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William Carlos Makler

DUI and DWI Attorney at Santa Barbara, CA

5.0   189 reviews

also known as Bill Makler


Licensed for 26 years

Virtual consultation available

Free consultation

About William

Learn William’s areas of practice.

2
Practice areas
  1. DUI and DWI
    70%
    Mr. Makler has achieved mastery in every aspect of DUI defense, including pretrial motions, plea negotiations, dmv hearings, trials, writs and appeals. Judges, lawyers and police officer regularly refer DUI cases to Mr. Makler.

    26 years, 4,000 cases

  2. Criminal defense
    30%
    Mr. Makler handles all criminal matters; from homicide to traffic tickets and everything in between. His 30+ years of criminal justice experience, trial skill and client centered approach have resulted in him being the best reviewed lawyer in SB.

    26 years, 4,000 cases

Mr. Makler is the only Santa Barbara lawyer that has been awarded the top rating (A-V) by Martindale-Hubbell (since 2013), 10 out of 10 by avvo (since 2010) and who is also ranked in the Nation's Top 1% by the National Association of Distinguished Counsel. He has also been determined to be in the Top 100 by the National Trial Lawyers. He is a former felony deputy public defender for both Santa Cruz and Santa Barbara Counties.  He also taught Evidence as a member of the regular faculty of the Santa Barbara College of Law. He has more than 30 years of experience working in the state and federal criminal justice systems. His considerable experience and skillful lawyering brings his clients very satisfying results at a reasonable cost. In addition to his work as a criminal defense lawyer, Mr. Makler brought several class action lawsuits as lead class counsel against police agencies resulting in system-wide changes that benefit individuals who were arrested but whose cases were never prosecuted. He remains active in various bar associations, including an association of Santa Barbara criminal defense attorneys he helped found: Santa Barbara Defenders. Mr. Makler is regularly recommended for hire by other criminal defense lawyers, judges and members of law enforcement.

Client's Choice 2022
Client's Choice

Avvo

Top Contributor 2013
Top Contributor

Avvo

Photos and videos

Since 2000, Mr. Makler has practiced almost exclusively in South County Santa Barbara but is constantly asked to, and sometimes does,  defend individuals criminally charged in neighboring jurisdictions where he also enjoys the "hometown advantage".
Licensed for 26 years
State CA
Status Active
Acquired 1996
Updated 09/10/2022

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

Contact William

Law Offices of William C. Makler, P.C.

