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About me

Former Prosecutor Richard Wagner knows Southern California.  After a childhoood spent in suburban Orange County, he travelled up the coast to UC Santa Barbara, where he earned his B.A. in Political Science.

He returned to Orange County to earn his law degree from Chapman University School of Law.  In law school, he was named to the Law Review.  He was awarded the Dean’s Merit Scholarship and the Dean’s Award for Academic Excellence.  He worked as a law clerk at the Orange County Alternate Public Defender’s Office, and as a judicial extern to the Honorable Justice Edward Wallin (Ret.), California Court of Appeal, in Santa Ana.


After passing the California Bar in 1998 he immediately began working on cases for free at the Public Law Center in Orange County.


He began life as a trial lawyer when he was hired as a prosecutor for the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office.  During his time he was in an LA courtroom just about every day, handling criminal cases from prostitution, domestic violence, lewd conduct, assault and battery, to DUI / drunk driving.


He also gave presentations, such as Case Preparation and Courtroom Testimony, to police officers at an MCLE-sponsored event during training at the Los Angeles Police Department, Impaired Driver Apprehension Program (IDAP).


In May 2000 and March 2001, he was a speaker at MCLE events sponsored by the Los Angeles County Bar Association, Trial Advocacy Project (TAP).


In 2002, he went into private practice, and opened his own law firm.  He had privately retained cases, and accepted court-appointed cases through the Indigent Criminal Defense Appointments Program (ICDA). 


Back in the courtroom, but on the other side of counsel table, defending clients all over Southern California, getting excellent results for his clients.  


In one case, he got an acquittal at a jury trial in Newport Beach for a woman charged with driving under the influence of alcohol and refusing to take a breath, blood or chemical test in Corona Del Mar on PCH near Baja Fresh.


In another, he got a DUI dismissed for a man accused of driving under the influence of alcohol and driving with a blood alcohol level of 0.08% or higher in the Compton Courthouse after two full-blown jury trials ended in deadlocked juries / mistrials.


In another case, he got a dismissal of all charges from the Los Angeles District Attorney's office for his client charged with lewd conduct on a minor under the age of 14, child molestation, and indecent exposure.  His client was facing significant prison time, lifetime sex registration, and a strike in the Los Angeles Superior Court, Bellflower Courthouse.


In 2006, he presented a lecture, “What to Do If You Are Arrested for Drunk Driving” at Whittier Law School.


In September of 2006 he accepted a position as managing attorney of the Orange County office of Top Gun DUI Defense Attorney® Myles L. Berman, where he focused on drunk driving, DUI, DWI defense and DMV cases, and other select felonies and misdemeanors.  He was in just about every court in Southern California on a daily basis. During this time, he was also a contributing editor to the California DUI Trial Notebook.


In a case during this time, he got a dismissal of all charges for his client who was facing state prison time and lifetime drug registration. He was charged with second-degree commercial burglary, transportation of marijuana for sale, and possession of marijuana for sale in the San Bernardino Superior Court, Fontana Branch.


From September 2009 to February 2011, he was a supervising attorney for the LibertyBell Law Group in Burbank, handling criminal cases. During this time he appeared pro hac vice in the United States District Courts of Idaho and New Mexico.


He is one of the few DUI defense lawyers who successfully completed the rigorous National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA), International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) DWI  Detection and Standardized Field Sobriety Testing Course. This is the same training class the police officers say they have taken or should have taken to learn how to properly conduct a DUI/DWI investigation.


In another case, as a member of the Criminal Defense Strikeforce, he won a DUI jury trial in Los Angeles where the evidence against his client was a blood test result of .19% BAC and statements from police officers saying his client caused a traffic collision.


He now accepts court-appointed cases through the Indigent Criminal Defense Appointments Program (ICDA). 


He is admitted to practice in the Federal Court -- the Central and Southern Districts of the United States District Court, including the United States Court of Appeal for the Ninth Circuit, and in every State court in California.  


He has been involved in thousands of cases for clients in the following counties throughout California, including: Alameda, Orange, Los Angeles, Ventura, Santa Barbara, San Joaquin, San Bernardino, Riverside, Tulare, Kern, Imperial, and San Diego.


He is an attorney member of the American Bar Association, State Bar of California, Orange County Bar Association, Newport Harbor Bar Association and the California Public Defenders' Association.



Photos and videos

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Practice areas


  1. Criminal Defense: 50%
    17 years
  2. DUI & DWI: 50%
    17 years



Fixed (always)

Payment types:

Cash, Check

Attorney endorsements

45 total 

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  • Douglas MacMillan Borthwick

    I endorse this lawyer.


    Douglas Borthwick Family Attorney
    Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community

  • Peter John Marek

    As a former prosecutor he has one huge advantage. "they know that he knows what they know". This coupled with his education and contributions to local law enforcement training uniquely benefit him and you as a prospective client. Read the reviews. If you are in or near Irvine give him a call first for a consultation.


    Peter Marek Criminal Defense Attorney
    Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community

Contact info

6285 E. Spring Street
Long Beach, CA, 90808


We have not found any instances of professional misconduct for this lawyer.
Avvo contributions
Legal answers
Award nameGrantorDate granted
Dean's Award For Academic ExcellenceChapman University School of Law1998
Dean's Merit ScholarshipChapman University School of Law1996
Law ReviewChapman University School of Law1996
Work experience
TitleCompany nameDuration
AttorneyThe Criminal Defense Strikeforce2011 - Present
AttorneyLibertyBell Law Group2009 - 2011
AttorneyLaw Offices of Top Gun DUI Defense Attorney Myles L. Berman2006 - 2009
AttorneyWagner & Zielinski, A Professional Law Corporation2001 - 2006
Prosecuting AttorneyLos Angeles City Attorney's Office1999 - 2001
Association namePosition nameDuration
American Bar AssociationAttorney MemberN/A
California Public Defenders AssociationAttorney MemberN/A
Newport Harbor Bar AssociationAttorney MemberN/A
Orange County Bar AssociationAttorney MemberN/A
State Bar of California, Law Practice Management and Technology SectionN/AN/A
Legal cases
Case nameOutcome
People v. J.Z.Acquitted at jury trial
People v. RPCount 1 Acquitted, Count 2 Hung - DUIs Dismissed
People v. GBAcquitted at jury trial
See all legal cases 
Publication nameTitleDate
The Tolucan TimesLaw Wars -- The Strikeforce2012
California DUI Trial NotebookApplicable Statutes2009
California DUI Trial NotebookApplicable Statutes2008
SquidooWhy did the prosecutor charge me with TWO misdemeanors for one DUI? Was the Blood Test Legal? Under 21, what happensN/A
School nameMajorDegreeGraduated
Chapman University School of LawLawJD - Juris Doctor1998
University of California - Santa BarbaraPolitical ScienceBA - Bachelor of Arts1989
Speaking engagements
Conference nameTitleDate
Law Day at Whittier Law SchoolWhat to Do If You Are Arrested for Drunk Driving2006
Trial Advocacy Project (TAP)Trial Advocacy2001
Trial Advocacy Project (TAP)Trial Advocacy2001
Trial Advocacy Project (TAP)Trial Advocacy2000