Napa County Courthouse

Top Ten Tips > Easing the Consequences of a DUI

1. Court Appearances

Napa DUI CourthouseDon't go to Court for a DUI

It is much easier for you if you do not have to take time off work and attend a stressful and confusing appearance in Napa County Superior Court in downtown Napa if we determine that there is no other reason for you to attend. In Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino and Solano Counties, you are not required to attend a court or DMV hearing with your attorney unless there is a substantial hearing where evidence is to be formally introduced and argued in front of a judge or jury. Marin County used to require you to attend any sentencing but now allows your DUI lawyer to appear for all proceedings just like most cases in Napa County.

Do Stay Informed

You can (and should) closely follow the progress of your DUI case by regularly communicating with your Napa DUI lawyer before and after 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, Napa, Marin, Sonoma, Solano or Mendocino), and search for your name. Napa Courts have an online calendar for Napa appearances which lists your name, case number, and the Napa courtroom where your case is being heard. Sonoma Courts and Mendocino Courts have similar online calendars. Marin Courts have San Rafael appearances online weeks in advance.

Sting Photo by JakeDon't Drive to Court With a Suspended License

Important!! If you have a suspended license, don't drive, and if you drive to court in Napa, you stand a chance of being arrested in a sting operation where agents watch in court and then radio to officers waiting to stop you when you drive away from the courthouse. Typically these stings could happen at any time and result in huge additional headaches (not to mention more jail time) for those caught.

A recent Napa Register news article announced such a court sting in Napa County, reporting that Napa police will "have a court sting operation to bring traffic violators to court and suspend their licenses...Officers will guard their cars to make sure the violators don't drive off before their cars are impounded." Sonoma County has conducted such stings for several years: Santa Rosa Court Sting. Have a local Napa DUI lawyer appear for you instead.

If a Warrant Has Been Issued for Your Arrest

If you failed to appear for a court date pursuant to a promise to appear which you signed at the time of your original citation by Napa County law enforcement, then typically in misdemeanor cases a Napa Superior Court Judge will issue a bench warrant for your arrest. If you bailed out of jail after your initial DUI arrest, then usually you must obtain a "Letter of Reassumption" of bail from your bail company (showing that the bail company agrees to resume its obligations to the court on your behalf) before you or your lawyer can successfully place you on the court's calendar to remove the warrant, reinstate the bail, and resume your case. Some Napa bail companies charge additional fees for the letter of reassumption, and some do not. Click here for examples of an Aladdin Letter of Resumption and Romelli Consent to Reinstate.

Sometimes a judge wants to put you in jail for failing to appear following a DUI arrest when ordered to appear, or when you promised to appear. To minimize the chances of being remanded (taken into custody) if you were to appear in court to clear a warrant, retain the services of a local Napa County DUI lawyer instead. A Napa DUI attorney can often quickly place your matter on calendar and then appear for you and explain why you failed to appear, so that you do not have to personally appear with all of the stress and inconvenience, and risk being remanded into custody (sent to jail by the judge). If you cannot afford the convenience and experience of a local Napa DUI lawyer, then when you first appear, before you say anything else, you should ask the judge to appoint the Napa County Public Defender to assist you before the judge decides how to handle the warrant, your bail and custody status, and the remainder of your case.

Custody & Bail Issues.

Novelli Typically people arrested for a Napa DUI are either released by police on their own recognizance ("OR") after being processed and after blowing below 0.08%, or they post bail to be released from jail. Bail is set pursuant to pre-established amounts. These amounts can go up or down depending on a variety of aggravating factors relating to you and your case. If you were not released on OR and you appeared in court while still in custody, then most likely bail was set at that time, or you may have been released on a more comprehensive form of OR called “Supervised Own Recognizance” ("SOR"), where the Napa judge imposed special SOR Conditions on your release. Often a Napa DUI attorney may be able 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 more money for bail.

You can find much more detailed information about bail, Napa DUI lawyers and court appearances on this website at Tips for the First 48 Hours: Hire 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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