top ten tips: easing the consequences of a dui

The First 48 Hours After a DUI | Getting Your Driver's License Back | Easing the Consequences of a DUI | Fighting a Napa DUI

  1. Court Appearances
  2. Driver's License
  3. Insurance
  4. DUI Classes
  5. Court Fines
  6. Court Probation
  7. Jail Alternatives
  8. Effects of a DUI on Various Jobs & Careers
  9. Fix Trigger Problems
  10. Expunge a Napa DUI

1. Court Appearances

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

Do Stay Informed 

You can (and should) closely follow the progress of your DUI case by regularly communicating with your Napa DUI lawyer before and after court appearances, and follow your case separately online by clicking on Resources on this site and then find your local court under "Superior Courts" by clicking on the county where you were arrested (for example, Napa, Marin, Sonoma, Solano or Mendocino), and search for your name. Napa Courts have an online calendar for Napa appearances which lists your name, case number, and the Napa courtroom where your case is being heard. Sonoma Courts and Mendocino Courts have similar online calendars. Marin Courts have San Rafael appearances online weeks in advance.

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

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

If a Warrant Has Been Issued for Your Arrest

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

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

Custody & Bail Issues.

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

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

2. Driver's License

Timing is Critical

The best Napa 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 Napa 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 Napa 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 Napa County, the DDP is located at 2020 Jefferson Street (see Google map below), with a satellite office in American Canyon. Click here for a Napa DUI Program Info flyer handed out at the time of sentencing in Napa County Superior Court. You can find more information about the Napa DUI Program. Detailed information and important tips about the Napa County DDP can be found here in Tip #4 of this section.

Click here for the Sonoma DUI Program or here for the Marin DUI Program, or here for Mendocino information. More programs and links may be found here on our DUI Compliance page of the Resources section of this website. Sonoma, Napa, and Marin Counties each have only one DDP. 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 Napa 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, Napa 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 Napa DUI lawyer about the best time to enroll and then don't delay.

3. Insurance

The SR-22

The Requirement. If you are convicted of a DUI or lose the DMV hearing, good Napa 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 Napa County is three years.

What is an SR-22. Your Napa 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 Napa 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 Napa County. For answers to many frequently asked questions about SR-22s, see Car Insurance 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 Napa 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 Napa 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? Napa 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, Napa 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 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 Napa 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 Napa 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 Napa 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 Napa County's participation in the state sponsored low income insurance program. Note: this program does not offer the SR-22.

4. DUI Classes

What is DUI Class?

If you are convicted of a DUI in Napa 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 Napa 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.

You may 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 Napa County DUI Lawyer: Easing the Consequences of a DUI). Your Napa 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 Napa 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 bottom of this page), 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.

Program Lengths

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 Napa 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 Napa County DUI convictions (Veh. Code Section 23538(b)(1)).

First Offenders Extended Six-Month DUI Program (AB 762): 45 hours Education Program and Group Counseling. Napa County requires 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 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)).

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 Napa 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 Napa 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)).

In Napa County, the DUI Program is run by Bay Area Community Resources, and is located at 2020 Jefferson Street in the City of Napa (see building pic and Google map of location, below). One can find general information by clicking here for the Program Flyer.

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 Napa County DUI lawyer before following his directions.

Click here for the Sonoma DUI Program or here for the Marin DUI Program, or here for Mendocino Information.

Participants are required to sign a program contract at enrollment which outlines certain rules, procedures and schedules. Click here for an example of a 2010 Multiple Offender Program Contract. At the time of the intake appointment, participants are required to provide a counselor with an intake assessment which involves answering numerous questions regarding DUI history, as well as personal perspectives on alcohol/drug use and history, and inquiries regarding the participants personal relationships, employment and health.

Enroll In Your Own County Of Residence

If you live or work in a county other than Napa, talk to your Napa DUI attorney or the DUI program about transferring to the most convenient program, such as Vallejo, Santa Rosa, San Rafael, Fort Bragg, 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 DUI program links. Napa, Mendocino, Sonoma, Solano, Marin and all the state-licensed DDPs are listed.

Be Prepared

Be prepared and know what you're doing. In Napa County you must sign up within 21 days of sentencing if you have not already done so. The Napa DUI program requires that you bring certain items and information to the initial Intake Appointment. Take all of your papers when you go to enroll. Take a check for the initial fee. Before you enroll, ask your Napa 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 Napa DUI lawyer. Monthly payments may be made on the DUI program fee. Be sure to keep your Payment Receipt. Programs are required to offer a sliding scale for fees depending on ability to pay. 9 CCR 9879.

