Top Ten Tips > Easing the Consequences of a DUI

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. Mendocino County typically sentences 48 hours of jail for a standard first DUI. This is not required by law, and sometimes a Mendocino County DUI defense lawyer can avoid such a sentence. Your DUI attorney should discuss your specific exposure with you so that you understand the gravity of your case.

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

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

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

Volunteer Work.

Most counties, including Mendocino, offer "work release" or sheriff's alternative work program ("SWAP") which is a jail alternative where you perform designated community service with the county in Ukiah or elsewhere under the supervision of the Sheriff's department, instead of going to jail. Certain allowances may be made for legitimate physical limitations.

Home Electronic Confinement, Work Furlough and Other Alternatives

Even if this is your second or higher DUI, or this is your first DUI but additional factors are present, it may be advantageous to explore other alternatives to incarceration such as electronic monitoring. For example, the ankle bracelet (home confinement) and work furlough (jail at night) both allow you to go to work. Addition of a secure continuous remote alcohol monitor ("SCRAM") device (pictured below) to a sentencing scheme may convince a judge in a particular case to allow such alternatives to jail even in relatively bad cases.

You may wish to click the following link to review a Ukiah Daily Journal article published in November, 2010, examining the home monitoring and work release jail alternatives in Mendocino County which may available to certain DUI arrests which result in jail sentencing.

It is critical to discuss alternatives with your local Mendocino County DUI lawyer prior to sentencing so that proper details are accomplished to maximize your ability to take advantage of available alternatives.


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

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Dave Jake Schwartz is an Honors Graduate from UC Hastings Law School, and UC Davis, former Federal Judicial Clerk, and Nationally Qualified Sobriety Tests Practitioner. Member of the California Bar for 30 years, 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