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Lara Jayne Gressley

Appeals Attorney at Riverside, CA

5.0   8 reviews
  • Licensed for 21 years
    State CA
    Acquired 2002
    Active No misconduct found

We have not found any instances of professional misconduct for this lawyer.

About Lara

Learn Lara’s areas of practice.

Practice areas

Lara grew up in Northern California and received her undergraduate degree at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Lara attended law school at Santa Clara University. While there, she earned the Witkin Award for her work in Constitutional Law, the Best Brief Award in a National Moot Court Competition, made Law Review, was an Honors Moot Court Finalist, and studied law at Oxford University in 2000. In 2002, she graduated from Santa Clara Law on the Dean's List and with Honors in Public Interest Law. That year, she took and passed the California Bar exam. Lara first worked at the Santa Cruz Public Defender's Office, where she gained experience defending people charged with drunk driving and other crimes. Lara then worked for Legal Aid Society of San Diego, after which she took a job in Riverside, California where she worked as a court-appointed trial attorney for individuals charged with serious crimes. As a trial lawyer, Lara obtained not guilty verdicts and dismissals for many of her clients whose charges ranged from drunk driving to burglary, robbery, grand theft auto, and drug offenses. Lara has also successfully defended those facing life in prison. Lara's primary objective in every case is to obtain justice for her clients.

In private practice, Lara has become one of the preeminent criminal appellate attorneys in California. Lara has written appellate briefs filed in the California Court of Appeal, California Supreme Court, and in the United States Supreme Court. She regularly handles petitions for writ of habeas corpus in state and federal courts where actual innocence and ineffective assistance of counsel are issues. Lara spends the majority of her time reviewing trial court records for issues involving questions of constitutional law. In one such case, Lara won a petition for writ of habeas corpus due to a Sixth Amendment Confrontation violation in the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. Lara has worked on Amicus briefs in some major appellate cases in California, including People v. Vangelder, People v. Harris, People v. Arredondo, and Espinoza v. Shiomoto. Lara and her team prepared Amicus briefs filed in the California Supreme Court in People v. Dungo and in the bail case of In re Humphrey. Lara also worked on Amicus briefs filed in the United States Supreme Court in Williams v. Illinois and in Mitchell v. Wisconsin.

Lara lectures lawyers across the state with respect to research and writing, appeals, writs, motions, and trial work. She has lectured for California Attorneys for Criminal Justice, California DUI Lawyers Association, California Public Defenders Association, and National College for DUI Defense. Lara was also a guest lecturer at Pepperdine University School of Law in 2018. Due to her experience, Lara has become known by her colleagues as a go-to source on motions in criminal cases, appellate advocacy and procedure, research and writing, DUI defense and collateral consequences, and challenges based on Sixth Amendment confrontation violations. Lara is a contributing author for Donald Bartell's book, Attacking and Defending Drunk Driving Tests, and coauthored California Vehicle Code section (c), enacted in 2012. Lara is the past President of the California DUI Lawyers Association, a statewide attorney organization with hundreds of members, and she a selected Southern California Super Lawyer in appellate law for 2020, 2021, 2022, and 2023.

Lara lives in the Temecula Valley with her family, is a Christian, a vocalist, and speaks conversational Spanish.


Photos and videos

Photo credit to Karl Klinger
Photo credit to Karl Klinger
Photo credit to Denise Kramer Photography
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Bartell, Hensel & Gressley
5053 La Mart Drive, Suite 201
Riverside, CA, 92507