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 Napa 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 Napa County DUI lawyer to handle your DMV hearing, then typically the Santa Rosa DMV already sent a copy of your H-6 printout to your DUI lawyer and you may ask him/her for a free copy. If there are further questions about your ability to enroll, call your DUI attorney while you are still at the DUI program so that you can minimize 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."

Once you are effectively enrolled, the Napa County DUI program will be expected to transmit a DL 107 Proof of Enrollment Certificate directly to DMV. This is the form DMV requires prior to issuing most restricted licenses; keep a copy, but it is the transmission of the document directly from the program to the DMV that is required before DMV will issue a restricted license (assuming timing, insurance and reissue fee prerequisites are also satisfied).

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

You must start classes within 21 days of enrollment. 9 CCR 9848.

Typical Class Schedules. Various programs offer various schedules. The Napa DUI program schedules are subject to availability and change at any time but generally consist of 2-hour evening classes Monday through Thursday from 6-8 pm or Monday from 12-2 pm (a participant picks just one of these for the weekly class). Napa also offers a Saturday morning class from 9-11 am. All classes are subject to availability at any given time.

A first offender "3-month" program in Napa County typically consists of two hours of class per week in Napa, plus three 15-minute meetings. Most participants will be required to complete at least 15 weeks with the program. Click here for an example of a Napa County DUI Program First Offender Class Schedule (Wednesday Afternoon).

Napa's 9-month classes are typically offered Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 6-8 pm, and Friday from 12-2 pm, as well as Saturday morning. Napa's 18-month program is typically offered Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday evenings as well as Monday, Wednesday and Thursday afternoons and Saturday morning. Click here for an example of a Napa County DUI Program 18-Month Class Schedule (Monday Evening).

Missed Classes

Approved absences are permitted: 2 for wet reckless program, 5 for first offender program, 7 for the extended six or nine-month 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 Napa drinking driver DUI Program 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 Napa County DDP 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 Napa 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 the Napa 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 Napa 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 Suspension Letter For Sobriety Noncompliance, or DMV Suspension Letter for Contact Noncompliance, etc. Contact your Napa County attorney promptly to see about a re-referral, especially if this is your second or higher DUI. Rules on re-referrals vary among counties.

DUI Program Policies And Decisions May be Challenged

Napa County DUI lawyers understand that many DUI programs are not as informed about the laws and regulations they apply 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 Napa DUI lawyer may be able to provide proof to the Napa 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 Napa 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 Napa DUI lawyer if the Napa 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 DUI program 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 Napa 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 Napa 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 Napa 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 Napa 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 Napa County program, then contact a Napa DUI lawyer to discuss alternatives and remedies.

Non-California Residents

If you live in a state other than California, then talk to your Napa County DUI lawyer about the possibility of either waiving the program altogether, or "self-enrolling" in a DUI program (meaning that the court will not require any compliance date for enrollment or completion), or attending an equivalent program in your home state, or satisfying the requirement with an approved Online DDP Program for nonresidents only; online programs will not satisfy California DMV requirements to lift license suspensions, but may satisfy the Napa Court's probation requirements, so it is important to discuss options, consequences and solutions with your local Napa County DUI attorney before relying upon any other advice.

5. Court Fines

The office entrance for arranging criminal fine payments is at the California Service Bureau, on the first floor of the main Napa criminal courthouse in downtown Napa at 1111 Third Street (at Main Street).

The best, service-oriented Napa DUI attorneys will arrange affordable monthly payments on any criminal court fine if a case results in a DUI conviction, and a Napa DUI lawyer will start this payment setup process for you after sentencing, but in most cases you must check in with the appropriate office on the same day as sentencing or at the latest the following day is recommended, to confirm your first payment date, monthly amounts, mailing addresses and methods of payment, and other arrangements. A good Napa DUI lawyer will explain to you that most counties allow for monthly payments of $75-$100 to ease the financial burden of increasingly higher court fines for a DUI.

Be sure to write your case number on each check. It is always best to try to pay off the entire amount early to avoid problems which often occur due to lost or forgotten payments. A failure to pay may result in a violation of probation (making a subsequent expungement of your criminal record much more difficult for a Napa County DUI lawyer to perform for you in the future), and may result in reporting to the DMV, resulting in an unanticipated driver license suspension notice in your mailbox and more procedures and headaches. Additional payment information for DUI fines may be obtained at the Napa County Court's Criminal Division page.

