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Receiving a DUI in Sonoma County


Can I Retain My Driving Privileges In Sonoma County After A DUI Arrest?

It is important to act quickly if you wish to protect your driver’s license once you’ve been arrested for DUI. The good news is that if we request an administrative hearing with the DMV within 10 days of arrest, we can at minimum keep you driving for many months while we fight your case in court and at the DMV.

If the DMV administrative hearing is not requested your driver’s license will be automatically suspended 30 days after your arrest.

If you are charged with a DUI in Sonoma County, your best bet is to contact a DUI attorney immediately. Your attorney will then contact the DMV and request the hearing on your behalf. This will provide the best chance for you to keep your driver’s license.

How Do I Win My Sonoma County DMV Hearing? Will The Hearing Affect My Criminal Case?

The key to winning a Sonoma County DMV hearing lies in the discovery process. This process includes gathering records regarding blood alcohol level testing, the chain of custody of samples, the reading and interpretation of test results, and any footage from police cameras. These types of evidence, in combination with a skilled DUI attorney, will provide the best chance of winning your Sonoma County DMV hearing. The DMV hearing is separate from your criminal DUI case and requires a lesser burden of proof to win.

What If I Lose My Sonoma County DMV Hearing? Can I Recover My Driver’s License?

It is possible to get your driving privileges back after losing a DMV hearing. Generally, on a first-offense DUI charge, your driver’s license will be suspended for a short period. Then, you can apply for a restricted license. You will be permitted to drive to work and any court ordered classes with your restricted driver’s license. This restriction level usually lasts for a five months period. However, if your case includes a refusal allegation or a reported blood alcohol level above 0.20, you may subject to a year of no driving privileges. A blood alcohol level above 0.20 potentially carries with it a one-month suspension, followed by 9-10 months of a restricted license. On a first-offense DUI with a blood-alcohol level under 0.20, it is completely possible to have full driving privileges restored after five months. In order to apply for a restricted license after a suspension, you must: pay a fee to the DMV, complete DUI classes, and obtain high-risk insurance. An experienced DUI attorney will be able to guide you in finding affordable high-risk insurance.

Can A Sonoma County DUI Case Be Won?


It is possible to fight and win a DUI case in Sonoma County. To beat a DUI charge, it will generally need to be proven that there was no proper cause for an officer to pull your vehicle over and/or arrest you. It would then be required for the arresting officer to present his case for arresting you to a judge.

Another way to win a Sonoma County DUI case is to proceed to a jury trial. This is a risk, as winning requires all twelve jurors to agree beyond a reasonable doubt. While winning a jury trial is not impossible, it requires the guidance of an experienced trial attorney.

What Are Sonoma County’s Penalties For DUI Convictions?

First Offense DUI In Sonoma County:

  • Three years of probation
  • Slightly higher fines, fees, and assessments than other counties
  • Mandatory three-month drug and alcohol education
  • Two days in jail, which may be suspended or converted into a work program

Second offense DUI In Sonoma County:

  • Four-five years of probation
  • Even higher fines, fees, and assessments than first time DUI conviction
  • Mandatory 18-month drug and alcohol education
  • 96 hours-one year in jail. Prosecutors in Sonoma County may insist on a minimum of 10 days in jail, which may be suspended or converted into a work program

Third Offense DUI In Sonoma County:

  • Five years of probation
  • Highest fines, fees, and assessments
  • Mandatory 18-month drug and alcohol education
  • 120-180 days in jail, possibly converted into an in-patient treatment program or monitored home detention.
What Is The Meaning Of The Sonoma County Zero Tolerance Law?

Sonoma County is a zero tolerance county. This means once you have been convicted if a DUI, you cannot legally drive with any level of alcohol in your system, no matter how low. If you do drive after drinking any amount of alcohol, you risk losing your driver’s license for an entire year, and could also face being charged with probation violation.

Sonoma County DUI Program

Address: 1250 Coddingtown Center, Santa Rosa, CA 95401
Phone: (707) 565-7641

Orientation Meeting Days, Location and Times

No appointment is necessary.

Orientations are held in Santa Rosa on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons only (except on County holidays) at:

1430 Neotomas Avenue, Santa Rosa, CA

  • Wednesday afternoon: doors open at 12:00 p.m. for paperwork processing and are closed promptly at 1:00 p.m. Orientation is held from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. A sign-up list for same day intake is placed in the lobby at 10:00 a.m.
  • Thursday afternoon: doors open at 4:00 p.m. for paperwork processing and are closed promptly at 5:00 p.m. Orientation is held from 5:00 to 6:00 p.m. A sign-up list for same day intake is placed in the lobby at 2:00 p.m.
  • Spanish (only) orientation Wednesday afternoon: doors open at 3:30 p.m. or paperwork processing and are closed promptly at 4:30 p.m. Orientation is held from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. A sign-up list for same day intake is placed in the lobby at 1:30 p.m.
Fees and Minimum Down Payments
  • Payments may only be made by cashier’s check, money order, Visa or Master Card. Call for fee amounts.
Important Phone Numbers

Mandatory Actions:

DMV Sacramento (916) 657-6525

Sonoma County Courts:

Location: Hall of Justice, 600 Administration Drive, Room 105J, Santa Rosa CA 95403
Office Hours: 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday – Friday
Court Hours: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday – Friday
Phone: (707) 521-6620, 8:00 a.m. to noon, Monday – Friday

Aaron Bortel

Get your questions answered - Call Us 24/7 For a FREE Case Evaluation (415) 523-7878.

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