The First 48 Hours After a DUI | Getting Your Driver's License Back | Easing the Consequences of a DUI | Fighting a Mendocino DUI
- Court Appearances
- Driver's License
- DUI Classes
- Court Fines
- Court Probation
- Jail Alternatives
- Effects of a DUI on Various Jobs & Careers
- Fix Trigger Problems
- Expunge a Mendocino DUI
Don'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 Mendocino County Superior Court in downtown Ukiah if we determine that there is no other reason for you to attend. In Mendocino, Napa, Sonoma, 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 Mendocino County.
Do Stay Informed
You can (and should) closely follow the progress of your DUI case by regularly communicating with your Mendocino 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, Mendocino, Marin, Sonoma, Solano or Napa), 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.
Don'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 Mendocino, 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 Ukiah 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 notice to appear which you signed at the time of your original citation by Mendocino County law enforcement, then typically in misdemeanor cases a Mendocino 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 Mendocino 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 Mendocino County DUI lawyer instead. A Ukiah 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 Mendocino DUI lawyer, then when you first appear, before you say anything else, you should ask the judge to appoint the Mendocino 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
Typically people arrested for DUI are either released by police on their own recognizance ("OR") after being processed, or post bail to be released. These amounts can go up or down depending on a variety of 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" or "Conditions of Pre-trial Release"), where the Ukiah judge imposed special SOR Conditions on your release. Often a Mendocino County 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, lawyers and court appearances on this website at Tips for the First 48 Hours: Hire a Lawyer.
Timing is Critical
The best Mendocino DUI lawyers will explain that if we can't dismiss or reduce a DUI case, then usually there will be some kind of driver's license suspension, but if your DUI arrest or detention occurred on or after January 1, 2019, then in most cases it is possible to avoid any required time off the road if certain tasks are accomplished in a timely fashion prior to the effective date of the applicable suspension period. Consult with a Ukiah DUI lawyer, or see our first couple of tips on this site under Ten Tips for Getting Your License Back, to determine if a driver's license suspension is likely in your specific situation. If so, then be sure to try to avoid any actual time off the road by thinking ahead and getting organized so that you are ready to convert a suspension into an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) breathalyzer restricted license or a "work" restricted license on the first day that the suspension is due to start.
DUI Program Classes
If you don't have a good Mendocino County DUI lawyer, or contacted us too late, and there is no "stay" (delay) of the driving suspension in place (see, Contacting DMV), then typically it is best to immediately sign up for the DUI Program classes ("DDP"). In Mendocino County, the most commonly referred program is located on South State Street in Ukiah (see Google map below). Click here for a description of historic Mendocino DUI Programs. You can find more information about the Ukiah DUI Program by clicking here for the Mendocino DUI Program Weblisting. Detailed information and important tips about the Mendocino County DDP can be found here in Tip #4 of this section.
Click here for Napa DDP or Sonoma DDP, or Marin DDP information. Sonoma, Napa, and Marin Counties each have only one DUI program. Mendocino has more. Usually DUI programs have a waiting list to enroll, so if you wait too long, then you might suffer an unnecessary suspension period, or it may be unnecessarily longer than required. You can find early contact information on this site for Sonoma, Napa, Marin and Mendocino, and other counties by clicking on our Mendocino DUI Lawyer DDP Resources and choosing any of the drinking driver DUI Program links. Sonoma, Napa, Marin, Mendocino and all the state-licensed drinking driver DUI programs are listed.
Related, Mendocino County courts typically require that you sign up with the DUI program within 21 days of a DUI conviction or else you must go back to the court to be re-referred. If you fail to convert your suspended license to a restricted "work" or breathalyzer license, and as a result you are arrested for driving on a suspended license due to a DUI, the penalty exposure is severe and expensive, including a mandatory minimum 10-day jail sentence plus more jail for violating DUI probation. Talk to your Ukiah DUI lawyer about the best time to enroll and then don't delay.
IID & SR-22
If there is no stay of suspension in place, and you are not electing or eligible for the work-only license, then in most DUI cases it is also a good idea to timely install an IID breathalyzer (see Tip #1 under Ten Tips for Getting Your License Back, and our Mendocino DUI Lawyer IID Resources), and if there is no stay then in most cases it is best to file an SR22 Insurance Form with the Ukiah DMV (see Tip #3 under "Insurance" above) Once these tasks are accomplished, most drivers are eligile for an immediate restricted license upon payment of fees at the local DMV field office. All of these steps must be accomplished in advance and electronically evident before a restricted license will be issued at a DMV field office. The best Mendocino DUI attorneys will help navigate you to properly accomplish each of these tasks.
Consult with a Mendocino County DUI attorney to see if your individual circumstances might prevent eligibility for one or more of these restricted licenses (for example, a drug DUI, chemical test refusal cases, under-21 cases, some probation violation cases, some pre-2019 and pre-2010 arrest dates, and other atypical prior/present offense combinations, etc.).
Client comment: "After I was arrested for a DUI, the police officer told me that if I go to AA meetings prior to my first court date, then when I go to court, I can show them that I'm going to AA and they're more likely to give me a restricted license."
Ryan's answer to this client: Great example of cops giving wrong legal advice; your case is a first DUI with no test refusal or other aggravating factors, so you have a right to a restricted license by following the proper DMV procedures; it has nothing to do with AA meetings or the court!
Who is Eligible for the Restricted License?
In a typical first offense Mendocino DUI case (arrest or detention date after 1/1/19, alcohol-related, age 21 or older, no allegation of injury or refusal to give a chemical test), with no other aggravating circumstances, and no viable legal defenses or other mitigating factors, a good Mendocino DUI lawyer will explain that most drivers may avoid a suspension of driving privileges by obtaining either (1) an IID breathalyzer restricted license, or (2) a 12-month "work" license if the court doesn't order the IID breathalyzer. In either option, the restricted license may be issued at any local DMV office upon payment of fees once the DMV has electronic evidence of installation of the IID (if applicable), DUI program enrollment and SR-22 filing.
In a typical second offense Mendocino DUI case, with an arrest date on or after 1/1/19, no aggravating circumstances, and no viable legal defenses or other mitigating factors, the best Ukiah DUI attorneys will explain that most drivers may avoid a suspension of driving privileges by obtaining an IID breathalyzer restricted license at any local DMV office upon payment of fees once the DMV has electronic evidence of installation of the IID, DUI program enrollment and SR-22 filing.
If the date of arrest is prior to 1/1/19, then older laws applicable to most first offense DUI cases allow for a restricted work license, but only after 30 days of no driving (regardless of hardship). For most second or third offense DUI cases, the older laws allow for an IID breathalyzer restricted license after 90 days or six months of no driving, respectively (or a work license after one year of no driving in second offense cases), if required tasks are accomplished. If the date of the DUI arrest is prior to 2010, then in most multiple offender cases there is no possibility of restricted driving privileges (regardless of hardship) for at least one year unless the separate DMV case is successfully litigated.
You can find additional detailed discussion about getting your license back by clicking on Ten Tips For Getting Your Driver License Back on this site.
What is the Restricted License?
A DMV suspension of driving privileges due to a DUI may result from a court conviction or from the DMV's separate administrative proceedings (typically from both). To see detailed descriptions of these suspensions, click on Ten Tips For Getting Your Driver License Back on this site. Typically, suspension periods last from four months to three years or more depending on the circumstances. In most cases the suspension time can be shortened after a mandatory period off the road, or avoided altogether, by obtaining limited driving privileges (called a "restricted license") which lasts for the balance of the longest of any pending suspension periods. For a first offense DUI, this special license is usually "restricted" to either (1) only driving in a vehicle equipped with an IID breathalyzer, or (2) only driving to, from and in the course of employment or the DUI classes. For multiple offense DUIs, typically only the IID breathalyzer restriction is available.
Getting the Restricted License
Understand that the Ukiah DMV does not automatically send the restricted license to you, and your Mendocino DUI attorney cannot get it for you; rather, in a typical case you must accomplish the tasks described above and then go to the Ukiah, Santa Rosa or Petaluma DMV satellite office and pay a fee to obtain the restricted license.
The license issued to you at Ukiah DMV will be a new 8-1/2 x 11 or 8-1/2 x 5 temporary license (see example pictured here). Usually your new regular plastic picture license (which will look like the one you had before except the restrictions are printed on the reverse) will be mailed to you from Sacramento following satisfaction of the above tasks and payment of the fee at a local DMV field office. The Ukiah DMV is located at 542 S. Orchard Avenue, Ukiah, 95482, the Santa Rosa DMV is located at 2570 Corby Avenue, and the Petaluma DMV is located at 715 South Point Blvd.
Be Sure DMV Has Your Correct Mailing Address
If DMV has an old mailing address (for example, outside of Mendocino County) then you might not receive critical notices in a Mendocino DUI case, which could provide a time-sensitive right to a hearing (sometimes only 10 days), or give you a date for the start of a driving suspension, or send you a new temporary or permanent license, which are usually sent to you at your address on record at DMV. Note that copies of many (but not all) hearing-related notices are sent to your Mendocino DUI attorney so that you can get copies from him/her.
Because the Vehicle Code requires you to provide a change of address to DMV within 10 days of obtaining a new address, typically you are not permitted to complain if DMV sends important documents to an old address on its records. In order to allow your Mendocino County DUI lawyer to react quickly and challenge notices of wrong or unfair decisions or planned actions against you, you must ensure that DMV has your correct address unless there is a compelling reason not give official notice. If you wish, you may visit the Ukiah or Santa Rosa DMV office to submit a Mendocino County change of address, or click here to Print and Mail Change of Address Form, or here to Update Your Address Online, if DMV has an old address.