Reviews

5.0 / 5.0
  189 customer reviews
5 Star
 
98%
4 Star
 
2%
3 Star
 
0%
2 Star
 
0%
1 Star
 
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Client's Choice 2022
Client's Choice
William received a significant number of 4+ stars in 2022
Posted by anonymous | June 23, 2010
Excellent attorney!
I wholeheartedly recommend Bill to anyone seeking quality legal counsel in Santa Barbara. He provided me with stellar defense in both my DUI case and my DMV hearing by explaining the complex processes to me plainly and helped me understand systemic delays. He's very familiar with all the local prosecutors and judges. Moreso, he has great instincts; he knows when to be aggressive and press the issue with the DAs Office and when to back off. I can't recommend him enough
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Posted by anonymous | July 2, 2012
The best lawyer ever
I am a foreigner and a profesional, I was lucky to Have found Bill, he was clear, honest, availale and understanding. He was incredible at explaining the situation as it was without false hope. He guided me and made me make the right decision to have the best outcome possible in my situation. I am grateful and would recommend his services without reservation
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Posted by BK | November 4, 2022
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Best lawyer in Santa Barbara
I worked with Bill Makler on a case and had a great experience. He provided us with great legal advice throughout the process, and he was always understanding, thoughtful, and caring. Bill always kept us in the loop and was very quick to respond to any questions or concerns. Also, his team is highly professional, hardworking, and very responsive. I would HIGHLY recommend Bill!
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Posted by Austin | October 26, 2022
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
I highly recommend!
Mr. Makler is an amazing attorney. He works with you, and also responds quickly to emails/calls and keeps you updated on your tickets or case. I’m referring him to all my friends if they ever need an attorney.
Posted by anonymous | September 22, 2022
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Underage DUI in SB
As someone who is inexperienced and not knowledge of legal proceedings, I just wanted to give a call to confirm what had happened — which very pleasantly shocked me. After confirming what had been received (still in a state of disbelief), I had intended to provide my sincerest thanks through the phone call (which I thought would be more personal than a message). When I received the news, I literally screamed "wait, is this real"? I had no doubt in my mind that the legal team at your Law Offices is the TOP Santa Barbara DUI Attorney, not just for securing this complete win, but by the professionalism and compassion that you and the legal team has demonstrated as I waited for the bench trial. I recall calling your office a few times leading up to the trial with anxiety-filled questions/uncertainties about my case and of my future. And I do recall the excellent support that Maria, Maureen, and you have provided in (1) providing in-depth information regarding my case, despite questions that may seem simple (2) providing empathy and reassurance in the presence of my stress and anxiety (3) overall professionalism that left me feeling secure and optimistic. This is in contrast to other SB attorneys I've spoken to for intaking my case; they made me feel dismissed and unimportant. So, thank you and all of your legal team for the unrivaled assistance provided. I am still in awe of what had transpired. Words truly cannot express how grateful I am. Thank you once again. Verdict: Acquitted
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Posted by Alex | July 21, 2022
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
My experience with Mr. Makler.
Mr. Makler is an extremely knowledgable and experienced attorney. He cares about his clients. He always made a point to respond to me very promptly, as did his team. Mr. Makler knows the ins and outs of the local judicial system given his vast experience in the area. From the beginning, Bill said that he doesn't plan on settling for a quick outcome. He said that he is going to take as long as he needs in order to ensure the best outcome for my case. Saved my life with the best possible outcome and I'm forever grateful. Additionally, his team, Maureen and Maria, spent a great deal explaining things to me with lots of patience and providing me with updates. They were very supportive and caring throughout the process. Can't go wrong with this choice when deciding on choosing your attorney in Santa Barbara. Him and his team are the best.
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Posted by S | July 17, 2022
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Excellent Lawyer, Smooth Case Dismissal
I contacted Bill, as attorney William Makler goes by, regarding a very peculiar case which I was very troubled with. After speaking with over 10 lawyers in the Santa Barbara area I chose Bill, as his plan to resolve my case seemed strongest, and he was the most professional of all the attorneys. He was prompt, kind, and courteous in all of his responses and made himself always accessible. I had never been through a criminal proceeding, however Bill and his excellent team eased my concerns as each court event resulted in better results and more good news. The public defender I was originally offered before seeking an attorney made my only outcomes seem grim with no chance of dismissal. The other attorneys I sought had strategies which did not seem to guarantee as favorable of an outcome as Bill had highlighted for me in our initial consultation. They also were not as professional and most of them asked for rates much higher than what Bill quoted me at. After many months and court dates, which Bill attended on my behalf without me needing to be present, my case was dismissed 9 months earlier than what it was set it to be. I couldn't have expected for a better result. Bill and his team were sincere, hardworking, and helpful all the way from the start to the end. Thanks Bill and team, you have helped me immensely and I hope for continued success. To anyone questioning whether they should choose Bill as their attorney, he is without a doubt the best criminal defense attorney in the Santa Barbara area, and you will have no doubt seeing he is the best lawyer for your case.
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Posted by Pooya | November 5, 2021
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
He Saved my Life!
I had a very bad DV case, which was reported by the police as a felony. I was very desperate because I was new to the US and I didn't have a clue about the laws and the procedures. So the only thing I did, I went on Avvo, reviewed the rankings and reviews and I came across Bill name, as the best one in Santa Barbara. To talk honestly, Bill saved my carrier, reputation, immigration status, and future. He was calm and supportive during the long process of my case, which took more than a year to be dismissed. He stayed steady, positive, affirmative. I highly recommend him to anyone who has no hope and despair of their case. Through the long process of my case, at some points, I felt that I was losing my faith in him, but his confidence, professionalism, and knowledge won in the end. So put your entire trust in him and win your case.
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Response from William Makler November 9, 2021
Thank you very much for your kind review of our services. We really appreciate it.
Posted by anonymous | October 30, 2021
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
The Good Lawyer
