Mendocino Courthouse

Top Ten Tips > First 48 Hours

4. Calendar Court Date

Ukiah Mendocino County CourtOne of the first questions from a good Mendocino County DUI lawyer will be "what is your first court date?" If you don't know the first court date, or worse, you ignore your first court date in Ukiah, or forget to appear in Mendocino County Superior Court, then the court will most likely immediately issue a bench warrant for your arrest. Such a development would likely lead to severe inconvenience to you (including arrest and incarceration), and would later look bad to the court. We prefer to have a Judge smile rather than frown at the first court appearance. Private Ukiah DUI attorneys appear for their clients in Mendocino County Superior Court (and sometimes in Traffic or Juvenile Court too) to ensure that no warrant is issued, to protect any bail you posted, and to start your case properly in front of the court, sparing you the embarrassment, stress and inconvenience of having to personally appear on your own.

The Ukiah branch of the Mendocino County Criminal Court location to appear on your own following a DUI arrest is here:

Court date on citation

If you were not taken to the county jail, but rather you were released at the scene, or released later from a local police station, then you were likely handed a citation or "Notice to Appear," that looks much like a typical speeding ticket. If you were handed such a citation, then you can find your first court date at the bottom of that paper. Click below to see samples of typical Mendocino County citations showing an arrestee's first court date at the bottom of the front side of the Notice to Appear, and additional information on the reverse:

CHP citation

Parks and Recreation citation

Ukiah Police Department citation

Willits Police Department citation

Court Date on Jail or Bail Papers

Some people arrested for a DUI in Mendocino County are taken to the Mendocino County jail in Ukiah and formally booked (finger printed) and then released several (or many) hours later without having to post any bail money. In these cases, it is likely that you would be handed a Mendocino County Sheriff's Office Corrections Division Pretrial Release form when you were released from custody, with your first appearance date listed at the bottom of that form.

Some people arrested for a DUI in Mendocino County are taken to the Mendocino County jail, booked, and then told that they may bail out of jail if they wish to contact a bail agent or post their own money in cash. In such cases, a good Mendocino DUI attorney will tell you to look at your bail papers for a "Corrections Division Bail Payment,"" or a "Statement of Charges," or a bail receipt, or calendaring sheet, which should have your first court date listed. Click here for examples of your court date listed on a Mendocino Corrections Division Bail Payment, or an Aladdin Statement Of Charges, or a Romelli Bail Receipt. If you paid a cash bail directly to the court rather than using a bail company, then click here to see an example of a Cash Bail Receipt page where the first court date is hand-written at the bottom, or a small Jail Receipt where the first court date is printed at the bottom.

District Attorney Cite Letter

Sometimes no citation is issued at the time of an incident (often after an accident), or a defendant shows for court at the time listed and there are no charges, or for some other reason a defendant receives a Cite Letter from the Mendocino County District Attorney, listing the charges filed, a first court date to appear, and typically a request to present for booking and release one week prior to the court date if booking was not performed following the incident in question. This is the time to hire a local Mendocino County DUI lawyer if not already accomplished.

With respect to the request to appear for booking, most Ukiah DUI attorneys are aware of PC 853.6(g) which allows for such a booking procedure, but this statute provides that failure to comply with the request to present for booking prior to court simply results in an order from the judge to do so before the next court appearance.

Juvenile Drivers

Juvenile DUIs (under age 18) are usually treated differently than adult DUIs in Mendocino County. The juvenile probation department in Ukiah is typically first to become involved, and will usually contact a juvenile and his/her parents with a letter several weeks after the arrest, requesting an interview about family life, school, and substance abuse. Click here to see an example of a similar example from Sonoma County: Probation Letter.

A Mendocino County DUI lawyer may accompany the juvenile and parents to this probation interview. A decision will be made whether to recommend Mendocino County juvenile court proceedings at the Juvenile Justice Center in the Ukiah Courthouse.

Haven't Hired a Lawyer Yet?

If you cannot decide what to do before your first appearance, you may stand up in court in Ukiah when your case is called, and tell the judge that you need additional time to speak with a lawyer. If you cannot afford to hire a private Mendocino County DUI lawyer, then you may appear at the first court date and before saying anything else, ask for a public defender to be appointed (note: Mendocino County public defenders do not contact DMV for you or handle DMV hearings). The reasons listed above for getting a local Mendocino DUI lawyer apply whether you are paying for a private attorney or using a publically appointed attorney. Get a lawyer!


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