The Under Age 21 Critical Need Restricted Driver License
If you are under age 21 and lost your license due to a first Mendocino DUI or zero tolerance (under age 21 DUI case), then you may wish to consider asking your Mendocino DUI attorney about applying for a critical need license to drive if you believe you can adequately show the DMV that public transportation in your area is not sufficient to accomplish your transport to and from work or school or you are the primary driver for transporting a family member to medical appointments.
Using A Lawyer May Save Unnecessary Delay. It is often extremely helpful to ask a local Mendocino County DUI lawyer to provide and review this critical need application so that eligible minors may minimize the possibility of denial of application. A Ukiah DUI lawyer will be sure that the entire application is complete, including all required signatures from parents, school officials, employers and/or doctors. We review applications to ensure there is adequate supporting information which we know the DMV Sacramento office looks for, such as Mendocino County bus schedules, supplemental explanations, and additional documentation of any kind which may support the application.
Improve Your Chances of Being Approved. This is the type of advice Ukiah DUI lawyers should provide: make no mistake, the DMV only grants under-21 restricted licenses for truly critical needs. So for example, getting a job on the coast, and/or enrolling in a class or two at the Santa Rosa Junior College or a trade school in Napa, would typically increase chances of getting a limited license to accomplish such transportation.
The Requirement. If you are convicted of a DUI or lose the DMV hearing, good Sonoma County DUI lawyers should warn you that you will likely be required to obtain an SR22 Insurance Policy from an insurance company to file with the DMV before becoming eligible for reinstatement of any kind of driving privileges. The typical required duration for an SR-22 in Mendocino County is three years.
What is an SR-22. Your Mendocino County DUI attorney should explain to you that this special form of insurance called an SR 22 is basically a promise from your insurance company to inform the DMV if you ever lose insurance; this is assurance, or a guarantee, from an insurance company to the DMV that you have insurance. Naturally, prior to this filing requirement, no one would have known whether you have insurance or not. The purpose of this new requirement following a Mendocino DUI conviction or DMV finding, is to empower DMV to suspend your license immediately upon you losing insurance or becoming uninsured. SR-22s are required for licensing several kinds of higher risk drivers, including those who suffer a DUI conviction or DUI-related license suspension in Mendocino County. For answers to many frequently asked questions about SR-22s, see CarInsurance SR22 Insurance FAQs.
How is it Filed? The SR-22 must be filed with DMV before you can re-obtain driving privileges of any kind following most Mendocino County DUI convictions. Some insurance companies transmit the form directly to Sacramento DMV in a matter of hours after your request, and others take up to several weeks and actually mail the original to you for you to file directly with the Ukiah DMV. DUI attorneys see SR-22s in lots of different shapes and sizes. Click on the picture to see a sample SR-22 form, or the following links to see older versions of SR-22 forms: Sample SR-22 Form, Triple A's SR-22 Form, Allstate's SR-22 Form, Sample Electronic SR-22 Receipt.
How Much Does it Cost? Mendocino County DUI lawyers will tell you to shop around. The simple fact of a DUI should not result in cancellation of your insurance policy. Some aggressive companies may cancel you (see for example this State Farm Cancellation for a single DUI) but offer you a different policy with a subsidiary company, and regardless, many insurance companies offer insurance, and this SR-22 form, to people with one or more DUIs, but this may be a good time to shop for the most affordable insurance for your unique situation.
In addition, Ukiah DUI attorneys will tell you that we believe it is the insurance industry which caused this reporting and filing requirement; if you were not required to call your insurance company to ask for this special DUI form, then your insurance company often would not know that you suffered a DUI conviction, at least until policy renewal, and sometimes not for years, and your rates would not double or triple as depicted in the Insurancequotes.com statistics pictured here (partial thumbnail pic; click link to see comprehensive article and click pic to see larger table).
If you do not wish to inform your current insurance company of a DUI conviction, or your company refuses to issue an SR-22 until you jump hoops or unless certain conditions are satisfied, then you may wish to seriously consider contacting a knowledgeable but different insurance company that will issue the SR22 at the time you want it, such as Breathe Easy Insurance Solutions, Your DUI Solutions, John Macdonald Insurance Service, or Serenity Insurance, without immediately increasing your rates with your current company (these are not endorsements but resources to check out for SR-22s if you like the company, their explanations, fees, and service). At least one of the above insurance companies states they can often prevent any increase at all if properly timed.
You should discuss with your Mendocino County DUI attorney the timing and manner of complying with insurance requirements; it is possible to save thousands of dollars with respect to insurance rates and increases. In most cases, it is a serious mistake to blindly call your insurance company, or respond to a "cold call" SR-22 advertisement or mailer following a Mendocino DUI arrest, when there are "thinking outside the box" solutions to the dramatic insurance increases depicted above.
You can find additional information on Ryan's Mendocino DUI lawyer website about SR-22 insurance by clicking on SR-22 Resources and then clicking on links under "Insurance" including an FAQ search engine which contains an answer bank for many common insurance and SR-22 questions such as rate increases, multiple vehicles or insured parties, interplay with other types of policies, out of state requirements, etc.
Low Cost Insurance (not SR-22)
If you simply need insurance to get your driver license back, but you cannot afford insurance, then click here on California Low Cost Auto Insurance Program for information about Mendocino County's participation in the state sponsored low income insurance program. Note: this program does not offer the SR-22.
What is DUI Class?
If you are convicted of a DUI in Mendocino County or anywhere else in California, you will likely be ordered to complete a California-licensed drinking driver DUI Program ("DDP"), now simply called the "DUI Program." The best Mendocino County DUI attorneys will explain to you that the DUI program is a series of once-per-week, two to three-hour classes consisting of an "Education Curriculum" with videos, lectures and group discussions including resource materials on DUI law, court requirements, substance abuse and problem drinking. Extended programs for higher alcohol levels or multiple DUI convictions include additional individual and group counseling as well as community re-entry activities.
Classes are typically held morning, afternoon and evening most days of the week; usually the DUI program will allow you to pick the day of the week and the time of day, and attend that same class weekly until completion. The court is required to order DUI program enrollment and completion in nearly all DUI cases (see "Court Probation" in Tip #6 in this section of Mendocino County DUI Lawyer: Easing the Consequences of a DUI). Your Ukiah DUI lawyer should tell you that timely enrollment (typically within 21 days of a DUI conviction) and completion is required by the court in order to avoid an arrest warrant for failure to comply with sentencing orders after a case is over, and also required separately by DMV in order to regain driving privileges at the earliest opportunity.
Online DUI Program Classes
Nope, these are generally unavailable to California residents. An awesome Mendocino DUI lawyer like Ryan may be able to obtain a rare online DUI program allowance from the court for certain kinds of cases or clients in certain situations (see, principally, "Non-California Residents" at the end of this discussion), but the California DMV does not recognize online DUI program enrollment or completion for purposes of reissuing a driver license following a DMV suspension due to a DUI conviction, and since most people prioritize getting their license back, the online program is not an option in most cases.
First Offenders Six-Week Wet Reckless Program (SB 1176): 12 hour Education Program. Note that this program does not qualify most drivers for early restricted license privileges (See Veh. Code Sections 13353.7, 23538(b)) unless, per Veh. Code Section 13353.2(e), your Mendocino DUI attorney also wins the separate DMV administrative hearing (Veh. Code Section 23103.5(e)).
First Offenders Three-Month DUI Program (AB 541): 30 hours Education Program and Group Counseling. This is the most common DUI program ordered for first offense Mendocino County DUI convictions (Veh. Code Section 23538(b)(1), H&S Code Section 11837(c)(1)).
First Offenders Extended Six-Month DUI Program (AB 762): 45 hours Education Program and Group Counseling. Many counties require this intermediate extended first offense DUI program for cases where alcohol levels were alleged at or above 0.15% (Veh. Code Section 23578).
First Offenders (and Multiple Offense Wet Reckless Offenders) Extended Nine-Month DUI Program (AB 1353): 60 hours Education Program and Group Counseling. This program is typically ordered for first offense refusal cases (refused to give chemical sample at time of arrest), or first offense cases where alcohol levels were alleged at or above 0.20%, and for Mendocino DUI cases with prior offenses alleged where the new case resolves as a "Wet Reckless" (Veh. Code Section 23538(b)(2), 23103.5(f)(1), H&S Code Section 11837(c)(2)).
Multiple Offenders 18-Month DUI Program (SB 38): 78 hours Education Program and Group Counseling. The Group Counseling component of the program combines 52 hours of weekly group process sessions with individual interviews every other week. The final six-month phase of the program consists of the Community Re-entry component with one-hour group sessions once per month and four hours per month of community re-entry activity. This is the most common DUI program ordered for multiple offense Mendocino County DUI convictions (in other words, new DUI case with prior DUI conviction(s) within 10 years of new arrest--10 year period measured from arrest date of old case to arrest date of new case). (Veh. Code Section 23542(b)(1)).
Multiple Offenders 30-Month DUI Program (SB 1365): 30-months of Education Program and Group Counseling. This program is offered in very few counties (not Mendocino County or any other North Bay county) and may be a significant alternative to increased jail time in certain multiple offense DUI cases (Veh. Code Section 23548(b)).
Client Comment: Ryan, at enrollment they told me to sign up for the 9-month class because my alcohol levels were above .20%, and the DMV might not give me back my license after 30 days if I don't sign up for the longer class required by DMV, but after sentencing you told me to sign up for the shorter class. What should I do? Ryan's Reply: DUI program "counselors" often believe that it's up to the DMV which class you take, but the law authorizes the Court to make the decision which class is required for first offenders, not the DMV. In your case I was able to get the high blood alcohol allegation dismissed and the shorter class ordered, so even though your counselor says it would be safer to take the longer (more expensive) class, he is absolutely wrong in your case. Following his advice would have landed nearly twice as much money for the DUI program, and cost you three times the number of classes, so I'm glad you checked with your DUI lawyer before following his directions.
