Mendocino Courthouse

Top Ten Tips > Easing the Consequences of a DUI

7. Jail Alternatives

work release applicationMost 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, Willits, Fort Bragg, or elsewhere under the supervision of the Sheriff's department, instead of going to jail, avoiding actual incarceration behind bars. Certain allowances may be made with proof of legitimate physical limitations. Typically this is the most flexible, least intrusive jail alternative available.

Home Electronic Confinement, Work Furlough and Other Alternatives

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

female CAM

For example, the ankle bracelet (home confinement) and work furlough (jail at night) both allow you to go to work, often preserving a good job and family income. The addition of a secure continuous remote alcohol monitor ("SCRAM") device (pictured here) to any sentencing scheme may convince a judge in a particular case to allow such alternatives to jail even in relatively bad cases.

You may wish to click the following link to review a Ukiah Daily Journal article published in November, 2010, examining the home monitoring and work release jail alternatives in Mendocino County which may still be available in certain DUI cases where there are no other mitigating circumstances or viable defenses and a jail sentence appears to be imminent.

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


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