Sonoma County Courthouse

Top Ten Tips > First 48 Hours

4. Calendar Court Date

Sonoma County Court AddressOne of the first questions from a good Sonoma 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 Santa Rosa, or forget to appear in Sonoma 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 Santa Rosa DUI attorneys appear for their clients in Sonoma 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 Sonoma County Criminal Court location where Sonoma DUI lawyers appear for you (or where you would appear on your own if you choose not to hire a lawyer) following a DUI arrest is here:

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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 Sonoma 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

Cloverdale Police Department citation

Cotati Police Department citation

Healdsburg Police Department citation

Parks and Recreation citation

Petaluma Police Department citation

Rohnert Park Police Department citation

Santa Rosa Junior College Police Department citation

Santa Rosa Police Department citation

Sebastopol Police Department citation

Sonoma County Sheriff citation

Sonoma Police Department citation

Sonoma State University citation

Your Santa Rosa DUI attorney may tell you to keep an eye on your incoming mail, in case you did not receive any kind of citation like the examples above (but see "District Attorney Cite Letter" below), and you did not bail out of jail, so that there might not be any papers with a first court date listed. But it is also true that you may have received such a citation, yet there might be a change listed on a Notice of Correction mailed to your home. If you receive such a notice of correction, then send a copy to your Sonoma County DUI lawyer immediately.

Court Date on Bail Papers

Most people arrested for a DUI in Sonoma County are taken to the Sonoma County jail in Santa Rosa and formally booked (finger printed) and then told that they may bail out of jail if they wish to contact a bail agent or post lots of money on their own. A good Sonoma DUI attorney will tell you to look at your bail papers for a "Statement of Charges," or a bail receipt, or calendaring sheet, which should have your court date listed. Click here for examples of your first court date listed on the:

Aladdin Bail Receipt

Aladdin Statement Of Charges

Bail Bonds America Calendar Sheet

Liberty Calendar Sheet

Rod Buntjer Bail Receipt

Romelli Calendar Sheet

Romelli Bail Receipt

Romelli Bail Receipt and Statement of Charges

Romelli Bail Receipt and Statement of Charges

Wally Jacobsen Bail Receipt

Bail Paid in Cash (or Credit Card) in Jail: If you paid a cash bail directly to the jail or 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.

Court Date in 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 Sonoma 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 Santa Rosa DUI lawyer if not already accomplished.

With respect to the request to appear for booking, most Sonoma County DUI lawyers 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 Sonoma County. The juvenile probation department in Santa Rosa 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 such a Probation Letter.

A Sonoma County DUI lawyer may accompany the juvenile and parents to this probation interview. A decision will be made whether to recommend Sonoma County juvenile court proceedings at the Los Guilicos Juvenile Court in Sonoma.

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Haven't Hired a Lawyer Yet?

If you haven't yet hired a Santa Rosa DUI attorney, and cannot decide what to do before your first appearance, you may stand up in court in Santa Rosa when your case is called, and tell the judge that you need additional time to speak with a Sonoma DUI lawyer. If you cannot afford to hire a private lawyer, then you may appear at the first court date and before saying anything else, ask for a public defender to be appointed (note: Sonoma County public defenders do not contact DMV for you or handle DMV hearings). The reasons listed above for getting a local Sonoma County DUI lawyer apply whether you are paying for a private attorney or using a publicly 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, Sonoma County resident for over 20 years, handles only DUI cases, including thousands of Sonoma County 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