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 payment alternatives with your Napa DUI lawyer and arranging a community service alternative for you at the time of sentencing in order to reduce or eliminate the court fines. 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 Napa County taxpayer and may have already paid for the police department, the police car, and the salary of the police officer whose arrest you are now fighting, still, in these tough economic times Napa 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 Napa 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 (Allende) (1st Dist 2006) 135 C.A.4th 488.

A recent example. A recent CHP invoice (issued by that agency 2 years after the above appeals case was decided) which was sent 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 (completely contrary to controlling law in this jurisdiction) 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 arresting agency, or cause an item to be referred to a collection and risk a negative credit incident, such negative effects of asserting consumer rights may be negated with vigilance and protest when, as in the case above, the claimed debt is disputed and invalid. Many people never hear from the police agency again. If a lawsuit is filed by the Napa County police or other agency seeking reimbursement, the defendant will have the opportunity to challenge the collection attempt and claimed amounts. DUI defendants should always consult with a Napa DUI lawyer about the individual circumstances of an arrest before being intimidated into paying any such invoice from Napa County law enforcement or other agencies. See the more comprehensive discussion on this site about the Allende case, and developments since this case was first published, under Hire a Lawyer.

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 DUI attorney before paying it. Always discuss your individual circumstances with a Napa County DUI lawyer because they may affect the actual advice given to you in your unique case.

DUI defendants should always consult with a Napa DUI lawyer about the individual circumstances of an arrest before being intimidated into paying any such invoice from Napa County, a hospital, or state law enforcement agencies.

  1. 6. Court Probation
  2. 7. Jail Alternatives
  3. 8. Effects of a DUI on Various Jobs & Careers
  4. 9. Fix Trigger Problems
  5. 10. Expunge a Napa DUI

6. Court Probation

Read Your Sentencing Order and Stay Out of Trouble!

Your Napa County DUI lawyer should inform you that there are multiple obligations imposed at sentencing in Napa County, such as fines, DUI classes, jail, etc. Although the court and even your Napa 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 Napa 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. This is one of the most important reasons to have a Napa DUI attorney helping you, so that you fully understand the tasks and conditions which were imposed on you, and the consequences and benefits of unsuccessful or successful completion of probation.

In Napa County, at the time of sentencing, you or your Napa DUI lawyer will receive a copy of the "Probation Order" and accompanying "Minute Order" from the court showing every item recorded by the Napa courtroom clerk, including the court's specific sentencing orders (usually these are part of the court's probation order) regarding jail alternatives, fines, drinking driver DUI Program, dates, durations, even special orders for multiple offenders such as staying out of bars and abstaining from alcohol possession/use, waiver of search and seizure rights, and installation of an ignition interlock device, etc.

Any such orders typically last the entire term of probation unless otherwise stated in the orders. A good Napa County DUI lawyer will advise you to permanently keep the original orders (pictured here) with your important papers. Click here to see a typical Napa DUI First Offense Probation Order, or older 2014 example, or older 2008 example, and click here for a typical Napa First DUI with high alcohol levels, or older 2014 example, and click here for a typical Napa DUI Reduced to a Wet Reckless, or older 2014 example.

For other North Bay counties, click here for a Sonoma First DUI Minutes/Sentencing Order, or here for a typical probation order for a first Sonoma DUI Reduced To Wet Reckless, or here to see a typical first Marin DUI probation order, or here to see a typical first Mendocino DUI probation order.

The Conditional Sentence

Most Napa County DUI convictions result in what we call "informal" court probation (also called a "conditional sentence") described above, which does not require monthly reports or any restriction on your travel as would have been expected in a formal probation case. Simply put, your Napa County DUI lawyer should explain to you that your DUI resolution in court is conditioned upon you satisfying all affirmative obligations, and having no adverse police contact during this period or else you will risk further punishment in this case (in addition to any punishment in the new case, of course).

The standard informal probation period in Napa County is three to five years for a typical first or second DUI. Note that Napa is unique among Northbay counties in ordering formal probation sentences (requiring monitoring by the probation department) in many aggravated DUI cases such as multiple offenses, high alcohol levels, collisions, etc.

Typical Court Probation Terms

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 Napa court appearances, and complications expunging this case later).

In addition to these sentencing requirements, your Napa DUI attorney will explain that Napa 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 a DUI conviction when you could theoretically have up to .08% alcohol in your body when driving). The best Napa DUI attorneys are familiar with the relatively new penalty provisions regarding driving with measurable alcohol, discussed below. In addition, informal probationers with aggravated facts alleged may be required to waive search and seizure rights during this period and agree to submit to chemical testing pursuant to a lawful order by a Napa County peace officer; these waivers and agreements typically will not become relevant unless there is adverse police contact. 

