Starting the week of January 18, 2011, there have been major changes in the judicial assignments and a rotation of prosecuting attorneys in these two courts. Parking meters around the court house are limited to two hours.There are two public lots where you can pay when you leave, so that you don't have to worry about a ticket if your appearance takes longer than two hours. One takes up the entire block between 7 and 8 Streets & l and H Streets.The other garage is next to the Law Office of Denis H. White, Jr., in the alley directly in front of the court house fountain. The metal detector at the West entrance of the courthouse is slightly more sensitive.Think about what you are taking with you to court. The sheriff will turn you away even if you are running late for court. DUI cases have been divided between Departments 3 and 4, on the second floor. If your case is on the arraignment calendar at 1:30pm, plan to be there a few minutes early. Seating is limited. Check the court calendar to make sure your name is listed. Recently, the Sacramento County Crime Lab has been having great difficulty getting blood tests analyzed timely. If that is the case you will very likely be told to go home and that you will get a letter in the mail when or if charges are filed. In cases where I have been retained, I prefer to continue the case to a date certain, rather than leave things to chance. I suggest to people that intend to go to court alone that they take an aisle seat as far forward as possible. That way when the Judge tells people to line up you will avoid the unnecessary delay of being last in line. The sooner the court is able to call your case;the sooner you'll be able to get out of there. If your name is not on the calendar, quietly let the Bailiff know and he/she will tell you what to do. If you are lucky, your case may be one of those that the District Attorney has chosen to reject. You can also go to Room 102 on the first floor of the courthouse and ask one of the clerks to look up your name, to see where you should be. My suggestion is that you try to get some direction from the Bailiff first, so that you don't miss any of the information shared in the first thirty minutes after the doors open. If you think you need an interpreter, tell the Bailiff. The court has access to interpreters for all the most common foreign languages and will make arrangements for others as needed. When the Judge takes the bench he/she will likely, in a general way, go over your rights as they pertain to criminal cases, share with you the standard penalties for certain offenses and will talk about your options regarding sentencing. From the moment the doors open you will see Private Attorneys coming and going. In most instances the law allows us to appear for our clients and we don't ask them to be present. For the convenience of the Sheriff and the Courts, the in custody cases are called first in the afternoon. Once the Judge is through with the in custody cases he/she will call people up in groups. Listen carefully, so that you know when to line up. When you get to the front of the line it's all about YOU, so listen closely. The Bailiff will read your name to the Judge, who will then tell you what crimes you are charged with. He will ask the District Attorney what their offer is, so that you know what the punishment will be if you enter a plea. Your choices are as follows: enter a plea, in which case the District Attorney will hand you a plea form, which you will take outside the courtroom to fill out. You will be told to return it to the Bailiff after you are done, so the court can call your case. You can ask for a Public Defender, in which case you'll be asked to take a seat until someone from that office calls your name to talk to you. If you ask for the Public Defender the Court will quiz you on your gross income. If you don't believe you are going to qualify or don't want a Public Defender, you can ask for a continuance to consult with a Private Attorney. The court is very good about granting a limited amount of time for this purpose. Don't get ambushed. There is a current trend by the District Attorney and Judge to insist on bail reviews where persons are accused of a DUI with priors or other aggravating facts. Where that is anticipated, it may be a good idea to make contact with a reputable bondsman in advance of court, just in case. The court does not deal with the DMV or issues of license suspensions and restrictions on a regular basis. Do not rely on the advice of the court if you have concerns in this area. Sacramento County is one of only four counties that are participating in a pilot program which will require you to install an ignition interlock device on any vehicles owned or operated by you, for every DUI case with a violation date on or after July 1, 2010. www.deniswhitelaw.com has researched the different companies that offer the service and can e-mail you a list of companies and their prices if you like. It is difficult or impossible to give advice without the specific facts of a case. If you are uncomfortable with the reason law enforcement came into contact with you, trust your instincts and seek legal advice. Police reports are written by people that have to justify why they made the decision to arrest you. In all these instances people are involved. People make mistakes. Have they made any in your case? While I know what you really want is great results, at the front end you may need to be satisfied with the peace of mind provided by having a lawyer that deals with this area of law looking out for your interests.