In Mendocino County, there are several drinking driver programs ("DDP"), also now called "DUI programs." Lucky Deuce offers DUI programs in Ukiah, Willits, Fort Bragg, and Laytonville. Click here for Mendocino County's DUI Programs, or here for the Sonoma County DUI Program, or here for Napa's DUI Program, or here for Marin's DUI Program.
Enroll In Your Own County Of Residence
If you live or work in a county other than Mendocino, talk to your DUI lawyer or the DUI program about transferring to the most convenient program, such as Lakeport, Santa Rosa, San Rafael, Napa, or one of many programs in San Francisco.
You can find early contact information on this site by clicking on Resources and then under "DUI compliance" click on one of the drinking driver program links. Mendocino, Lake, Sonoma, Napa, Marin and all the state-licensed DDPs are listed.
Be prepared and know what you're doing. In Mendocino County you must sign up in Ukiah, Willits or Fort Bragg within 21 days of sentencing if you have not already done so. Take a check for the initial fee. Before you enroll, ask your Ukiah DUI attorney which program length is correct, rather than relying on information or "advice" from the DUI program staff. You may risk DMV rejecting re-licensing or other bureaucratic messes by enrolling in the wrong DUI program without competent legal advice from a Mendocino County DUI lawyer. You must start classes within 21 days of enrollment. 9 CCR 9848. Programs are required to offer a sliding scale for fees depending on ability to pay. 9 CCR 9879. Programs offer monthly payments to accomplish the DUI program fee. Be sure to keep your Payment Receipt.
Client comment: "Ryan, I survived DUI class initiation. It's kinda funny that they said everything you said they would; it was scary. I thought a few times that they were going to deny me."
Client comment: "As you said would happen, when I went to sign up for the DUI classes I was told it didn’t matter how the court ruled in my case, it is what the DMV has as my BAC when I was arrested that matters...I just told the social worker I would check it out and only signed up for the three-month course." Ryan replies: In this client's case, the DUI program was absolutely wrong in its interpretation of applicable law, and, coincidentally, would have collected more money from my client if he had followed the misleading advice from the program official rather than the correct advice from his DUI lawyer.
Client comment: "Thanks for the letter and the instructions on how to proceed. I went to my DUI orientation class yesterday...I believe I was the only person in a the very full room who had not lost their license. I sat next to a woman with a heavy Russian accent who told me a bit of her story. At the end I concluded that either [a] she had been taken advantage of and had a truly terrible lawyer, or [b] she was lying convincingly. I gave her your name in case it was the former but she said that it was a done deal. There were lots of people who asked questions indicating that they had been misinformed or underinformed by their lawyers. The DUI Program staff people stated repeatedly that DUI lawyers don't know the law around this and call them with questions every day. I have to say, I knew the right answers to any questions that pertained to my own situation, though I did not offer this information. Thanks for helping me through this. I have not yet but will definitely write a recommendation for you to post on your incredible website if you like. Your resource lists and links are so extensive and detailed, they would make a social service agency proud."
Be sure you can supply your Mendocino County superior court case number, and a Form H-6 driver license history which you can obtain for a nominal fee at the DMV prior to enrollment (always make copies to leave at home). You should be permitted to enroll as long as you bring these materials or a court minute order sentencing document. (see, State Letter Re: Enrollment Documents). If you hired a Mendocino County DUI defense lawyer to handle your DMV hearing, then typically the Santa Rosa DMV already sent a copy of your H-6 printout to your lawyer and you may ask him/her for a free copy. If there are further questions about your ability to enroll, call your attorney while you are still at the DDP program office so that you can properly and timely accomplish your enrollment while minimizing your stress and inconvenience.
Client comment: "After that they gave me a hard time about where I got my "H6" form and acted like it wasn't good enough. In the end, it worked. (I used the DMV record you emailed with my case # written on it). They were somewhat flexible on the schedule. For somebody like me it sucks no matter what... at least it will be over in 10 weeks. They also pushed out my first class a bit to help assure I'd have my restricted license to get me to and from the classes on my own. I just wanted to let you know, so you could share with other clients who may ask specific questions."
Ability to Pay Program Fees
DUI programs are notorious for failing to offer financial needs assessments even though they are required to do so.
Client comment: I told them I couldn't afford the $550 fee, and the lady said "you are required to pay this down payment of $200, and just let us know if you think you'll be late on the rest; we can work something out."
Client comment: I told them what you said about a sliding scale, but the counselor told me there is no such program unless I'm pregnant.
You cannot be denied participation in a DUI program just because you can't pay. This is so because completion of the DUI program is required by the court to comply with its orders, and by DMV to re-obtain your driver license, and it wouldn't be fair if such requirements could only be satisfied by those who can afford it. Programs are required to post a notice at each location at which program services are provided, in a location visible to all participants and to the general public, informing them of the option to request a financial assessment to determine ability to pay.
The specific government regulation covering this area is contained in 9 CCR 9879, which states that "The program shall not deny services to a participant if, based on the results of a financial assessment, the program determines that the participant is unable to pay..." Note that there is a minimum fee of $5 per month, and the program may charge you regular fees up to the time that you asked for the assessment (assuming they are complying with these rules).
If you have asked for a financial assessment, and provided the required proof of income/inability to pay, and you feel that the review by your program was not fair or adequate, then you may request a review by the department that regulates these programs: "A participant may request the Department to review a financial assessment conducted by the program, in accordance with this regulation. To do so, the participant shall submit a written request to the Driving-Under-the-Influence Program Branch, Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs, 1700 K Street, Sacramento, CA 95814."
Schedule Of Classes
The DUI programs in Mendocino County typically consists of two hours of class and two hours of movies for at least 6 weeks (classes can extend to 12 weeks or 9 or 18 months depending on type of conviction) much of which can be compressed into less weeks if participant and program scheduling allow. Some programs are more flexible than others, and most offer daytime and late afternoon/evening schedules.
Typical First Offender Class Schedule. Various programs offer various schedules. The Sonoma County schedules listed below provide some examples: First Offender Class Schedules.
Click here to see typical examples of a standard first offender DUI program:
Click here for examples of typical extended first offender 9-Month Class Schedule (Weds/Fri Eve) for first offenders with over .20% blood alcohol or refusal cases; or the first year of a typical multiple offender 18-Month Class Schedule (Thurs/Fri Eve).
Approved absences are permitted: 2 for wet reckless program, 5 for first offender program, 7 for the extended first offender program, and 10 for the multiple offender programs. 9 CCR 9876. Absences must be made up prior to completion of the program. Participants may submit prior written requests for absences (unless unable to do so) for any of the following reasons: military service, work requiring travel, personal or family illness, incarceration, recovery, personal or family extreme hardship, or vacation. 9 CCR 9876.5.
Follow the Rules; You Can't Afford to be Terminated
The DUI program may dismiss participants for a variety of alleged failures set out in 9 CCR 9886. Although the some of the Mendocino drinking driver programs will normally work with you on necessary absences if you contact the program in a timely fashion (i.e. prior to the absence), still, the Mendocino County DUI programs and the rules they enforce can be tough. You must show up on time (they often close their doors at start time and do not allow late attendance). You will be turned away or your enrollment terminated if you have alcohol on your breath or are otherwise under the influence. However enrollment at the Ukiah, Willits or Fort Bragg office, and completion of their whole program, is mandatory to return your driving privileges to normalcy, so you should be prepared to follow the rules and meaningfully participate.
If you are terminated from a Mendocino DUI program, you should receive a termination letter. For example if it is alleged that you failed to attend or contact the program, then you may receive a Non-Contact Termination Letter from the Mendocino DUI program, or if you are terminated for having alcohol on your breath (9 CCR 9874), then you may receive a Sobriety Failure Termination Letter. In most cases, these letters are also transmitted to the court where a Judge will decide whether to call you in for a possible violation of probation or other action. Typically, the DUI program will simultaneously transmit to DMV a Dl 101a Notice Of Non-Compliance, which, in turn generally results in a DMV "Order of Suspension" Letter, etc. Contact your Mendocino DUI attorney promptly to see about a re-referral, especially if this is your second or higher DUI. Rules on re-referrals vary among counties.
Drinking Driver Program Policies And Decisions May be Challenged
Mendocino County DUI lawyers understand that many DUI program staff and administrators are not as informed about applicable laws and regulations as they think they are; some of the most stubborn operators and staff have been encountered in North Bay DUI programs, but their often rigid practices and decisions may be modified or reversed by DUI lawyer intervention, sometimes with assistance from state regulators required to formally explain correct practices to intransigent programs. For example, according to 9 CCR 9876.5, you and your Ukiah DUI lawyer may be able to provide proof to the Mendocino County DUI program of a legitimate qualifying absence and apply for a retroactive leave of absence (prior to two years from the date of your last attendance (9 CCR 9886(f)), where the Mendocino County DUI program can correct a wrongful (or mistaken) termination and reinstate you in good standing with the DMV and court without you having to return to court. The state agency listed below may be contacted by your Ukiah DUI lawyer if the Mendocino County DUI Program is unresponsive in such a situation. Click here to see a list of the Regulations Governing DUI Programs, and here to see applicable Health And Safety Code Sections 11836-11838.