Normally all of these and other probation conditions will be included on your Napa County court probation order (click on the examples, 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, and staying out of places where alcohol is the primary item for sale, etc. Click here to see a typical Napa Second DUI Probation Order, or older 2014 example, or older 2010 example, and click here to see a typical Napa Second DUI with Aggravating Factors, or older 2014 example.

The best Napa DUI lawyers should be able to explain that counties vary in sentencing practices. For a comparison of the above sentencing approaches in Napa County with other North Bay Counties, click here to see a typical Sonoma Second DUI Probation Order, or here for a typical Sonoma Second DUI with Aggravating Factors, and here for a typical Mendocino Second DUI Probation Order.

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 Napa DUI sentencing options and consequences, you may ask a Napa DUI attorney, or click on Resources on this site and then under "Self Help" click on the California Vehicle Code. Most of the Napa 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 Napa 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 the "minor passenger enhancement" (23572(a), mandating an additional 2-30 days jail, depending on the number of prior DUI convictions) when a minor passenger under the age of 14 years old was in the vehicle; the ".15 enhancement" (23578, allowing extra jail, possible longer six-month DUI program classes, possible ignition interlock device per 23575(a)(1)) when the driver refused a chemical test or his/her blood alcohol concentration was .15% or higher; the ".20 enhancement" (23538(b)(2), allowing extra jail and mandating the longer nine-month DUI program classes) when the driver refused a chemical test or his/her blood alcohol concentration was .20% or higher; and the "speeding enhancement" (23582, mandating an additional 60 days jail) when the driver drove recklessly and 30 mph over the posted speed limit on a freeway, or 20 mph on other roads. An important reason to hire a local Napa 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. Napa 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 Napa DUI lawyers will tell you that it is absolutely critical that you refrain from driving with any alcohol in your system at all during your probationary period. 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 Napa County then your driver license likely will be suspended for a minimum one year (refusals would be even longer) with no possibility of a 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.

Juvenile Offenders

If you are under age 18, special Napa County Juvenile Court proceedings may apply to you with significantly greater involvement by the Juvenile probation department.

Although juvenile criminal records may be sealed at age 18 (ask a Napa DUI lawyer about sealing juvenile records), 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 probation orders from your Napa DUI lawyer, and you wish to review precisely what was ordered by the court, you may appear at the Napa County criminal clerk's office at the main courthouse in Napa 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 Napa County court case and can often refresh recollections and clear up misunderstandings of precise resolutions, probation durations, time served, etc...

7. Jail Alternatives

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. While it is true that most misdemeanors in California carry a risk of up to six months in jail, nevertheless Napa County typically sentences two days of jail for a standard first DUI. Even two days is not required by law, and sometimes a local Napa DUI lawyer can avoid such a sentence. Your attorney should discuss your specific exposure with you so that you understand the realistic gravity of your case.

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

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

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

"Volunteer" Work

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

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

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

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

Home Electronic Confinement, Work Furlough and Other Alternatives

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

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

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

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

8. Effects of a DUI on Various Jobs & Careers

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 Napa attorney.

Practical Considerations. Napa 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 Napa 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 Napa 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 Napa County DUI incident or violation of probation in Napa Superior Court. In addition, certain rehabilitation may save a career. Factors such as the passage of time, successful completion of Napa 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 Napa 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:

Accountants (CPAs), and see B&P Section 5063 Reporting Requirements, and Reporting Form

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.

Brokers, Financial Advisors, and FINRA U4 and other Reporting Forms

Chiropractors, and see also 16 CCR § 317

Contractors, and Reporting Form

DMV Occupational Licenses (Salespersons, Dealers, Driving Schools)

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).

Insurance Brokers, and Reporting Requirements

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

Occupational Therapists, and see Occupational Therapy Practice Act, and sample Inquiry Letter

Paramedics, and AMR Policy Example

Peace Corps, and More on Peace Corps

Pharmacists, and More on Pharmacists, and see discipline case, In the Matter of Jacqueline Hall

Pilots, and More on Pilots, and Reporting Requirements

Real Estate Agents, and B&P Section 10186.2 Reporting Requirements, and Reporting Form

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).


Vocational Nurses & Psychiatric Technicians, and see sample Inquiry Letter

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 Napa County DUI or other conviction in the Napa 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 Napa DUI present special situations which require information you receive from military counsel, union representative, or your commander, and coordination of strategy with your Napa 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 Napa 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 Napa 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 Napa 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 Napa 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 Napa 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 Napa County DUI case is resolved without conditions (in other words, without continuing probation). Sometimes a letter or other proof of need to resolve your Napa County case without probation terms may help your Napa 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 Napa DUI lawyer to speak with the appropriate commanding or recruiting officer, often severe consequences may be avoided.

