Napa County Courthouse

Top Ten Tips > First 48 Hours

4. Calendar Court Date

One of the first questions from a good Napa County DUI lawyer will be "what is your first court date?" If you don't know the first court date, or worse, you ignore your first court date in Napa, or forget to appear in Napa County Superior Court, then the court will most likely immediately issue a bench warrant for your arrest. Such a development would likely lead to severe inconvenience to you (including arrest and incarceration), and would later look bad to the court. We prefer to have a Judge smile rather than frown at the first court appearance. Private Napa DUI attorneys appear for their clients in Napa County Superior Court (and sometimes in Traffic or Juvenile Court too) to ensure that no warrant is issued, to protect any bail you posted, and to start your case properly in front of the court, sparing you the embarrassment, stress and inconvenience of having to personally appear on your own.

The Napa Criminal Court location is pictured here, at 1111 Third Street, Napa, CA 94559 (see map):

Napa County Court

Court date on "Cite Release"

If you were booked into the Napa County jail, and then subsequently released without being required to post bail, your Napa DUI lawyer will want you to find the "Cite Release" paper which you were likely handed upon discharge from the jail. This paper indicates your first court date in the first full paragraph on the middle of the page. Click here for an example of a Napa DUI Cite Release with the first court date indicated.

Court date on citation

If you were not taken to the county jail, but rather you were released at the scene, or released later from a local police station, then you were likely handed a citation or "Notice to Appear," that looks much like a typical speeding ticket. If you were handed such a citation, then you can find your first court date at the bottom of that paper. Click below to see samples of typical Napa County citations showing an arrestee's first court date at the bottom of the front side of the Notice to Appear, and additional information on the reverse:

CHP citation

Calistoga Police Department citation

Napa County Dept of Corrections "Cite Release"

Napa County Jail Release Cite Report (old)

Napa Police Department citation

Parks and Recreation citation

St. Helena Police Department citation

Court date on bail papers

If you did not receive a citation, or it has no court date, but you bailed out of jail, then your Napa DUI attorney will tell you that your bail receipt, or Statement of Charges, or calendaring sheet should have your court date listed. Click here for examples of your first court date listed on an Aladdin Bail Receipt, or Aladdin Statement Of Charges, or a Romelli Bail Receipt. If you paid a cash bail directly to the court rather than using a bail company, then click here to see an example of a Cash Bail Receipt page where the first court date is hand-written at the bottom, or a small Jail Receipt where the first court date is printed at the bottom.

District Attorney cite letter

Sometimes no citation is issued at the time of an incident (often after an accident), or a defendant shows for court at the time listed and there are no charges, or for some other reason a defendant receives a Cite Letter from the Napa County District Attorney, listing a first court date to appear, and typically a request to present oneself for booking and release one week prior to the court date if booking was not performed following the incident in question. A copy of the criminal complaint with the charges to be filed is usually attached, indicating a case number and other information of use to your DUI lawyer. This is the time to hire a Napa DUI attorney if not already accomplished.

With respect to any request to appear for booking, most Napa DUI lawyers are aware of PC 853.6(g) which allows for such a booking procedure, but this statute provides that failure to comply with the request to present for booking prior to court simply results in an order from the judge to do so before the next court appearance.

Juvenile drivers

Juvenile DUIs (under age 18) are usually treated differently than adult DUIs in Napa County.

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The juvenile probation department in Napa is typically first to become involved, and will usually contact a juvenile and his/her parents with a letter several weeks after the arrest, requesting an interview about family life, school, and substance abuse. Click here to see similar example in Sonoma County of such a Probation Letter.

A Napa DUI lawyer may accompany the juvenile and parents to this probation interview. A decision will be made whether to recommend Napa County juvenile court proceedings.

Haven't hired a lawyer yet?

If you cannot decide what to do before your first appearance, you may stand up in court in Napa when your case is called, and tell the judge that you need additional time to speak with a Napa DUI lawyer. If you cannot afford to hire a private DUI lawyer, then you may appear at the first court date and before saying anything else, ask for a public defender to be appointed (note: Napa County public defenders do not contact DMV for you or handle DMV hearings). The reasons listed above for getting a Napa DUI lawyer apply whether you are paying for a private attorney or using a publically appointed attorney. Get a lawyer!


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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