If you were arrested for a DUI in Sacramento County then you most likely signed a "Promise to appear" form stating that you agree to show up on a given court date, at a certain time and in a specific department. It is a white piece of paper and it is usually included in with your personal possessions when your are released from the jail. Most misdemeanor DUI cases, first offense, seconds and thirds (without injury to another person) are usually released on their own recognizance, that is without posting bail. This does not mean that bail will not be imposed at your first court appearance. Your Sacramento DUI attorney should advise you before your first court appearance whether you will have to post bail so that you are not taken into custody at your first appearance. Generally, this is only a concern in Sacramento DUI's which are not first offenses. If you have a prior DUI within 10 years the court may desire to impose bail.
Sacramento Misdemeanor DUI's
Most misdemeanor DUI cases in Sacramento are sent to either Department 3 or 4 on the second floor of the main courthouse located at 720 9th Street, Sacramento, CA 95818. Your case will be either on an 8:30 or a 1:30 calendar and you are expected to be there on time. That being said it is not uncommon to be waiting outside those departments and for the doors to remain locked until 8:45 or 1:45. In short, it's o.k. if the court is late but attorneys and clients must be on time. Allow extra time for parking, getting through the metal detector and unexpected delays. A cushion of 15 minutes should be sufficient to get you there on time depending on the distance you are traveling.
When the Sacramento County Sheriff's bailiff finally opens the courtroom doors and directs you inside the courtroom you will be asked to remove all hats, sun glasses and chewing gum. Usually the first row of the courtroom is reserved for attorneys and you are NOT to sit in it. Shortly after being seated the bailiff will usually call out the names on the calendar and ask if anyone's name was not read. If your name was not read be certain to tell the bailiff.
A brief video will be played after the bailiff reads the names, explaining some of the process and welcomes you to Sacramento DUI court. The judge will usually take the bench at the end of the video and begin calling the cases. Generally speaking the court will call private attorney cases before calling the rest of the calendar.
If you have hired a private Sacramento DUI attorney you do NOT have to appear in court on a misdemeanor DUI. You are permitted to appear "through your attorney". Appearance through your attorney, without you being present, is specifically permitted by California Penal Code Section 977. You have the statutory right to appear through your attorney and you will not be punished in any way for exercising this right. The legislature understands that misdemeanors are of a lesser severity and wants to permit those accused of such violations the option to continue with their work/lives/school without the necessity of personally appearing.
If you do appear in court you should dress respectfully as though you were attending a church service. You do not have to wear a coat and tie but do dress respectfully. No Budweiser shirts, pot leaf shirts, or foul language.
Appear by yourself without lawyer?
If you appear by yourself without an Sacramento DUI Lawyer the court will likely ask if you if you are going to retain private council or if you qualify for the services of the public defender. While it is true that you can represent yourself it is strongly discouraged. If you are interested in learning about getting your DUI dismissed consulting an experienced DUI lawyer is a must.
Parking: There is metered street parking all around the Sacramento county courthouse but that is not recommended unless you know that you will be out in time. It is better to park in the public parking off 8th and G street or the public parking off the alley way on the 9th Street side of the courthouse.