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5.0 / 5.0
  8 customer reviews
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1 Star
Posted by Yocelin | May 4, 2017
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
QA tech
Attorney Gressley wins! . Attorney Gressley's helped me with my case.I had a DUI case plus two other charges,Gressley got a dismissal in my whole case. Any criminal charge anywhere in the state... call Attorney Lara Gressley.
Posted by anonymous | March 31, 2017
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Exceptional Attorney!
I am a medical professional that was charged with some very serious charges after being a good Samaritan in public. The Riverside Police Department greatly exaggerated the charges and put me in a very precarious position with regards to my occupation and licensing. I was looking at possibly of losing the ability to work in the profession that I had strived so hard to be successful at. Lara Gressley was recommended to me by one of our business advisors just by chance, but I can't even begin to enumerate the reasons that I am thankful to have had her working on my case. From the very beginning, Lara was extremely compassionate, understanding and empathetic to my situation. It became clear within minutes of meeting her and her partners that she was the right attorney to handle my case. She was able to negotiate such a reduction in my charges that no serious consequences occurred and my professional licensing was not affected. During the course of the case, there were many times that Lara's reputation was validated by people throughout the court system. From multiple unsolicited court staff and clerks telling me on many occasions that I had hired the "best attorney in Riverside" to even the DA himself coming up to me and stating that he had no desire to prosecute this case if it would mean going up against Lara. I felt confident and comfortable with her from the very beginning, and these feelings only grew stronger as the case progressed. I am hoping that I will never again have to require her services as an attorney. But if that day ever happens again, I would hire Lara Gressley again in a heartbeat! She is an extremely intelligent and competent litigator and I would give her the highest recommendation possible to any future potential client who is in need of legal representation.
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Posted by anonymous | May 25, 2015
Facing Criminal Charges and Job Suspension
I am a medical professional who received a DUI in Riverside County. Lara Gressley was recommended from a work colleague who used her in a similar situation. Lara was very efficient and punctual with legal issues. With my very busy work schedule, Lara was patient and continually keeping me updated with current legal standings. There was not a single day where I didn't know what was going on with my case. Lara takes her profession and others very seriously, I would highly recommend to anyone looking for an all angle attack to their specific case. Through legal tactics and 12 years of experience with legal court officials, the District Attorney offered me reckless driving and without hesitation I settled. Thank you again Lara!
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Posted by Vincent | March 9, 2015
Vincent John Tucci, Former President of the CA DUI Lawyer's Association
There has been no other criminal lawyer in the last couple of years that I have been more impressed with than Lara Greesley. If I ever got into trouble I would have no problem hiring Lara to represent me. I don't think there is a better endorsement than I can give as a fellow criminal lawyer. I have recently hired her to write a couple of motions for me. I have never hired another attorney to write a criminal motion for me in the 17 1/2 years of practice but in this particular case I needed a second opinion and she delivered excellent work. I know that she has ghost written a number of motions for several other attorneys but I wanted to take this moment, unlike the other attorneys, to acknowledge her contribution. I have had only one law partner, my wife, in the 17 1/2 years of practice even though others have asked to me. However, she would be the only other person in California that I would consider to have as my law partner. I have witnessed her in court, hired her to perform work on behalf of my clients, would hire her if I got into trouble and she has a standing offer to be my law partner anytime she wants to stop driving to Riverside. There isn't anything left to say here.
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Posted by anonymous | January 19, 2015
Excellent DUI attorney and overall pleasant person
My interaction with Lara at the Bartell firm spanned about a year. It was immediately evident that she was dedicated to helping me; from the initial consultation, and every conversation throughout. I greatly appreciated her patience and level of detail in explaining the legal intricacies. Her expertise in DUI defenses gave me confidence, since there were many unknown variables. Uncertainty generates fear, and having her as my legal representation gave me hope. She won my appeal for a seal and destroy of a wrongful arrest. I would recommend her services to anyone involved in a DUI related case.
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Posted by anonymous | November 15, 2014
Stolen identity
Atty Lara Gressley is a very competent and compassionate lawyer She was able to dismiss a complicated stolen identity case against our Son who was wrongfully accused and had a warrant of arrest due to a felon's unlawful use of our Son's driver's license Our Son suffered minimal trauma going thru the hearings because of Atty Gressley's expertise in legal facts and processed We are most grateful to Atty Gressley and highly recommend her and Atty Don Bartell's Law Office
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Posted by anonymous | November 11, 2014
Lara Gressley
I cannot speak highly enough regarding the service that I received from Lara Gressley. Her knowledge of the law regarding my case left me feeling secure. Her support before, during and after my trial, though I had nothing to compare it to, helped me get through one of the worse experiences of my life. Her explanations for procedure prepared me psychologically and mentally each day of the trial. Unfortunately I lost at trial. Lara wrote the motion for appeal. I won the appeal! Well actually Lara won the appeal. I highly recommend Lara Gressley for her keen knowledge of the law, her personal interaction and her caring for and about her clients.
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Posted by John | October 6, 2014
Tremendously Pleased
From the beginning, Lara Gressley expressed an absolutely genuine concern for me and my appeal. Her consistently humane attention to my plight, as well as to the professionalism necessary to handle my case, I have to believe is both unique and rare. I was kept aware every step of the way and my input and opinions were also valued. Lara's successful argument for my appeal is undoubtedly due to her expertise, skill, and knowledge of the law. She is a lawyer of the highest quality.
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AVVO RATING 10.0 (Superb)

