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Top Ten Tips > Easing the Consequences of a DUI

7. Jail Alternatives

work release applicationMost people consider staying out of jail to be the highest priority, second perhaps only to wanting a complete dismissal of charges or preserving driving privileges. While it is true that most misdemeanors in California carry a risk of up to six months in jail, nevertheless Napa County typically sentences two days of jail for a standard first DUI. Even two days is not required by law, and sometimes a local Napa DUI lawyer can avoid such a sentence. Your attorney should discuss your specific exposure with you so that you understand the realistic gravity of your case.

The best Napa DUI lawyers will tell you that If your arrest occurred during probation on a prior DUI (see the "Court Probation" discussion in Tip #6 above), then you may be at risk for an additional 10-30 days of jail in that case at the time of sentencing on the new matter. If your blood alcohol was relatively high (over .15%) or you refused to provide a sample of your breath or blood at the time of arrest, or other aggravating factors or charges are present in your case, then you may be at risk for an additional 2-5 days of jail or more in any subsequent Napa County court sentencing. (CVC 23578). An allegation of speeding 20 to 30 mph over the limit (depending on what kind of street) coupled with an allegation of reckless driving while over .08 (or .01 if under age 21) exposes you to an additional 60 days county jail. (CVC 23582). DUI's with a minor passenger (under age 14) adds at least 2 days jail and up to ninety! (CVC 23572). A typical Napa County case with a higher alcohol level, an accident and uninjured youngsters in the vehicle may result in 10 additional days.

Your Napa DUI lawyer should argue any compelling situations and any legal weaknesses in the Napa County prosecutor's case to bargain down the total number of jail days demanded by the District Attorney. If you were not released immediately after arrest and therefore you spent time in the Napa County (or other local) jail, then tell your Napa DUI attorney how long, and we may be able to obtain credits against any subsequent Napa County jail sentence

If this is your second or higher DUI and you are ready to acknowledge a significant alcohol problem in your life, then jail alternatives or residential treatment (see "Self-Help" resources on the Resources page of this site) may be advisable, not only for confronting abuse or addiction, but also a tool for your Napa County DUI attorney to try to shorten any jail sentence.

"Volunteer" Work

CCC Program. Most counties, including Napa, offer "Work Release" or sheriff's alternative work program ("SWAP") which is a jail alternative where you perform designated community service with the county under the supervision of the Sheriff's department, instead of going to jail, avoiding actual incarceration behind bars. Certain allowances may be made with proof of legitimate physical limitations. Typically this is the most flexible, least intrusive jail alternative available. Napa County usually requires that defendants report to the jail to obtain an application after sentencing (your Napa DUI lawyer should help you to complete all of this with you) or else you will lose the opportunity to perform community service rather than turning yourself in to jail for actual incarceration. Review this CCC Questionnaire so you will be prepared when handed the actual forms. Click here for Napa County’s jail alternatives and CCC work program details: Work Program. This program is available in most cases with jail sentences of less than 30-60 days.

Typically, in order to obtain the Work Alternative to jail, defendants pick up and turn the application at the Department of Corrections office located right next to the Criminal Courthouse in downtown Napa:

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Show & Release: Good Napa DUI lawyers should tell you that if you are sentenced to a term of jail and you have just four days or less to serve (sometimes up to ten days or more), then upon turning in the above CCC questionnaire to the Department of Corrections (see map below), you will likely receive a call to come in for an appointment with a Napa County Deputy "Classification Specialist" who will speak with you for ten to fifteen minutes, and then hand you a Napa Remand Change Order essentially deeming your sentence completed following that short meeting, due to jail overcrowding and the manner in which jail credits are currently calculated. Napa DUI attorneys who understand this process can give their DUI clients the comfort of knowing they will not be taken into actual custody in most such cases.

Court Work Program. Typically, your Napa DUI attorney will tell you that if you have been directed to complete the separate "Court Work Program" as part of a court-ordered sentence, you must first appear at the Post Court Services Division of the Napa Superior Court, 1111 Third Street, 1st Floor, (707) 299-1181, to complete the referral paperwork. You will be given a list of locations where the work can be performed as well as a compliance date and an hours sheet. Failure to appear at Post Court Services, the assigned agency or failure to complete the time ordered could result in a warrant for your arrest.

Home Electronic Confinement, Work Furlough and Other Alternatives

male CAMThe best Napa DUI lawyers should be able to explain to you that even if this is your second or higher DUI, or this is your first DUI but additional aggravating factors are present which might make the above jail alternatives unavailable or impractiacl, it may be advantageous to try to negotiate other alternatives to incarceration.

female CAM

In contrast to other counties, Napa County typically does not allow arrangement for the home confinement ankle bracelet (electronic monitoring) alternative to actual incarceration at the time of sentencing unless extreme medical conditions can be shown. This jail alternative does exist, but the program is only available following initial incarceration and after a thorough and detailed application procedure, usually after a predetermined period of actual custody.

However, work furlough (jail at night) and weekends are often available which both allow you to go to work, preserving jobs and family income. The addition of a secure continuous remote alcohol monitor ("SCRAM") device (pictured here) to any sentencing scheme may convince a judge in a particular case to allow such alternatives to jail even in relatively bad cases.

It is critical to discuss alternatives with your local Napa County DUI lawyer well before sentencing to ensure that proper negotiating and arrangements are accomplished to maximize your ability to take advantage of available alternatives to incarceration.


Any result portrayed was dependent on the facts of that case, and the results will differ if based on different facts.

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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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