Commercial Drivers

Commercial drivers with Class A or B licenses face particularly tough consequences upon conviction for a Napa County DUI or failure to win the related Napa 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 Napa County Superior Court. See our further Napa DUI Lawyer discussion about commercial DUI suspensions, restricted licenses, and Getting Your License Back. Discuss your specific case with a Napa 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 Napa 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 Napa 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 Napa 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 Napa 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 Napa 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 Napa 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 Napa 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 Napa County DUI attorney about your unique situation.

Public Information, Internet & Mug Shots

Court Records. Napa 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 Napa 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, 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.

Agencies often post arrest information on the Nixle public safety agency reporting service. Click the following links to see the local Nixle sites for Napa Police, St. Helena Police, and Napa County Sheriff.

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, Napa 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 harful 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 Napa 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 Napa County DUI attorney about your unique situation.

9. Fix Trigger Problems

The best Napa 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

Napa 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 Napa County courthouse in Napa, 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 Napa 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 Napa 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, Napa 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 Napa County judge. You can find AA and NA locations in Napa County by clicking here: Local AA Meetings, and then select the Napa County link. Likewise, you can find Narcotics Anonymous ("NA") meetings by clicking here: Local NA Meetings, and then select the Napa County link. Discuss your individual circumstances with your Napa DUI attorney.

Napa DUI Lawyer Tip: There are many different kinds of AA and NA meetings in Napa 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.

Napa 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 Napa 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 Napa 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 Napa DUI lawyer will have them at the right time (always keep the originals).

Specialty 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 Napa 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 Napa County, 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 a North Bay Bohemian Article About LifeRing.  You may wish to inquire with your Napa 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 or residential rehab to avoid increased penalties or being jailed during the court proceedings if there are no obvious defenses in your DUI case. Click here to see a Sample Kaiser Scheduling Commitment. You may be able to find other service providers by contacting the Napa County Department of Alcohol and Drug Services. Day-for-day jail credits can often be obtained for controlled residential treatment accomplished prior to sentencing, with such agencies as McAlister Institute, located in Napa.

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 Napa County and other North Bay out-patient and residential rehab services, talk to your Napa County DUI lawyer about such self-help efforts, and also look at relevant links under "DUI Compliance" to view other Napa County drug and alcohol programs.

10. Expunge a Napa DUI

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 Napa County, and as long as you are not on probation in any other case, you may ask your Napa County DUI attorney to file an expungement petition in Napa 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 Napa 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 Napa DUI lawyers typically range from $800 to $1500.

Benefits And Limitations Of Expungements

Benefits. An expungement of a Napa 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 Napa 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 Napa DUI attorney will tell you that an expungement of a Napa 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 Napa 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 Napa judge may accomplish this in certain cases). Finally, a good Napa DUI lawyer should caution you that a Napa 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 Napa 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 Napa 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, Napa 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 Napa 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 Napa County DUI expungement; it is well worth a reasonable fee for a Napa 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 Napa DUIs, see our Napa 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 Napa 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 Napa 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 Napa 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 Napa 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 Napa 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 Napa 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

Napa DUI Lawyers Understand Legal Forms and Procedure. If you don't know the information requested in the forms, you can have a local Napa County DUI lawyer research and process the forms on your behalf. In addition, hiring a Napa County DUI defense attorney may be necessary to successfully challenge a court's routine denial of expungement if the Napa County District Attorney's office continues to automatically "reject" DUI expungement petitions as that office has done in the past.

Napa DUI Lawyers Understand How DUI Expungements are Different. You know you have the right Napa 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 Napa 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 Napa 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. Napa 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 Napa 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 Napa DUI attorney to process, and once submitted, up to 12 weeks or more for Napa County courts to review and approve. Click here for the correct Napa DUI expungement forms as of May, 2017: Petition for Dismissal, Transmittal and Agency Review; and click here for the required fillable state 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 Napa 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. Napa DUI lawyers have seen new Napa County DUI cases with significantly increased penalty exposure due to past juvenile Napa County DUIs and under-21 DUIs which were never sealed. For more information about sealing a Napa County DUI suffered as a juvenile, or sealing other juvenile offenses, contact the Napa County Juvenile Court, and see a general description on the Official California Courts website, Sealing Juvenile Records. Discuss your unique case with a Napa DUI attorney before deciding on a course of action.