Work Experience

  • Partner
  • Bartell, Hensel & Gressley
  • 2010 - Present
  • Attorney
  • Criminal Defense Lawyers
  • 2007 - 2010
  • Associate Attorney
  • Eichler & Associates
  • 2006 - 2007
  • Public Defender
  • Riverside County Public Defender's Office
  • 2005 - 2006
  • County Attorney
  • Riverside County Counsel
  • 2004 - 2005
  • Attorney
  • San Diego Legal Aid Association
  • 2003 - 2004
  • Clerk
  • Pima County Superior Court
  • 2002 - 2003
View all work experience


  • Gerry Spence Trial Lawyers College
  • Newport Beach Seminar
  • 2017
  • MABA
  • Seminar
  • 2010
  • CPDA Trial Skills
  • Certificate of Completion
  • 2006
  • Santa Clara University School of Law
  • JD - Juris Doctor
  • 2002
  • Oxford University
  • Legal Studies Abroad
  • 2000
  • University of California - Santa Cruz
  • BA - Bachelor of Arts
  • 1998
  • Cabrillo College
  • AA
  • 1996
View all education

Sample of Legal Cases

  • People v. Jane Doe
  • Dismissed
  • People v John Doe
  • Petition Granted, Case Dismissed
  • People v. John Doe
  • Dismissed
View all legal cases


  • California DUI Lawyers Association
  • Vice President
  • 2017 - Present
  • California DUI Lawyers Association
  • Board of Directors
  • 2017 - Present
  • Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference
  • Member
  • 2013 - Present
  • United States Supreme Court Bar
  • Member
  • 2011 - Present
  • United States District Court of California
  • Attorney Member
  • 2011 - Present
  • State Bar of California
  • Attorney Member
  • 2002 - Present
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Languages Spoken

  • English
  • Spanish

Honors and Awards

  • President's Award
  • California DUI Lawyers Association
  • 2012
  • Best Brief Award
  • Sutherland Cup National Moot Court Competition
  • 2001
  • Witkin Award for Constitutional Law
  • Santa Clara University School of Law
  • 2001
  • Honors Moot Court Finalist
  • Santa Clara University School of Law
  • 2001
View all awards


  • Metropolitan Washington Employment Lawyers Association (MWELA) newsletter
  • Espinoza v Shiomoto
  • 2017
View all publications

Speaking Engagements

  • Annual Seminar
  • Speedy Trial Motions
  • 2018
  • Winning Strategies from Winning Lawyers
  • Suppression Motions in DUI Cases
  • 2017
  • Riverside County Public Defender MCLE
  • DUI Basics
  • 2017
  • California DUI Lawyers Association Annual Seminar
  • DUI Appeals
  • 2017
  • Riverside County Public Defender's Association
  • Restricted Driver's License Eligibility
  • 2013
  • CDLA Annual Seminar
  • Restricted Driver's License Eligibility
  • 2013
  • California Attorneys for Criminal Justice
  • Misdemeanor Appeals
  • 2013
View all speaking engagements

