When people learn that I am a criminal defense attorney, the question that I usually get is: "How can you defend criminals?" My answer to this question has evolved over time. At first, it used to irritate me. With time, I realized that the problem isn't the question, but rather the misunderstanding that underlies it: That being accused of a crime makes you a criminal, or at minimum, a bad person.
I represent people who make mistakes. My job is to protect those people from making more mistakes and also to protect them against the mistakes that the government will inevitably make when prosecuting them. It is my job to hold the government and prosecuting agencies accountable. The Constitution says we are all presumed innocent until proven guilty and that we all enjoy certain important rights. I make sure those rights are respected.
I have successfully represented individuals accused of misdemeanors and felonies, including DUI, drug crimes, sex crimes, theft crimes, domestic violence, and more. Though I practice primarily in Orange County, I have successfully defended individuals in courts all over Southern California. When you come into my law office, what you see is what you get: a young, aggressive attorney who is honest and will work hard to achieve the best possible outcome given your circumstances.
I am usually in court every single day. On days that I am not in court, you will find me in my office – jeans, T-shirt, and Vans – researching and dissecting client cases. I have learned over the years that clients see past the suit and tie; clients look for someone they can relate to on some basic level; someone that can understand and address their issues. That's exactly what I do. Clients like the fact that I am easy to reach. You can reach me 24 hrs a day by cell phone, text, email, fax, facebook, etc.
I am Trojan (yes, I will represent you even if you are a Bruin). I obtained my B.A. from USC and my law degree from Whittier Law School. I passed the bar exam on my first attempt while planning a tour for my rock band and winning a championship with my soccer team. I have two beautiful daughters – Alissa and Melissa. They are natural born musicians – like their father.
Languages Spoken: English, Spanish
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|Award Name||Grantor||Date Granted|
|2014 Client's Choice Award||Avvo.com||2014|
|Top Contributor Award||Avvo.com||2013|
|Excellence Award - Professional Legal Skills||Computer Assisted Legal Instruction||2007|
|Excellence Award - Legal Writing||CALI||2006|
|Attorney||Aguilar & Sonnonstine, APC||2009 - Present|
|Case Assistant||Latham & Watkins, LLP||2007 - 2007|
|Law Clerk||Berger Harrison, APC||2007 - 2009|
|Court Certified Law Clerk||Orange County District Attorney's Office||2007 - 2008|
|Association Name||Position Name||Duration|
|National Trial Lawyers Association||Member||2014 - Present|
|United States District Court for the Southern District of California||Admitted||2013 - Present|
|Orange County Hispanic Bar Association||Member||2009 - Present|
|Orange County Trial Lawyers Association||Member||2009 - Present|
|California Public Defenders Association||Attorney Member||2009 - Present|
|United States District Court for the Central District of California||Admitted||2009 - Present|
|People v. MM||No Jail Time|
|People v. RFR||180 jail time offer (PD) reduced to 30 days.|
|People v. BCS||Sex Charges Dismissed|
|See all Legal Cases|
|AVVO Legal Guides||California DUI Checkpoints: Snatching Victory from the Jaws of Defeat.||2010|
|AVVO Legal Guides||Anatomy of a DUI Stop: What to do (and not to do) when you get pulled over on suspicion of DUI.||2010|
|Whittier Law School||Criminal Law Concentration||Juris Doctor||2008|
|University of Southern California||Political Science||BA - Bachelor of Arts||2002|
|Santa Ana High School||N/A||N/A||1998|
|Nightly News Segment||O.C. Crime Lab Blood Alcohol Analysis Error||2013|
|National Moot Court Competition||National Moot Court Judge||2013|
|Gail P Sonnenberg Moot Court Competition||Voir Dire - Batson Challenges||2013|
|Criminal Justice Core Class||Crime & Punishment||2013|
|Juvenile Justice||Juvenile Criminal Defense||2012|