DUI programs are accountable in court, where their decisions may be challenged, and at the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS), Substance Use Disorder Compliance Division, Driving-Under-the-Influence (DUI) Unit, which licenses and performs compliance monitoring on all DUI programs in California (located at MS 2602, P.O. Box 997413, Sacramento, CA 95899-7413, (916) 322-2964) where DUI programs are regulated by state administrators. Don't allow yourself to be intimidated or suffer unnecessary consequences of inaccurate advice from DDP staff who may not fully comprehend the applicable law, and who are not motivated by your personal circumstances. The DDP and the courts can make inadvertent mistakes, or set policies which focus on their own agendas, but which often may be clarified, corrected or challenged. Your attorney is the best source of legal advice in this area.
Client Comment: Ryan, my DUI program counselor told me that while I am on my three years DUI probation, I am not allowed to transport alcohol, even in the trunk of my car. You never told me about this, is it true? Ryan's Reply: No, I'm glad you checked with your DUI attorney; every case is different, which is why program "counselors" should not give legal advice which may not apply in your case. Although some DUI sentences in Mendocino County do include prohibitions on alcohol possession and use (typically multiple offense cases or first offenses with very high alcohol levels), most first offense sentences, including yours, do NOT prohibit possession (or transportation) of alcohol.
Client Comment: Hi Ryan, I hope all is well. I had a quick question about my terms of probation. During a recent DUI class an instructor said that as long as you are on probation you are prohibited from drinking alcohol under any circumstances. I'm curious if this is true as it does not seem to be indicated in my sentencing order. I'm wondering in the instance that say a friend is driving and is pulled over for a minor violation and the officer learns I'm on probation and asks if I had been drinking and I say I had, would this be a probation violation? Thanks for your time, just want to make sure I am following all terms. Ryan's Reply: Your DUI "instructor" is wrong on the law. Although all Mendocino DUI sentences should include prohibitions on any alcohol in your blood when driving, and some DUI sentences do prohibit alcohol use at any time (typically multiple offense cases or first offenses with very high alcohol levels), most first offense sentences, including yours, do NOT prohibit consumption of alcohol if no driving is involved, so you were absolutely right to check your own sentencing orders before believing such generalized statements of law, and very smart to confirm your suspicions with your friendly Mendocino DUI lawyer.
Client Comment: Ryan, my DUI class teacher claimed that since I now have a DUI, if I am in the car with someone who is pulled over and charged with a DUI, I will get another one. Is this true? Ryan's Reply: Your DUI class "teacher" is wrong on the law; aside from heightened penalties if you get a new DUI conviction, the only change in rules which you suffer after a DUI conviction is that during your three-year probation period only, you are not permitted to drive with any alcohol at all in your blood. But no one is ever subject to a DUI arrest as a passenger in a vehicle unless suspected of interfering with its operation (like grabbing the steering wheel). You can’t drink and then drive, but you can be a passenger with no personal criminal risk related to the conduct or condition of the driver. It's really dumb to suggest otherwise.
People are often told by DUI program staff they may not enroll in a DUI program until convicted of a DUI, or at least until the separate DMV Admin Per Se hearing process is completed. This is incorrect (see the Department Letter Re: Pre-Conviction Enrollment) and following such advice may lead to a longer driver license suspension period than required by law. With proper documentation (typically the DMV H-6 driver license printout which may be obtained for $5 by going to any DMV field office before trying to enroll in a DUI program) anyone may "self-enroll" without papers showing a court conviction or DMV administrative decision. The Sonoma County DUI program has a Program Waiver to facilitate early enrollment when there is some question regarding type of enrollment. If you receive any legal advice from a DUI program, or if you believe you were wrongfully terminated from the Mendocino County program in Ukiah, then contact a Ukiah DUI lawyer to discuss alternatives and remedies.
If you live in a state other than California, then talk to your Mendocino County DUI defense attorney about the possibility of either waiving the program altogether, or satisfying the requirement with an approved Online DDP Program for nonresidents only (these programs will not satisfy DMV requirements but may satisfy court requirements so discuss this option with your local Mendocino County DUI or DMV lawyer before relying upon any other advice.
DUI fines may be paid in full at the Mendocino County courthouse following the last court appearance. Otherwise, defendants may make inquiries and set up fine payment schedules at the Mendocino Court Collections office, at 501 Low Gap Road in Ukiah.
The best Mendocino DUI attorneys will advise that monthly payments of $65-$100 may be arranged to ease the financial burden of increasingly higher court fines for a DUI. You should independently confirm payment arrangements by immediately checking with the applicable office; confirm your first payment date, amounts, addresses and other arrangements to avoid missed payments due to inadvertent error. 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 (FTP) may make it more difficult to set up or resume payments in the future if the court denies those who couldn't make timely payments the first time. In addition, an FTP may result in a violation of probation, making a subsequent expungement of your criminal record much more difficult for a Mendocino County DUI lawyer to perform for you in the future. In addition, the court typically reports a failure to pay to the California DMV, which usually results in an unanticipated and unwelcome driver license suspension notice in your mailbox.
Your Mendocino County DUI lawyer will provide you with all the information you need on how to pay fines. Payment information may also be obtained at the Mendocino County court's Collections Department Website.
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 Mendocino County Community Service program alternative, which is monitored by Mendo-Lake Alternative Service, Inc., located in Room 209 in the Ukiah Courthouse (468-3422). 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 Mendocino County taxpayer and may have already paid for the police department, the police car, the uniform and the salary of the police officer whose arrest you are now fighting, still, in these tough economic times Mendocino 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 Mendocino 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 (1st Dist 2006) 135 C.A.4th 488. See the more comprehensive discussion on this site about the Allende case, and developments since this case was first published, under Hire a Lawyer.
A recent example. A recent CHP invoice (2 years after the above case was published) to one of Ryan'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, Ryan was outraged by the misleading mandatory "shall" language in the invoice 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 agency, or cause an item to be referred to a collection agency and risk a negative credit incident, such effects may be negated with vigilance and protest when, as in the case above, the claimed debt is invalid and disputed. Many people may never hear from the police agency again, or if a lawsuit is filed by the Mendocino County agency, the defendant will have the opportunity to challenge the collection attempt and claimed amounts.
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 Ukiah DUI attorney before paying it. Always discuss your individual circumstances with a Mendocino County DUI lawyer because they may affect the actual advice given to you in your unique case.
- 6. Court Probation
- 7. Jail Alternatives
- 8. Effects of a DUI on Various Jobs & Careers
- 9. Fix Trigger Problems
- 10. Expunge a Mendocino DUI
Read Your Sentencing Order and Stay Out of Trouble!
Your Mendocino County DUI lawyer should inform you that there are multiple obligations imposed at sentencing in Mendocino County, such as fines, DUI classes, jail, etc. Although the court and even your Ukiah DUI lawyer may detail the consequences of a DUI sentence prior, during and subsequent to a sentencing, nevertheless you are best served by reading your Mendocino County Superior Court papers immediately, asking questions, and confirming your understandings. Inadvertent errors do happen, therefore your own independent understanding and diligence is critical to preventing confusion, mistakes or omissions, and possibly serious consequences affecting your legal position and your personal liberty. This is one of the most important reasons to have a Ukiah DUI attorney helping you, so that you fully understand the conditions which were imposed on you, and the consequences and benefits of unsuccessful or successful completion of probation.
In Mendocino County, at the time of sentencing, you or your lawyer will receive a "Clerk's Docket & Minutes" and an "Order of Summary Probation" from the court showing every item recorded by the Ukiah courtroom clerk, including the court's specific sentencing orders (usually these are part of the court's probation order) regarding jail, fines, DUI program classes, dates, durations, even special orders for multiple offenders such as breathalyzer orders, staying out of bars and abstaining from alcohol possession/use, etc. The reverse of the Order of Summary Probation contains addresses and phone numbers of various compliance agencies for the typical Mendocino County DUI offender. Click here to see a typical Mendocino High Alcohol DUI Probation Order, or here for an older 2008 example and click here to see a typical Mendocino Wet Reckless Probation Order, or here for an older 2014 example or older 2012 example, or click here to see a typical Mendocino Second DUI Probation Order, or here for an older 2012 example.
The Conditional Sentence
Most Mendocino County DUI convictions result in this informal court probation (also called a "conditional sentence") described above, which does not require monthly reports or any restriction on your travel. Simply put, your DUI resolution in court is conditioned upon you satisfying any affirmative obligations, and having no adverse police contact during this period or else you will risk further punishment in this case (in addition to the new trouble, of course). The standard probation period in Mendocino County is five years for a DUI, or three years for a Wet Reckless.
Typical Court Probation Terms
Your Mendocino County DUI attorney will inform you that jail (or jail alternatives), fines, and DUI program enrollment and completion, are a key part of this informal probation, and failure to follow through on these obligations will likely result in a new charge of violating probation (including warrants, new Ukiah court appearances, and complications expunging this case later).
In addition to these sentencing requirements, Mendocino County court probation typically includes a catch-all condition of sentence that you be of good conduct and obey all laws, do not drive unless validly licensed and insured, and do not drive with any measurable alcohol in your body (as compared to before conviction when theoretically you could have up to .08% alcohol). Penalty provisions regarding driving with measurable alcohol are discussed below. In addition, informal probationers often agree to submit to chemical testing pursuant to a lawful order by a Mendocino County peace officer if suspected of DUI.
Normally all of these and other probation conditions will be included on your Mendocino County court probation/sentencing order (click on the examples in the second paragraph of this section, above). If your case included a relatively high blood alcohol concentration (over .15%) or this is your second or higher DUI, then you may be subject to further conditions, such as refraining from alcohol possession and use, staying out of places where alcohol is the primary item for sale, installation of an ignition interlock breathalyzer device in your vehicle(s), and/or waiver of search and seizure rights.
Third DUI sentencing and probation terms vary widely depending on individual circumstances Such convictions typically include a designation as a Habitual Traffic Offender pursuant to Penal Code 193.7 and Vehicle Code 14601.3. Convictions involving drug use or possession often include probation terms requiring periodic random drug testing in addition to the terms described above.
