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.