Napa County Courthouse

Top Ten Questions > From Everyone

4. Should I get a lawyer?

4. Should I get a lawyer?

Hire a LawyerYes, a Napa County DUI is serious and complicated. Don't act on casual advice to fight this by yourself (see, Ten Tips for the First 48 Hours: Don't Follow Bad Advice), or even worse, don't simply walk into court alone to "accept responsibility" and ask for leniency. Many people believe that a case may be dismissed or penalties avoided or reduced because they've never been in trouble before, or because they will face substantial hardship if convicted, but it just doesn't work that way. Understand that the court does not see alleged DUI offenders as victims regardless of the degree of hardship that would be suffered with a DUI conviction. Rather, it is legal issues which make the difference in most cases. Napa DUI lawyers are prepared for a variety of aggravating factors which can make a DUI case much worse, and lawyers seek out and utilize a variety of legal defenses which can make a DUI case much better. Only lawyers are specifically trained to identify and employ all of these factors and defenses on your behalf to successfully reduce or dismiss a DUI case, or soften the blow.

In addition, there are also piles of legal issues, bureaucratic tasks, and huge inconveniences in every DUI case which a local Napa County DUI lawyer can help you to navigate, or completely avoid. If you don't see how involved and complex even a first DUI can be in Napa County without a DUI lawyer, then click on Anatomy of a Napa DUI on this site and see the many different directions a Napa DUI case can go, as well as the burdensome collection of obligations, timetables and tasks to perform. And don't drive to court with a suspended license; click to see the Napa Court Sting. Have a DUI lawyer go for you instead.

Anatomy of a DUIWill your absence be noticed by the court or required by your Napa DUI attorney? No, in most cases court appearances are strictly procedural. Unless special circumstances are present, judges do not wish to speak to a defendant at such proceedings and your absence or presence will go unnoticed. Clients who live in Napa, St. Helena or elsewhere in Napa 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 Napa County DUI lawyer will explain the entire process. To start, click here to see Jake's comprehensive Anatomy of a Napa 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. Jake routinely makes available to our clients the police reports and other DUI case documents after court appearances.

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

A good local Napa DUI lawyer will get you the best resolution, properly handled with the least stress and confusion, which is well worth a reasonable fee. If you already know you cannot afford to hire a private lawyer, then consider requesting a public defender. Click on Ten Tips for the First 48 Hours after Arrest on this site for a more detailed discussion about getting a DUI lawyer. Watch our Napa DUI lawyer Video Short discussing why to hire a lawyer. Consult with a Napa DUI lawyer about your specific case.


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.



Phone Hours: 6am - 6pm Everyday

Fax Only: (707) 540-6056

Dave Jake Schwartz, PC

California State Bar No. 138607

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Dave Jake Schwartz