Looking Up The Law
Understand that probation orders and sentencing components are highly discretionary with the judge in any criminal matter, and are normally tailored to specific aggravating and mitigating factors in each unique case. If you wish to see applicable laws containing the range of DUI sentencing options and consequences in Mendocino County, you may ask a Ukiah DUI attorney, or click on Resources on this site and then under "Self Help Resources" click on the California Vehicle Code. Most of the Mendocino County Superior Court's mandatory and discretionary DUI sentencing components are contained in California Vehicle Code Sections 23536-23552, 23554-23568, 23572, 23575-23582, 23592-23596, 23598, and 23600-23602.
The general probation requirements for a first offense DUI are contained in Vehicle Code Section 23538, including jail sentencing, fines, and DUI program classes. Second DUI offense conditions are contained in section 23542, and third offense conditions are contained in section 23548.
The best Ukiah DUI lawyers will explain that sentencing enhancements, relating to certain aggravating factual allegations related to the DUI incident, are contained in later vehicle code sections, such as whether a minor passenger under the age of 14 years was in the vehicle (additional 2-30 days jail, depending on the number of prior DUI convictions, per 23572(a)), whether the driver refused a chemical test or his/her blood alcohol concentration was .15% or higher (possible ignition interlock device per 23575(a)(1), and additional penalties per 23578), whether the driver refused a chemical test or his/her blood alcohol concentration was .20% or higher (9-month DUI program classes per 23538(b)(2), and whether the driver drove recklessly and 30 mph over the limit on a freeway, or 20 mph on other roads in a manner (60 additional days of jail per section 23582). An important reason to hire a local Mendocino County DUI lawyer is to enlist valuable practical experience and guidance in order to negotiate away the most burdensome of these added penalties.
Vehicle impoundment penalties are discussed in section 23592. DMV suspensions related to DUIs are described in Vehicle Code sections 13352-13353. Mendocino DUI attorneys also see additional penalties imposed as a result of other allegations commonly associated with DUIs, some of which may be found in Vehicle Code sections 2800.1 (evading the police), 20002 (hit and run), and 23153 (DUI with injuries).
Don't Drive With Any Alcohol In Your Body
Good Mendocino DUI attorneys will explain to you that it is absolutely critical that you refrain from driving with any alcohol (courts often add "or other intoxicating substances" to probation terms) in your body at all during your probationary period. Vehicle Code Section 23600(b)(2),(d). Beginning January 1, 2009, it is unlawful in California for a person who is on probation for a DUI (not wet reckless) to operate a motor vehicle at any time with a blood-alcohol concentration of .01 or greater as shown on any preliminary breath machine or actual breath or blood test. If you are found guilty of this act in Mendocino County then your driver license likely will be suspended for a minimum one year (refusals may be even longer), usually with no possibility of any hardship or restricted "work" license. (CVC 13389, 23154, 13353.1, 13353.2, 13353.3). Click here to see an example of such a DMV Probation Violation Suspension Order.
If you are under age 18, special Mendocino County juvenile court proceedings may apply to you at the Juvenile Court in Ukiah. Mendocino DUI lawyers will inform you that a typical Mendocino County juvenile DUI conviction requires more formalized probation (including random drug/alcohol testing), community service, one-year license suspension, DUI youth classes and a modest fine.
Although juvenile criminal records may be sealed at age 18 (Mendocino County DUI lawyers would strongly recommend that you complete this process as soon as possible), DMV records will continue to show juvenile DUI suspensions (typically one-year suspensions) for at least 10 years following an incident. The following link is an example of a 22 year old man's DMV driving record showing one juvenile alcohol suspension with .03% alcohol (age 16), one minor DUI with .08/.07% alcohol (age 20), two suspended license cases, and one adult DUI with .11/.12% alcohol (age 22): Juvenile DMV Record.
Accessing Old Sentencing Orders
If your case resolved in the past and you lost or never received a copy of your Mendocino County Superior Court minute/sentencing order from your DUI lawyer, and you wish to review precisely what was ordered by the court, you may appear at the Mendocino County criminal clerk's office at the main courthouse in Ukiah and ask for a copy of the entire "docket" or court history. There is a nominal fee per page, but this is a valuable recorded history of everything that actually transpired in your Mendocino County court case and can often refresh recollections and clear up misunderstandings of precise resolutions, probation durations, time served, etc...
Most 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. Mendocino County typically sentences 48 hours of jail for a standard first DUI. This is not required by law, and sometimes a Mendocino County DUI defense lawyer can avoid such a sentence. Your DUI attorney should discuss your specific exposure with you so that you understand the gravity of your case.
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 a new and additional number of 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 are present in your case, then you may be at risk for additional days of jail in any subsequent Mendocino 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).
Your Mendocino County DUI lawyer should argue any compelling situations and any legal weaknesses in the prosecutor's case to bargain down days. If you were not released immediately after arrest and therefore you spent time in the Mendocino County (or other local) jail, then tell your DUI attorney how long, and we may be able to obtain credits against any subsequent Mendocino 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 Mendocino County DUI lawyer to try to shorten actual jail time.
Most counties, including Mendocino, offer "work release" or sheriff's alternative work program ("SWAP") which is a jail alternative where you perform designated community service with the county in Ukiah, Willits, Fort Bragg, or elsewhere 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.
Home Electronic Confinement, Work Furlough and Other Alternatives
The best Mendocino 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 impractical, it may be advantageous to try to negotiate other alternatives to incarceration.
For example, the ankle bracelet (home confinement) and work furlough (jail at night) both allow you to go to work, often preserving a good job 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.
You may wish to click the following link to review a Ukiah Daily Journal article published in November, 2010, examining the home monitoring and work release jail alternatives in Mendocino County which may still be available in certain DUI cases where there are no other mitigating circumstances or viable defenses and a jail sentence appears to be imminent.
It is critical to discuss alternatives with your local Mendocino County DUI attorney well before sentencing to ensure that proper negotiating and arrangements are accomplished to maximize your ability to take advantage of available alternatives to incarceration.
Legal Standard. Generally, the California Business and Professions Code requires that before any professional license is denied, suspended or revoked for a conviction, the conduct in question must be shown to be substantially related to the qualifications, functions or duties of the profession. (B&P 480, 490). Each licensing agency develops its own guides and regulations vary widely from agency to agency. You should discuss your specific case with a Ukiah attorney.
Practical Considerations. Mendocino County DUI lawyers know that most professional and consumer licensing boards (such as the Contractors State License Board, the Department of Health, the Medical Board, the Bar Association, etc...) typically will not take disciplinary action for a single Mendocino County DUI. Rather they are more concerned if one or more DUIs indicate that a licensee has a substance abuse problem. Where one DUI might not cause discipline, two or more DUIs may very well indicate abuse or addiction, or poor common sense and professional judgment. (Grifiths, 96 CA4 757.)
Disclosure & Remedial Measures. Experienced Ukiah DUI attorneys will tell you that in most cases the best practice is full and timely disclosure if required (see discussion below about how to find your record and what do employers know), and if applicable a willingness to address substance abuse issues in your life. It is imperative that you protect your career by prompt inquiry into applicable rules, and by avoiding a subsequent Mendocino County DUI incident or violation of probation in Ukiah Superior Court. In addition, certain rehabilitation may save a career. Factors such as the passage of time, successful completion of Mendocino County probation, remorse, change in attitude, expungement, alcohol or drug rehabilitation, completion of formal education, stability of family life, and community involvement can have significant impact on a licensing board decision to soften or reverse discipline. (B&P 480, 10 CCR 2911, Arneson, 28 Cal.3d 440.)
Note that a conviction for nearly any infraction is not a lawful basis to suspend or deny a professional license. (PEN 19.8, CVC 13202.5.) If your Mendocino County DUI lawyer is successful in causing your matter to be dismissed, or reduced to an infraction, risk to a professionally licensed career may be substantially minimized.
Click on these links for samples of laws and regulations governing professional conduct and disciplinary approaches for various professions:
Attorneys, and see discipline appeal case, In re Kelly (two DUIs in 2-1/2 years plus probation violation, public reproval, three years disciplinary probation), and State Bar v Guillory (DUI prosecutor with three DUIs in four years, suspended minimum two years upon approval of CA Supreme Court), and see also In re Reichle, and In re Hardin, and see generally, Reporting Form
DMV Occupational Licenses (Salespersons, Dealers, Driving Schools)
Doctors, and see discipline appeal case, Watson v. Medical Board (four DUIs in five years, license revoked, but stayed subject to probation for five years, with 30 days' actual suspension, discipline upheld on appeal), and see Medical Board Puts Napa Doctor on Probation (first offense DUI on night doctor was on call, traffic stop for speeding/weaving, see Board Decision: four years medical license probation, ethics course, therapy, no alcohol use, random drug/alcohol testing).
Military (and see further discussion or Military Recruits and Military Service, below)
Nurses, and see discipline appeal case, Sulla v. Board of Nursing (single DUI, solo collision, 0.16% BAC, license revoked, but stayed subject to three years of probation, discipline upheld on appeal), but see Sample Citation and Fine only (for single DUI, 0.22% BAC), and see generally, Disciplinary Guidelines, and Sample Board of Nursing Diversion Offer (consult with a Nursing Lawyer first), and Reporting Requirements
Teachers, and see discipline appeal case, Broney v. Commission on Teacher Credentialing (three DUI convictions in 14 years, teaching credential suspended 60 days, but stayed subject to three years of probation, discipline upheld on appeal)
Or click on Resources on this site and then find your licensing board website under "Agencies and Organizations," or consult your professional directory for additional information. Inaction with respect to a Mendocino County DUI or other conviction in the Ukiah courthouse may cause serious consequences which could have been avoided with timely intervention.
