"
A.I., Santa Rosa
"From the moment I was arrested for a DUI I had no idea what I needed to do or how I was going to do it. I am a New York resident and was arrested in Sonoma County, California. After first speaking with Jake he put my mind at ease and reassured me that it was not the end of the world like I had felt. He helped me through every step of the process and explained everything very simply all along the way. He even helped with what I needed to do in New York since this was an out of state incident. Jake, thanks for all the help and as much as you helped I hope I won’t need your help again."
B.P., New York
"Thank you so much Jake for all of the hard work you did for my case. This was definitely the best experience I have ever had with an attorney. Not only did you work hard to bring me justice and peace of mind, but did so with complete integrity and competency. I will happily recommend you to anyone who needs someone to represent them and fight for their rights. You are awesome!"
"Jake, Thanks for all of your help. You have made this a smooth and organized process. While this event was a horrible situation for me, the phone call to you the morning after my DUI was the best thing that I could have done. While it has been a pleasure working with you on my case, please don't take offense when I say that I hope we never have to work together again."
"The only DUI attorney that matters is Jake. Forget any others, as Jake is the only truly qualified DUI attorney in Northern California - perhaps the entire state. I had my fears completely eased by Jake's experience, tenacity, focus and dedication. I felt like I was his only client and that I mattered to him, not financially, but empathetic ally in my legal situation. Sharp, friendly, warm spirited, great sense of humor. I endorse Jake of my own freewill and have had no monies paid to me for these statements. So there."
"After a hellish evening in Santa Rosa, I was unsure where to turn. My DUI, on a day that was supposed to have been a romantic getaway, had become a nightmare. I turned to Jake, and he took care of everything I could have asked for, allowing me to move on with my life. I didn't have to come up to Santa Rosa a single time, and he helped me get a great outcome, with a reduction of charges and lower fines and classes. Thanks for all the help, Jake! I would absolutely recommend him to anyone."
D.R., San Francisco
"Hey D.F., thanks for having the statute forwarded to me. It appears to me that your California DUI lawyer [Dave Jake Schwartz] has done an outstanding job. I am confident that the statute to which you are pleading no contest is not something that would cause Illinois to suspend or revoke your license. Your lawyer couldn't have done a better job given the circumstances. You ought to name your firstborn after him."
Attorney Paul Heinrich, Geneva, Illinois
"I chose Jake after speaking to several other attorneys because it was made clear to me how professional he was and willing to help me to make the best out of my situation. He was very genuine and easily accessible for means of communication when I needed to talk. He helped my life become easier and more manageable after I messed up by making reckless decisions. I highly recommend Jake because he went the distance and more to help me out with my court situation and he will do the same for you!"
E.D., Rohnert Park
"After the going through the shock of getting arrested and spending the night in jail, this first-time offender was totally lost in what to do next. A friend of mine had heard of Jake, and it was the first and only call I made. He was extremely knowledgeable about my rights and what needed to be done next. He gave me options, ideas, and a timeline of what to do and when to do it. Jake saved me a lot of time and allowed me to put this behind me quicker than had I tried to navigate the maze of rules and regulations by myself. Trust the testimonials and allow Jake to put your unfortunate experience behind you."
"Hi Jake, my only regret, other than driving home that night, was that I didn't call you sooner. I was so preoccupied with getting my license back today, that I nearly forgot about my court date yesterday. Thanks for appearing on my behalf. Everything went well at the DMV and I now have my restricted license. They asked if I had contacted their Mandatory Actions Unit, I hadn't. I didn't need to! You provided me with the exact steps to follow. Thanks again."
"Jake Schwartz is the man! The worst part of getting the DUI was the unknown. I had no idea what to expect or do. From the very first phone call, before I had even hired him, Jake was giving me sound advice and explaining the details that I needed to know. I didn’t have time to think and stress about legal paperwork, court dates, or what I was going to have to do to get through this. I didn’t have to, Jake had me covered. It was essential I continue driving for work until my busy season cooled off. Jake made this happen. I would recommend Jake to anyone who has received a DUI in Sonoma County. I almost don’t regret my DUI for the pleasure of working with Jake Schwartz. Thanks for everything Jake!"
"I am sure many folks out there are in a similar situation to the one I was in a few months back: overwhelmed, depressed, and panicked. Trust me: You need to call Jake Schwartz. At the very least, you will benefit from talking to an experienced lawyer like him. And if you decide to hire him, he will give you the time, energy, and support you deserve. You might really luck out like I did - Jake was able to get my DUI knocked down to a Wet Reckless. Hiring Jake was the best decision I made after my admittedly stupid decision to drive after drinking. He saved me so much time, money, and stress!"
J.S., Santa Rosa
"During the extremely stressful experiences that my DUI and Violation of Probation presented to me, Jake truly stood out as someone who not only cared for my well-being but was also entirely effective and successful in advocating for my best interests. I would recommend him highly, and I am grateful for what he brought to what I first felt was a hopeless situation."
B.D., Santa Rosa
"Somehow Jake was able to work miracles for me. He was extremely knowledgeable regarding all aspects of law that needed to be dealt with, not only the DUI. He managed to fight and beat an old hit and run case I didn't even know about, got it dismissed outright, and we avoided a second DUI conviction with some quick thinking and sharp maneuvering. He is very honest, professional and very good at communicating all the options available. Jake will definitely go the extra mile. It seemed to me that he has a passion for what he does and I felt like I wasn't just a client number, a rubber stamp defense, and a paycheck. Thanks Jake – you're the man!"
G.D., Sonoma, CA
"It is difficult to put into words, just how professional and efficient Jake has been throughout this process. He has not only proven to be expert at DUI law, he has shown he will go above and beyond the efforts of most attorneys, and it shows in the results! Jake has been both extremely patient and supportive and has treated me with respect, making a very challenging time a lot less difficult! He deserves the upmost regard and I would not hesitate to recommend him! Thank you Jake."
L.C., Rohnert Park
"Jake was the lifeline we needed. His expertise and knowledge was obvious from the first interview. He went above and beyond at every turn, and supported us throughout a very difficult time. Thanks to this wonderful attorney, my husband finally stands the chance of getting back behind the driving seat sooner than we had anticipated. We will always recommend Jake unreservedly."
"Hey Jake, You did what I thought wasn't possible and got my charges reduced. No jail time and reduced fines. I really appreciate your hard work. I hope nobody I know ever has the unfortunate instance of getting arrested for a DUI but if so I know who I'll recommend. Thanks again Jake!"
S.K., Rohnert Park
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.
Phone Hours: 6am - 6pm Everyday
Fax Only: (707) 540-6056
Dave Jake Schwartz, PC
CA State Bar No. 138607