Top Ten Questions > From Everyone

4. Should I get a lawyer?

Yes, a Mendocino County DUI is serious and complicated. Don't act on casual advice to fight this by yourself (See, Ten Tips for the First 48 Hours: Don't Follow Bad Advice), or even worse, don't simply walk into court alone to "accept responsibility" and ask for leniency. Many people believe that a case may be dismissed or penalties avoided or reduced because they've never been in trouble before, but it just doesn't work that way; there always can be a variety of aggravating factors which can make a DUI case much worse, or defenses which can make a DUI case much better, and only lawyers are trained to identify all of these for you. In addition, there are also piles of legal issues, bureaucratic tasks, and huge inconveniences in every DUI case which a local Mendocino County DUI lawyer can help you to navigate, or completely avoid.

Hire a LawyerIf you don't see how involved and complex even a first DUI can be in Mendocino County without a lawyer, then click on Anatomy of a Mendocino DUI on this site and see the many different directions a Ukiah DUI case can go, as well as the burdensome collection of obligations, timetables and tasks to perform. And don't drive to court with a suspended license. Click here to see the Santa Rosa Court Sting. These happen in Napa as well and would not be surprising in Ukiah. Have a Mendocino DUI lawyer go for you instead.

Will your absence be noticed by the court or required by your Mendocino DUI attorney? No, in most cases court appearances are strictly procedural. Unless special circumstances are present, judges do not wish to speak to a defendant at such proceedings and your absence or presence will go unnoticed. Clients who live in Ukiah, or Willits, or Mendocino County, rarely, if ever, come to court in typical DUI cases. This doesn't mean you'll be left in the dark about your case. A good Mendocino County DUI lawyer will explain the entire process. To start, click here to see Jake's comprehensive Anatomy of a Mendocino County DUI flowchart. In addition, Jake's tech know-how can be very helpful to avoid the need for client travel, meetings or appearances, especially at the procedural beginning of a case. Jake routinely makes available to our clients the police reports and other DUI case documents after court appearances.

You can (and should) closely follow the progress of your case by communicating with your attorney before and after Ukiah court appearances, and following your case separately online by clicking on Resources on this site and then find your local court under "Courts" by clicking on the county where you were arrested (for example, Sonoma, Mendocino, or Napa), and search for your name. Sonoma Courts have a case history summary online, typically a few days before your first court date, listing case number, charges, and the first (or next) court date and time, as well as the assigned Judge in your Mendocino DUI case. Napa Courts and Mendocino Courts have daily online calendars. Marin Courts have San Rafael appearances online weeks in advance.

A good local Ukiah DUI lawyer will get you the best resolution, properly handled with the least stress and confusion, which is well worth a reasonable fee. If you already know you cannot afford to hire a private lawyer, then consider requesting a public defender. Click on Ten Tips for the First 48 Hours after Arrest on this site for a more detailed discussion about getting a DUI lawyer. Watch our Mendocino DUI lawyer Video Short discussing why to hire a lawyer. Consult with a Mendocino DUI lawyer about your specific case.


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

Our DUI Lawyers

Dave Jake Schwartz is an Honors Graduate from UC Hastings Law School, and UC Davis, former Federal Judicial Clerk, and Nationally Qualified Sobriety Tests Practitioner. Member of the California Bar for 30 years, North Bay resident for over 20 years, handles only DUI cases, including thousands of North Bay DUIs and DMV hearings: first/multiple offenders, minors, seniors, tourists, undocumented immigrants, veterans, probation violations, suspended license, public intoxication, open container, minor in possession, child endangerment, collisions, hit and run, evading, resisting arrest.


Dave Jake Schwartz