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Top Ten Tips > Easing the Consequences of a DUI

5. Court Fines

A good Napa DUI lawyer will explain to you that most counties allow for monthly payments of $75-$100 to ease the financial burden of increasingly higher court fines for a DUI. Be sure to write your case number on each check. Try to pay off the entire amount early to avoid problems which often occur due to lost or forgotten payments. A failure to pay may result in a violation of probation (making a subsequent expungement of your criminal record much more difficult for a Napa County DUI lawyer to perform for you in the future), and may result in reporting to the DMV (resulting in an unanticipated driver license suspension notice in your mailbox).

Additional payment information may be obtained at the Napa County Court's California Service Bureau page. A service-oriented Napa DUI attorney will start the process for you after sentencing, but you must check in with the appropriate office on the same day as sentencing or at the latest the following day, to confirm your first payment date, amounts, addresses and other arrangements. The office entrance (pictured, right) is on the first floor inside of the Napa criminal courthouse in downtown Napa at 1111 Third Street (at Main Street).

Community Service Alternative To DUI Fines

If you cannot afford to pay even a small amount each month, then you may wish to consider discussing the payment alternatives with your Napa DUI lawyer and arranging a community service alternative for you at the time of sentencing in order to reduce or eliminate the court fines. The Court converts your fine to community service at a certain hourly rate. For example, if the hourly rate was $10.00, then you would be required to complete 50 hours of community service within a certain amount of time in order to work off $500.00 of your fine. Only certain portions of fines and fees may be converted to community service.

Don't Pay A Reimbursement Bill From a Police Agency or Hospital Before Speaking To a Lawyer!

You may receive 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 Napa County taxpayer and may have already paid for the police department, the police car, and the salary of the police officer whose arrest you are now fighting, still, in these tough economic times Napa County agencies may try to bill you for reimbursement of their costs for the actual arrest incident pursuant to Government Code Section 53150. See a recent example here of a Santa Rosa City "Invoice." Although an invoice pursuant to this law may be valid if emergency personnel were required to respond (for example an ambulance, paramedics or fire trucks responding to an accident scene, or more CHP officers to manage traffic interruption), nevertheless, the California Appeals Court for Napa County has ruled that an ordinary arrest for DUI is not a sufficient trigger event to require reimbursement under this law. See, California Highway Patrol V. Superior Court (Allende) (1st Dist 2006) 135 C.A.4th 488.

A recent example. A recent CHP invoice (issued by that agency 2 years after the above appeals case was decided) which was sent to one of Jake's DUI clients involved in an uneventful DUI arrest, states that "the defendant herein shall pay to CHP the total indicated below" which lists 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 misleading mandatory "shall" language in the invoice (completely contrary to controlling law in this jurisdiction) from an agency whose leaders are sworn to uphold and enforce the law, and he advised this client not to pay the bill.

Although failure to pay may result in a lawsuit by the arresting agency, or cause an item to be referred to a collection and risk a negative credit incident, such negative effects of asserting consumer rights may be negated with vigilance and protest when, as in the case above, the claimed debt is disputed and invalid. Many people never hear from the police agency again. If a lawsuit is filed by the Napa County police or other agency seeking reimbursement, the defendant will have the opportunity to challenge the collection attempt and claimed amounts. DUI defendants should always consult with a Napa DUI lawyer about the individual circumstances of an arrest before being intimidated into paying any such invoice from Napa County law enforcement or other agencies. See the more comprehensive discussion on this site about the Allende case, and developments since this case was first published, under Hire a Lawyer.

You might get a bill from the hospital. Often a DUI arrest involves a blood test, 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 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.

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. If you received such a bill (click here for an example of a hospital bill for blood draw), then you should discuss it with a DUI attorney before paying it. Always discuss your individual circumstances with a Napa County DUI lawyer because they may affect the actual advice given to you in your unique case.

DUI defendants should always consult with a Napa DUI lawyer about the individual circumstances of an arrest before being intimidated into paying any such invoice from Napa County, a hospital, or state law enforcement agencies.

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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, Wine Country resident for over 20 years, handles only DUI cases, including thousands of North Bay 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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