Attorney endorsements

Received (13)
Given (9)
Endorse Lara
Criminal defense Attorney | Feb 11
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"Lara is an incredible attorney. She is well respected by her peers. Most importantly Lara is a master at her craft, practicing law. She is a giant in the criminal defense field and her experience is second to none. I highly endorse this lawyer."
DUI and DWI Attorney | May 10
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"Lara is an unparalleled litigator and scholar. If you need a DUI attorney, quit searching and call Lara."
Criminal defense Attorney | Apr 27
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"Lara Gressley is a top notch attorney with unwaivering tenancity. She posseses exceptional appellate and motion skills while also being a force to reckon with in the courtroom. It is always a pleasure to work with Lara and I would not hesitate to recommend her!"
DUI and DWI Attorney | Apr 19
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"Attorney Gressley wins! Trial, settlement or appeals she wins. Attorney Gressley's work is second to none and she will not stop until she is victorious. Any criminal charge anywhere in the state... call Attorney Lara Gressley."
DUI and DWI Attorney | Feb 16
Relationship: Worked together on matter
"Lara is an excellent attorney who has a passion for defending her clients vigilantly and who has a precise knowledge of the law with which to accomplish that."
DUI and DWI Attorney | Jul 29
Relationship: Worked together on matter
"Lara is a outstanding advocate for her clients. Her specialization in DUI matters gives her a special insight to discover sophisticated defenses and solutions to the matters in front of her. I endorse this lawyer."
DUI and DWI Attorney | Mar 17
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"12 years of practicing criminal law is very experienced. She has a huge advantage over many defense attorneys having been a former Public Defender. The DA's know that she knows what they know. Her knowledge of both the law and procedure is excellent and evident in her pro bono contributions here. Client reviews which are the true test of a lawyers worth are stellar. READ THEM! Do yourself a favor and schedule a consultation with her."
DUI and DWI Attorney | Mar 09
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"Lara is a talented lawyer with a strong knowledge of the law and great presence in the courtroom. She works tirelessly to defend her clients."
DUI and DWI Attorney | Mar 09
Relationship: Worked together on matter
"Ms. Gressley is a brilliant and extremely talented attorney. Her approach to cases is innovative, clever and, most importantly, effective. And, if she does not like the answer at the trial court level, she will often appeal the decision and get what she wants for her client in a higher court. She is a true winner!"
Criminal defense Attorney | Mar 06
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer. Lara is an outstanding attorney. I’ve known Lara for many years and she is the attorney that other attorneys go to for help, and that includes me. Lara has armed me many times with cases and arguments I needed for court. Her trial experience, excellent research skills and immense knowledge of criminal law makes her one of the best criminal defense attorneys in California. I cannot say enough good things about her. Lara is intelligent, a skilled researcher, creative, an advocate, an excellent writer; she also possesses a high level of appellate skills. It is a pleasure and an honor to know her and have her as a fellow advocate."
Criminal defense Attorney | Nov 04
Relationship: Worked together on matter
"I endorse this lawyer. Lara is an exceedingly knowledgeable Criminal Attorney. Her research and writing skills are exceptional! She possesses an uncanny ability to see exactly what the issues are in a case in order to win. She is an excellent trial lawyer who is extremely intelligent and competent on all levels. I highly recommend her."
Criminal defense Attorney | Oct 08
Relationship: Co-worker
"Lara is one of the most compassionate and knowledgeable criminal defense lawyers I know. She regularly receives phone calls from attorneys seeking her advice so that they, in turn, can answer questions posed by their clients. Lara is an expert in criminal writs and appeals. I've personally seen Lara's expertise at work when she won an appeal for my client which led to the case being dismissed."
Criminal defense Attorney | Oct 01
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"Lara is an exceptional attorney. Not only does Lara have extensive jury trial experience (both misdemeanor and felony), she also possesses exceptional research and writing skills, which make her a great appellate attorney. She's always prepared, knows the law, and is a zealous advocate for her clients. I endorse this lawyer!"
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