Military and Law Enforcement Personnel
Military and law enforcement personnel who are charged and/or convicted of a Mendocino DUI present special situations which require information you receive from military counsel, union representative, or your commander, and coordination of strategy with your Mendocino DUI lawyer. You should also be aware of any self-reporting requirements of your particular service branch.
Local Coast Guard DUI Consequences. The following consequences have been reported by several local Mendocino County coast guard personnel prior to any adverse DUI court or DMV findings: base driving privileges suspended for one year, grounded from flight operations for 60 days, alcohol dependency screening by command surgeon and/or off base intensive evaluation and 28-day residential treatment, two alcohol awareness classes per week for six weeks, command investigation, captains mast non-judicial punishment, documentation of alcohol incident in permanent record, fine, suspension of incentive pay, after hours work and confinement to base.
Military Service. Obviously, the best way to avoid consequences if you suffer a Mendocino County DUI while serving in the military was to avoid the DUI altogether. The second best way is to try to beat the DUI by hiring a local Ukiah lawyer, such as Ryan, to review the case and present your options. Click here to read a "sobering" account by an airman of The Fast Track To Losing Stripes. Click here to read about the top enlisted sailor on the San Diego-based destroyer Gridley, a Master Chief Petty Officer relieved of duties as command master chief due to loss of confidence in his ability to fulfill the role: Top Sailor on San Diego Destroyer Ousted after Tennessee DUI Charges.
Military Recruiters and Recruits. Military recruiters face tough consequences if arrested for a DUI, even before any conviction. Click here to see an example of a career Army Recruiter Reprimand. A dismissal or reduction of charges in court may help; ask a JAG and a Sonoma DUI attorney about your unique situation. If you are a military recruit, you may wish to consider asking your lawyer to attempt to avoid the typical three or more years of Mendocino County probation if such continuing jurisdiction by a civilian court would present obstacles to enlistment or continued service. Click here to see an example of a DUI Disqualification Letter declining consideration for enlistment until the Mendocino County DUI case is resolved without conditions (in other words, without continuing probation). Sometimes a letter or other proof of need to resolve your Mendocino County case without probation terms may help your Ukiah DUI lawyer to obtain such a resolution. Click here to see an example of a Recruiting Officer Letter request for no probation. If you authorize your Ukiah DUI lawyer to speak with the appropriate commanding or recruiting officer, often severe consequences may be avoided.
Commercial drivers with Class A or B licenses face particularly tough consequences upon conviction for a Mendocino County DUI or failure to win the related Ukiah DMV hearing. A truck driver, commercial delivery person, or fire engine driver may face loss of career because a DUI conviction will normally result in a one-year loss of his/her commercial license (CVC 15300).
A second DUI or combination of convictions (even if the prior conviction(s) were more than ten years ago) will normally result in lifetime loss of commercial privileges (CVC 15302). Note that the DMV's current interpretation of CVC 15302 is that this penalty is not intended to include DUI arrests prior to the operative date of September 20, 2005. Sometimes the only way to avoid catastrophic personal or economic consequences is to obtain a substantial reduction in charges, or win your case at trial in the Mendocino County Superior Court. See our further Sonoma DUI Lawyer discussion about commercial DUI suspensions, restricted licenses, and Getting Your License Back. Discuss your specific case with a Sonoma County DUI Attorney.
Employer Pull Notice ("EPN") Program
As required by Vehicle Code Section 1808.1, certain drivers, typically commercial drivers with Class A or B licenses, or Class C licenses with special driving qualifications, are enrolled by their employers in the EPN program. Pursuant to this program, the DMV will automatically generate a driving record and mail it to the employer for newly enrolled drivers, or annually for currently enrolled drivers, or upon an "action or activity" which is defined by law as a conviction, failure to appear, accident, driver license suspension or revocation, or any other action taken against the driving privilege, including initial DUI charges.
A Ukiah DUI attorney may be very helpful keeping commercial and other drivers on the road after a DUI arrest and before the case resolves, explaining to an employer that simply receiving a notice of an action or activity does not necessarily mean that an employee cannot drive at this time, but just that an initial action has been taken (such as suspension by means of the pink temporary license, but stayed due to a request for DMV hearing) and might very well be fought and won (or DUI reduced to wet reckless or better, etc) in Mendocino County court and at the DMV, resulting in no DUI suspension at all, or that there may be significant delay before any DUI suspension actually occurs, and that, depending on individual circumstances, the employee's driving privilege is likely perfectly valid and complete at this time despite any pending DUI charges or allegations in court or at DMV.
Click here to see a Sample Noncommercial Employee Pull Notice sent to a hotel chain corporate office regarding an employee arrested for a standard first DUI, or here Sample Government Employee Pull Notice sent to a county employer regarding an employee arrested for a refusal DUI, or here for a Sample Commercial Driver Pull Notice sent to a trucking company regarding a driver arrested for a simple DUI in his private non-commercial vehicle. You can find more information on the EPN program by clicking on EPN Program. If you are not required to be part of the EPN program pursuant to Vehicle Code Section 1808.1(k), then if you are enrolled, your employer must obtain your prior written consent on a form such as the Authorization for Release of Driver Record Information, and keep a copy on file at your worksite, and immediately remove you from the program upon termination of your employment. Click here for other Pull Notice Forms on the DMV website.
Background Checks and Employment Applications
When applying for a state license or job, many licensing agencies and employers ask about criminal history before hiring you or allowing you to sit for a licensing exam. See, for example, the Dental Hygiene Committee of California Exam Application. A good Mendocino County DUI attorney will advise that you get a copy of any records indicating negative incidents, such as your DMV record, local court record, and state criminal record.
Get copies of your records. Find your DMV driving record by going to DMV and asking for a complete long form "H6" driver license history printout. A Ukiah DUI lawyer can be very helpful assisting you in deciphering this printout. Find your local criminal record by going to the local courthouse where you were arrested and/or convicted to get a "docket" or printout of your case history. Get your California state criminal records by clicking the following link and requesting a copy of your DUI or other criminal records: California Department of Justice Records Request. Again, a Mendocino DUI attorney may be very useful in explaining how to read records after you receive them.
Correcting inaccuracies. If there are inaccuracies on your state criminal record, you may submit a formal challenge to the Department of Justice only after you have received a copy of your record from the Department, pursuant to California Penal Code sections 11120-11127. Form BCIA 8706 "Claim of Alleged Inaccuracy or Incompleteness" will be mailed to you along with your record. Submit form BCIA 8706 and any supporting documentation to the Department of Justice at the address provided on the form. The challenge will be reviewed and a written response will be provided, along with an amended copy of your criminal history record if appropriate.
What can a potential employer ask about? The best Ukiah DUI attorneys will tell you that employers are highly regulated on what information regarding criminal backgrounds may be solicited on employment applications. Both federal and state laws restrict the types of questions which may be asked. California Labor Code Section 432.7 generally prohibits employers from asking about arrests or detentions which did not result in convictions, or which resulted in diversion programs in lieu of convictions, or about convictions which have been sealed or expunged (see our Mendocino County DUI Lawyer Discussion of Expungements). This does not prohibit employers from asking about pending cases where an arrest occurred but the case has not yet been resolved. California Labor Code Section 432.8 generally prohibits employers from asking about minor marijuana convictions more than two years old. California Labor Code Section 432.9 generally prohibits public agency employers from asking about conviction history on any employment application, until the agency has determined the applicant meets the minimum employment qualifications for the listed job. For a good discussion of applicable employment law in this area, see, California Laws on Employer Use of Arrest and Conviction Records, and the California Department of Fair Employment & Housing publication, Employment Inquiries: What Can Employers Ask Applicants? Consult with a Mendocino County DUI attorney about your unique situation.
Public Information, Internet & Mug Shots
Court Records. Ukiah DUI attorneys will tell you that criminal case records from arrest to disposition are generally considered to be public information. Indeed, this is the reason why stopping at your local county courthouse where a case is pending or was concluded, is the single best way for you to find accurate information about your matter. Unfortunately, this is also true for any prospective employer, vindictive spouse, or news outlet who knows your county of residence. Generally, these records may not be sealed or destroyed without further proceedings, although guilty pleas may be withdrawn and cases dismissed pursuant to California's expungement process. Expungements do not completely wipe out evidence of a DUI conviction, but may be very useful in certain circumstances. See our Mendocino County DUI lawyer discussion of expungements by clicking here: Easing the Consequences of a DUI: Expungements.
News Outlets & the Internet. Given the incredible access to information provided by the world wide web, anyone arrested for a DUI should expect to find evidence of such proceedings in the news and on the internet. Local police agencies routinely make available over-the-counter arrest logs (the typical source of "jail mail" for lawyer solicitations in your mail box), and arresting agencies routinely publish and post DUI arrest stories and periodic arrest logs. Click here to see the Sonoma County Sheriff Daily Arrest Logs, here for the Mendocino Sheriff Daily Booking Reports (including mugshots), here for the Napa County In Custody Bookings, here for the Lake County Recent Arrests, here for the Marin County Public Booking Log, and here for the Solano County Jail Booking Logs.
Local news outlets such as the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, Napa Valley Register, Marin Independent Journal, and Ukiah Daily Journal often publish and upload to the internet DUI news headline stories, including names of individuals arrested for DUI, particularly if the allegations are relatively severe, and thus newsworthy (such as collisions, police chases, children in the vehicle, multiple offenders, etc.). Certain news outlets also collect and publish DUI arrest and conviction statistics which include names of arrested individuals. Click here for the Santa Rosa Press Democrat Daily Arrest Logs, which lists Sonoma County arrests, and often lists arrests in surrounding counties including Napa, Lake, Mendocino and Marin.
