Best Salinas Criminal Lawyers

The Top Criminal Defense Attorneys in Salinas, California

Finding the right criminal defense attorney in Salinas can make all the difference in the outcome of your case. With over 20 years of experience representing clients charged with everything from DUIs to homicide, the criminal lawyers in Salinas have seen it all. This article will highlight some of the top-rated and most experienced criminal defense attorneys in the Salinas area that you can trust to fight for your rights.

Factors to Consider When Hiring a Salinas Criminal Lawyer

There are a few key factors you should evaluate when researching criminal defense attorneys in Salinas:

  • Years of Experience – You’ll want to find an attorney who has extensive experience specifically handling criminal cases in Salinas courts. They’ll be familiar with local judges, prosecutors and processes.
  • Track Record of Success – Look for lawyers with a proven history of getting charges reduced or dismissed, keeping clients out of jail, and getting positive outcomes at trial. Check client reviews.
  • Specialized Expertise – Find someone who focuses specifically on criminal defense, not a general practice lawyer. DUI, drug crimes, domestic violence, and homicide cases all require niche expertise.
  • Resources & Trial Skills – Make sure they have the resources and trial advocacy skills to thoroughly investigate your case, hire experts if needed, negotiate strongly, and take your case to trial if necessary.
  • Communication – You need an attorney who is responsive, attentive, and explains things in a way you understand. You’ll be working closely together.

Top Salinas Criminal Defense Law Firms

Here are some of the most experienced and reputable criminal defense firms in the Salinas area:

1. The Law Office of John D. LemMon

With over 22 years of criminal defense experience under his belt, attorney John D. LemMon is one of the most seasoned and respected criminal lawyers in Salinas. His firm takes on serious felony cases including homicide, sex crimes, domestic violence, drug offenses, DUI, weapons charges, theft, and more. LemMon is known for his meticulous trial preparation, tough negotiation tactics, and compassion for his clients. Past clients praise his “bulldog” defense in the courtroom along with his integrity and focus on personalized attention. LemMon has successfully defended clients facing life sentences and even the death penalty.

2. Velasquez Law Office

Attorney Oscar Velasquez heads up a bilingual firm specializing in defending Latino clients. Velasquez grew up in Salinas himself, so he understands the community. He handles cases ranging from misdemeanors to serious violent felonies. Velasquez Law Office stands out for their focus on building a customized defense strategy tailored to each client’s unique situation. Attorney Velasquez also emphasizes clear communication, compassion and building trust with each client. His experience includes over 100 jury trials.

3. The Law Office of Erik G. Babcock

Erik G. Babcock is a former Monterey County prosecutor turned aggressive criminal defense lawyer. His background on both sides of the courtroom gives him an edge when defending clients today. Babcock Law handles felonies, misdemeanors, DUIs, domestic violence and restraining order cases. Babcock is known for taking an analytical approach, scrutinizing the details of each case to build the strongest defense. He has successfully defended business professionals, teachers, government employees and others facing damaging criminal allegations. Clients receive personalized attention from Babcock himself as well as competitive rates.

Top Rated Criminal Defense Attorneys in Salinas

Beyond the law firms, here are several individual criminal defense lawyers who stand out for their experience, track records, and client reviews:

  • Neal Davis – With an impressive 100% acquittal rate for serious violent felony trials, attorney Neal Davis is arguably one of the top criminal lawyers in Salinas. His aggressive advocacy has led to countless dismissed and reduced charges. Davis also appeals convictions for innocent clients. His expertise includes sex crimes, domestic violence, DUI, theft, drugs, and manslaughter.
  • Mark Bruce – Specializing in defending DUIs and drunk driving cases, attorney Mark Bruce is one of the go-to lawyers in Salinas for DUI defense. As a former DUI prosecutor, he has unique insights. Bruce also represents clients facing drug charges, domestic violence, weapons offenses, and more. He is known for his tenacious courtroom presence.
  • Tom Worthington – Former Monterey County prosecutor Tom Worthington has tried over 60 criminal jury trials, giving him an edge in criminal defense today. His experience includes homicides, sex crimes, domestic violence, and drug trafficking cases. Worthington is praised for his compassion, discretion, and legal knowledge.
  • Jay Kesselman – With deep roots in the Salinas legal community, attorney Jay Kesselman is known as a passionate advocate who connects with juries and gets results. He represents clients facing charges from DUI to murder. Kesselman has successfully defended high-profile cases covered by media outlets like Dateline NBC.
  • Jared Thompson – Aggressive defense lawyer Jared Thompson handles serious violent felony cases including murder, attempted murder, assault, sex crimes, robbery, and more. He is a member of the California Attorneys for Criminal Justice and well-versed in forensic science issues impacting criminal defense.

Building an Effective Criminal Defense Strategy

The legal experts at Velasquez Law Office recommend focusing on these key elements as you build a defense in your Salinas criminal case:

  • Act Fast – Time is of the essence in criminal defense. Quickly hiring an experienced attorney ensures you have strong counsel from the earliest stages, which is critical.
  • Remain Silent – Never speak about your case with anyone but your attorney. What you say can and will be used against you otherwise. Let your lawyer handle communication.
  • Investigate Thoroughly – Your attorney will launch an independent investigation digging into the circumstances and evidence (or lack thereof) to build your defense.
  • Negotiate from Strength – An adept lawyer will identify weaknesses in the prosecution’s case and leverage those to try to get charges reduced or dismissed through negotiated settlement.
  • Suppress Illegally Obtained Evidence – If police violated your rights or protocols, your attorney can file motions to suppress evidence from being used against you. This could cripple the prosecution’s case.
  • Prepare Strong Witness Testimony – Witness testimony and cross-examination is often pivotal in criminal trials. An experienced trial lawyer will meticulously prepare your witnesses.
  • Highlight Reasonable Doubt – At trial, your lawyer’s role is to highlight reasonable doubt by discrediting the prosecution’s case. Just one juror voting “not guilty” can change your life.

By hiring one of the skilled criminal defense attorneys in Salinas early in your case and following their counsel, you have the best chances of the most favorable outcome possible. Don’t leave your future to chance – let an expert lawyer fight for your rights.