Although such reporting may harm relations or reputations, and preliminary allegations and reports may later be proven false or misleading, nevertheless, Mendocino DUI lawyers find that most publishers refuse as a matter of policy to remove an individual name from such news stories and listings when requested to do so, even under the most compelling circumstances.
Mug Shots. Many counties publish or release booking photos and mug shots to the media, and there are numerous commercial internet companies who obtain and re-post these photos online. A commercial website might remove a mug shot following a simple request, but many have been known to charge a hefty fee without any guarantee that the harmful or offensive mugshot or info will not pop up on a sister website. In 2014, California passed SB1027, outlawing this practice in Civil Code Section 1798.91.1. But see the following in-depth discussion on this topic by the nonprofit Pew Charitable Trusts: Fight Against Mugshot Sites Brings Little Success. See also a number of older articles on this topic: Mugged by a Mug Shot Online, and Don't Want Your Mug Shot Online? Then Pay Up, Sites Say, and How People Profit From Your Online Mug Shot And Ruin Your Life Forever, and Mug Shot Websites Face Lawsuit Alleging Violations Of Arrestee Publicity Rights.
See one rare example of local law enforcement doing something to protect the privacy of the accused: Sonoma County Sheriff Removes Jail Mugshots from Internet.
The good news from a Ukiah DUI lawyer standpoint is that at least some of these sites may respond (if you have the money), but this is a perfect opportunity for unscrupulous people to scam and abuse desperate people, so be sure to search for reviews online for any company before paying money to try to remove mugshots or harmful information, or to rehabilitate your online reputation. Understand that if you pay for removal, there's no guarantee that the mugshot or harmful information isn't already elsewhere or won't pop up somewhere else (this is just one variation of the scam).
Finally, it's worth considering that in most cases adverse information doesn't surface unless someone is searching hard for it, in which case they may find it elsewhere or already know what they're looking for; criminal cases are a matter of public record and available for anyone who asks at the local courthouse. Consult with a Mendocino County DUI attorney about your unique situation.
The best Mendocino DUI lawyers will tell you that if you want to avoid aggravating the judge or making future arrests even worse, you may wish to consider fixing or addressing outstanding problems that trigger or contribute to adverse contact with the criminal justice system.
Licensing and Equipment
Mendocino DUI attorneys often advise clients that it may very well be in their best interests to get a suspended driver's license fixed, properly register any unregistered vehicle, pay off old tickets at the Mendocino County courthouse in Ukiah, renew expired insurance, and fix vehicle equipment violations which led to the initial stop and DUI arrest in this incident or could lead to police stops in the future.
DUI lawyers see common vehicle and equipment violations which can be addressed to reduce the chances of future police contact, including expired registration tags, malfunctioning tail lights, headlights and license plate lights, missing front license plates, tinted windows, cracked windows, trailer hitches and bike racks blocking rear license plates, balding tires causing lost traction, and after-market exhaust and sound systems.
Alcohol Abuse or Addiction; Self-Help
If your alcohol level was higher (greater than .15%), or if this is your second or third DUI, or other aggravating allegations are present such as a collision, child endangerment (children in the car), hit and run, refusal to give a chemical test, younger age of the offender, uncharged prior incidents, distant priors (outside 10 years), very recent prior DUI conviction or probation violations, etc., then an experienced Mendocino DUI lawyer will often explain that the court is likely to be concerned with public safety, and the judge may very well consider ordering a number of restrictions on your liberty at the very first court hearing and for the duration of such a case, such as ordering no-alcohol use or possession, waiver of search rights to enforce a no-alcohol order, active probation department supervision (including random drug and alcohol testing), an alcohol monitoring leg device, a breathalyzer in your vehicle, etc.
In such cases, to begin addressing issues or to head off continuing problems, a Mendocino DUI attorney may very well advise you to consider attending Alcoholics Anonymous ("AA") meetings as well as an additional layer of rehab, in order to try to soften the court's reaction to initial charges, particularly if there are no substantial defenses in this case.
Often, Mendocino County courts will reward voluntary pre-sentence self-help in DUI cases because it demonstrates personal awareness and responsibility, and a lower likelihood of re-offending. Rewards can include less, or no pre-trial orders or supervision, or at the end of a case, credits for jail time, lower fines, or relief from other common sentencing orders. One meeting per day or at least four or more per week, and perhaps additional out-patient counseling may be very impressive to a Mendocino County judge. You can find AA and NA locations in Ukiah and Mendocino County by clicking here: Local AA Meetings, and then select the Mendocino County link. Likewise, you can find Narcotics Anonymous ("NA") meetings by clicking here: Local NA Meetings, and then select the Mendocino County link. Discuss your individual circumstances with your Ukiah DUI attorney.
Mendocino DUI Lawyer Tip: There are many different kinds of AA and NA meetings in Mendocino County, so don't be discouraged if your first meeting doesn't seem to fit your personality, issues or situation. Some say that the trick to initial success in AA is to find the meetings that you can best relate to, with respect to (1) the type of meeting and the way it's run: some meetings are closed (alcoholics only) and others are open (newcomers and visitors welcome), some meetings focus exclusively on the "Big BooK" 12-step AA fundamentals, some have speakers or share stories, others are conducted as more informal, open, roundtable discussions, some are more or less religious, etc.; and (2) the type of people who attend: some meetings restrict attendance by age (seniors or youth), gender, or sexual orientation, some meetings allow children, or disallow smoking, etc.
Ukiah DUI lawyers often recommend that first-timers try several different meeting locations and times. Whether self-initiated or court ordered, attendance proof is important to help your Mendocino County DUI attorney at an opportune moment in court; click here to print out an Self-Help Attendance Sheet and keep a record of each meeting attended, signed by the meeting leader. If you decide to attend meetings, then you should consider sending your Ukiah DUI lawyer copies of these partially completed AA attendance sheets on a weekly basis to ensure that they are not lost or stolen, and so that your Ukiah DUI lawyer will have them at the right time (always keep the originals).
Speciality Meetings for Professionals. There are sobriety groups for many professions, which may be found online with a simple internet search, offering especially relevant peer counselling and support from colleagues who share the same pressures and situations. See, for example, International Doctors in Alcoholics Anonymous, International Lawyers in Alcoholics Anonymous (and locally, The Other Bar), and Birds of a Feather International (pilots).
Employee Assistance Programs. Many unions and larger companies offer Employee Assistance Programs (EAP programs), where participation may offer the same career-specific support network, and also where early participation in a recovery program offered by an employer may tend to soften that employer's response to an employee's DUI arrest or later conviction.
An AA Alternative. Some people want, or are willing, to engage in self-help for their own well-being, and to help their Mendocino County DUI lawyer to try to mitigate possibly imminent criminal court consequences, but they may find that the AA approach to drinking and sobriety isn't a good personal fit. At least two other alternative self-help group are available in, Smart Recovery, which describes itself as a "self-empowering addiction recovery support group," and LifeRing, which describes itself as "a secular alternative to traditional recovery programs like Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12-step organizations." Click here to see the North Bay Bohemian Article About LifeRing, or here for a Press Democrat Article About LifeRing. You may wish to inquire with your Mendocino DUI attorney if these alternative meetings might accomplish the same goals in a DUI court case.
Outpatient Treatment. Arrestees with high alcohol levels and/or multiple prior DUI's must understand that the courts will assume you have an issue with alcohol in your life (probably fair considering the increasing trouble you may be facing now). You may wish to seriously consider an additional layer of treatment such as Kaiser Outpatient in Santa Rosa or residential rehab to avoid increased penalties or being jailed during the court proceedings if there are no substantial defenses in your case. Click here to see a Sample Kaiser Scheduling Commitment. Mendocino County's AODS Outpatient program can be a low-cost alternative to other private providers. Day-for-day jail credits can often be obtained for controlled residential treatment accomplished prior to sentencing, with such agencies as the Ford Street Project, located in Ukiah.
For further information in this regard, click on Resources on this site, and look at the last section of the first "Self-Help" column for a comprehensive listing of local Mendocino County and other North Bay out-patient and residential rehab services, talk to your Mendocino County DUI lawyer about such self-help efforts, and also look at relevant links under "DUI Compliance" to view other Ukiah and Mendocino County drug and alcohol programs.
Under 21 employment or school
If you are under age 21 and this is your first alcohol-related driving case, and if there are no viable defenses in this matter, then your Mendocino County DUI lawyer can inform you that you may ultimately qualify for restricted driving privileges rather than the one-year suspension you are now facing. If you and your DUI attorney can adequately show the Sacramento DMV that public transportation in your area of Mendocino County is not sufficient to accomplish your transport to and from work or school, then you may be eligible.
Therefore you may wish to start considering your school and/or employment options. Click here to browse local college classes at Mendocino College, or College of the Redwoods, or outside Mendocino County, at Sonoma State University, and Santa Rosa Junior College, and Empire College.
You may also wish to consider applying for a building trades apprenticeship. Click here for a directory of available apprenticeship programs by county and occupation on the California Department of Industrial Relations website, or click here for a 2008 list of available North Bay Area Apprenticeship Programs, including contact information. Some Apprenticeship Programs are available in surrounding Napa and Sonoma counties, such as cement masons, electricians, operating engineers, plumbers & refer mechanics, and sound & communication; click here for the Building Trades Apprenticeship Website, or here for the California Tooling and Machining Apprenticeship Association. Another viable option may be Santa Rosa's Redwood Empire Beauty College, or click here for information on the Culinary Institute of America St. Helena campus.
What is an Expungement?
If you successfully completed probation and you are not currently serving any sentence, on probation, or being charged with any crime at this time, then upon successful application to the court where your prior conviction was entered, that court may vacate your guilty plea or verdict, enter a plea of not guilty, and dismiss your case. Thereafter, in most situations you may legally say it never happened. The purpose is to allow people to move on with their lives, particularly in the employment context, without forever being required to disclose past mistakes.
Click here to see the law used for typical DUI expungements: Penal Code Section 1203.4. If you are interested in reading a court case which describes in detail the different kinds of expungements available to most people, click the case at the end of this sentence and scroll down to the section of the case subtitled "General Principles Applicable to Dismissal of a Charge Under Penal Code Section 1203.4" People v. Holman (4th Dist. 2013).
Once your court probation is completed in Mendocino County, and as long as you are not on probation in any other case, you may ask your Mendocino County DUI attorney to file an expungement petition in Ukiah so that you can intentionally, legally, fail to disclose this conviction on a future application for employment in the private sector. Even government jobs and state licensing boards or other situations where disclosure might still be required will, nevertheless, almost always view a successful expungement as helpful, court-approved evidence of rehabilitation, and a respectful final outcome.
As you can see below, an expungement has limitations, so be sure to ask a Mendocino DUI attorney before relying on this procedure to "erase" a DUI conviction, or "get it off your record," but nevertheless the results of a successful expungement can be extremely beneficial. Situations can arise unexpectedly which could have benefited from a properly submitted and executed expungement; it is well worth a reasonable fee even if you do not see the need at this moment. Discount national on-line services have been known to charge as little as $495, but dependable quality from local Mendocino DUI lawyers typically range from $800 to $1500.
Benefits And Limitations Of Expungements
Benefits. An expungement of a Mendocino County DUI will result in the dismissal of the case which was expunged and allow you to answer that you have not been convicted of that DUI on applications for most non-government jobs (or jobs not requiring security clearances or government-issued licenses, certificates or permits). In addition, an expungement will prevent the conviction from being used to challenge your credibility if you testify as a witness in someone else's court case. In felony cases, an expungement is also the first step to obtain a pardon.
The best Mendocino DUI lawyers can tell you that on September 28, 2014, Governor Brown signed Assembly Bill 2396, which added language to Business & Professions Code Section 480 prohibiting a professional licensing board within the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) from denying a license for an individual based solely on a conviction which has been expunged under Penal Code Section 1203.4. Although typically disclosure of a qualifying conviction is still required, nevertheless DCA Licensing Boards are prohibited from using just an expunged conviction as the sole basis to deny a license in many professions, such as Accountants, Barbers and Cosmetologists, Contractors, Dentists, Engineers, Nurses, Pharmacists, Psychologists, Real Estate Agents and many more. Note that a DCA board might still try to use the underlying conduct of a case, or other arguably bad conduct together with a conviction, to deny a license in a particular case, but it should be apparent that an expungement may very well facilitate a professional license for many people in many professions.
Limitations. A good Ukiah DUI attorney will tell you that an expungement of a Mendocino County case will not erase or remove the conviction from your criminal history records, or seal or destroy those records, at the state or federal level. Rather those criminal records will show a new entry that the case was dismissed pursuant to the expungement law listed above. See example New Criminal Record Entry. An expungement will not prevent a Mendocino County conviction from being used as a prior offense to increase the severity of punishment in a new case. An expungement will not prevent the conviction from being used to challenge your own credibility if you have a subsequent offense. An expungement will not prevent the conviction from being considered in government licensing, certification or permitting matters. An expungement will not prevent the conviction from being considered in immigration proceedings. An expungement will not eliminate sex offender registration requirements. An expungement will not reinstate an ex-felon's right to possess firearms (although a reduction to a misdemeanor first by a Ukiah judge may accomplish this in certain cases). Finally, a good Mendocino DUI lawyer should caution you that a Mendocino DUI expungement does not change the appearance of, or delete any information from California DMV records, or otherwise alter or affect driving history or DMV reporting, on the DMV's separate and independent driving record history. A Mendocino DUI expungement also does not automatically permit entry into the US through the US Global Entry program, or allow entry into Canada if such entry is otherwise barred or restricted, although recent anecdotal evidence suggests that Canadian policy and practices have been changing back and forth (see, Canadian Inadmissibility, and also Record Suspension.)
Because an expungement of a Mendocino County DUI will not seal or otherwise remove the court file from public access, it is important to understand that anyone who is persistent, skilled, or knows where to look, will likely find the file or case information. This is especially true in light of the prevalence of excellent internet search engines and services (free and fee-based) which may always be able to produce court and media records of arrests and convictions.
However, Mendocino County DUI lawyers will agree, and so it is worth repeating, that even if such records may be found, or if disclosure of an expunged conviction is required, or if use of an expunged conviction is still permitted in certain situations, nonetheless the fact that you obtained an expungement from a Ukiah judge is typically viewed as the proper and best means of securing an officially-stamped acknowledgement of rehabilitation and a respectful final outcome which should reduce the weight and significance of the conviction in many contexts. Unexpected situations may arise which could have benefited from a properly completed and submitted Mendocino County DUI expungement; it is well worth a reasonable fee for a Mendocino DUI lawyer to properly accomplish an expungement for you even if you do not see the need at this moment.
For more information on what an employer may ask prospective job applicants and employees regarding past criminal arrests and convictions, including past, pending, and expunged Mendocino DUIs, see our Mendocino DUI lawyer discussion here: Background Checks and Job Applications.
Research Your Case and Other Supporting Documentation
If you choose, you can accomplish the initial work yourself, by obtaining a court "docket" history of your case(s) from the Mendocino County criminal court clerk's office.
Fill out an official expungement form; click on the links below and fill out the forms and send them together with your docket(s) to a Ukiah DUI lawyer such as Ryan to review, comment and process it through the legal system for you. If you are doing this yourself without a Mendocino DUI attorney helping you, then you would well-advised to at least consult with a lawyer after carefully reviewing and preparing the proper forms described in this discussion, and before submitting the completed forms to the court at the location described above.
In addition, as you will see below, the law now requires that you appeal to the judge's sense of justice in the petition for expungement of a past DUI. Therefore a good Mendocino County DUI lawyer will ask you to write a brief description of the facts and circumstances of the conviction, any explanations surrounding unsuccessful periods of probation, and a short detailed account of your life from the date of conviction to present day. You can also begin the process of collecting any evidence of rehabilitation in the community by making copies of diplomas, church letters, employment references, evidence of charitable accomplishments, and letters of recommendation from friends and community leaders, etc. An additional important element of any good petition is an explanation and any evidence of substantial hardship created by the conviction(s) sought to be expunged.
The goal is for you and your Mendocino DUI attorney to present a compelling series of facts and arguments for granting you relief from the effects of a past mistake by showing you are reformed and you have become an outstanding and/or respectable contributor in society, but the conviction continues to create a hardship from which you wish to be relieved. The best Mendocino County DUI attorneys will place your personal statement into a declaration (see form link below), attach any letters and evidence, and submit everything, including the Petition for Expungement and an unsigned form of Order, to the court for processing and ultimate decision.
Use a Local Attorney
Mendocino DUI Lawyers Understand Legal Forms and Procedure. If you don't know the information requested in the forms, you can have a local Mendocino County DUI lawyer research and process the forms on your behalf. In addition, hiring a Mendocino County DUI defense attorney may be necessary to successfully challenge a court's routine denial of expungement if the Mendocino County District Attorney's office continues to automatically "reject" DUI expungement petitions as that office has done in the past.
Mendocino DUI Lawyers Understand How DUI Expungements are Different. You know you have the right Mendocino DUI lawyer when he/she can properly articulate and explain to you that the expungement laws changed in 2008 to eliminate the absolute right to expungements in DUI cases (and certain other driving offenses listed in VC 12810(a)-(e)), so that a court is required to use its discretion to grant expungement petitions only in the interests of justice (see, PC 1203.4(c)), as opposed to before the law changed when most DUI petitioners who successfully completed their term of probation had an absolute right to have the petition granted. A Ukiah DUI attorney with a working understanding of this change in the law may be a great advantage to properly presenting your history and current situation to the Mendocino County Superior Court, in order to effectively appeal to a judge's sense of justice and obtain for you this valuable closure.
Typically There is Only One Chance to Get it Right. Mendocino DUI lawyers understand that courts usually will not allow individuals to keep trying to get it right. If an expungement petition is denied by the Mendocino County Superior Court, then it is unlikely the court will receive a new petition attempting to correct or add information, unless changed circumstances can be shown in a later petition. Therefore it is critical that a Petition for Expungement be properly submitted the very first time, when the chances of success are greatest.
Most expungements take approximately one week for a good Mendocino DUI attorney to process, and once submitted, up to 12 weeks or more for Mendocino County courts to review and approve. Click here for the fillable forms: Petition For Dismissal ("Expungement"), Order For Dismissal, and Declaration Form.
Sealing Juvenile Record
Many people don't know that a juvenile criminal record (including a Mendocino County DUI conviction obtained as a juvenile (arrested while under 18 years old), may not have been automatically sealed, but such conviction records can be sealed so that they are not available to the public, and cannot be used by a prosecutor to increase your sentence in a new case. Ukiah DUI lawyers have seen new Mendocino County DUI cases with significantly increased penalty exposure due to past juvenile Mendocino County DUIs and under-21 DUIs which were never sealed. For more information about sealing a Mendocino County DUI suffered as a juvenile, or sealing other juvenile offenses, contact the Mendocino County Juvenile Court, and see a general description on the Official California Courts website, Sealing Juvenile Records. Discuss your unique case with a Mendocino DUI attorney before deciding on a course of action.