I was recently arrested for drunk in public, and rightfully so since there is very little I remember of the day. With my reputation at stake and potential loss of freedom I quickly began the search for a good attorney. I selected William C. Makler. Within a day of speaking with him he was able to get my charges dropped. The stress relief in itself was worth every penny. His fees were fair and he gave me a discount because I was a veteran. He clearly knows the law, knows his way around the legal system in Santa Barbara, and has a great deal of experience. It was easy working with him and his office staff and they did everything they said they would do. No question that I made the right choice and I would recommend him to my friends, but I hope I never have to.
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Posted by John | September 1, 2021
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Helpful, friendly, knowledgeable attorney - highly recommended
Highly recommend! Bill helped me through a DUI case and was ultimately able to get it dismissed. Throughout the process he explained the ongoings and potential outcomes in plain language, made smart decisions on how to proceed and helped me make decisions as to my options when necessary. He is also clearly well connected in the SB area, knows the ins and outs of the city’s legal system and many of the people involved. His team was very helpful and responsive as well. Overall felt like I was in good hands every step of the way!
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Posted by anonymous | August 5, 2021
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Court Case
We would recommend William Makler and his staff(Maureen and Maria) for the highest rating possible...They were professional...informed and sensitive to our specific needs. Bill was available...timely and honest from day one. We received an excellent result...
Posted by anonymous | July 14, 2021
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Dropped
William Makler is as professional as they come. He worked tirelessly in an hasty manner to dismiss a case that was pending against me. Highly recommend
Posted by anonymous | May 2, 2021
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Thank you so much.
Very professional and understanding. William C Makler helped us get through an embarrassing situation and helped minimize the penalties that could have been. Highly recommended. Thank you for your time and expertise.
Response from William Makler May 7, 2021
Thank you!
Posted by anonymous | April 20, 2021
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
He is the one you can rely on your DUI case
I was pulled over for having 10 mph over-speed in SB, and the officer asked me if I drank any alcohol. I honestly response that I had drunk alcohol but not more than DMV limitation and accepted to give a breath test as I thought my breath test would be fine, but it showed 0.07, 0.08%, and the police officer charged me for DUI. William was outstanding in handling my case, and my case was dismissed for both DMV and DA. He was very clear and upfront about everything, and I am beyond grateful for the result of the case. Thanks to the hardworking staff at the Law Offices of William C. Makler.
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Response from William Makler May 7, 2021
I really appreciate you! Thanks!
Posted by anonymous | April 19, 2021
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
The BEST Attorney
Mr. Makler is FANTASTIC. His staff is wonderful. When I initially called his office to inquire about pricing the young lady who answered my call was super helpful and even put me on hold to immediately call the DA to find out what was going on with my potential case. She updated me on the spot before I even contracted their services. From there my experience with this law office only got better and better! Mr. Makler was responsive, compassionate, and effective. I came to his office feeling uncertain and alone. He spoke up for me and went to work defending me when I felt alone and afraid. He effectively advocated for me and got the DA to decline to pursue any charges against me. I am thankful for his great work. You should hire him!
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Response from William Makler May 7, 2021
It’s so nice of you to acknowledge Maria. I have the BEST support staff!
Posted by Sean | March 25, 2021
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Very Pleased,Excellent Results!!
I called Bill Makler after deciding to resolve an outstanding issue I’d had hanging over me for the last 10 years. He personally got back to me to immediately and throughout dealing with him he was always consistent and in touch...never lagged or gave me an incomprehensible run around. He achieved results that were better than I’d anticipated and better than he himself speculated might be possible. The last thing you want is a lawyer that promises big things and fails to deliver, and with Bill he never painted a rosier picture than what actually was the reality. When you’re calling a lawyer you’re usually in vulnerable position and you need someone who instills confidence without blowing smoke. Hiring the wrong guy can have a big impact on your life...you can hire Bill Makler and feel assured knowing your case will get the attention it deserves ,even if it’s something that might seem trivial to someone else, he’ll make you feel like it’s as important to him as it is you. I couldn’t have been more pleased with my experience with him.
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Posted by anonymous | March 9, 2021
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Highly Recommend Bill
Bill was the third lawyer I consulted with and I knew immediately that he was the right lawyer to defend my case. Bill is empathetic and professional. He did not sugar coat my options and was patient as I asked many questions. He was willing to think outside of the box and we ended up with a great outcome. I cannot thank Bill enough for his defense and highly recommend him.
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Posted by anonymous | February 25, 2021
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Honest, Candid, Responsive, Patient || Completely Professional || Highly Recommended
I found myself in federal court on a very minor charge with a prosecutor that wanted to hard line me and my friends into a criminal misdemeanor despite having no priors. I searched for lawyers with federal criminal experience and found Bill. I explained to him my situation and that I was bit hard on money. It is evident that he cares about all his clients. He took me on at a more than fair rate and handled the case wonderfully. He was responsive, patient, never too busy for me, and gave very useful, straightforward, and frank advice. None of that pandering, you-like-to-hear kind of stuff. Very blunt but kind and patient. I am lucky to have had him in my corner. I highly, highly recommend him. A professional man through and through. It ended up panning out in our favor in the end somewhat unrelated to his efforts, but having to help guide me and understand the criminal court game (federal, no less) was instrumental. Before ending up with an adequate plea deal, we were gearing up to fight the case, and Bill was incredibly perceptive and straightforward when it came to considering different strategies.
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Posted by Clifford | November 30, 2020
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Awesome Lawyer and speedy results
I’m from LA and took a weekend trip to Santa Barbara for my birthday. At the end of the first night I found myself at a local bar and got arrested for public intoxication when the bar closed. It was a huge bummer and embarrassing. I had to go to the Santa Barbara sheriffs station for 12 hours and got a notice to appear 2 months later. I immediately googled Santa Barbara lawyers and I thankfully found William Makler. I called him on a Sunday and thank God he picked up and gave me a free consultation. I ended up hiring him Monday morning and by later that same day he spoke with the DA and got my case rejected/thrown out. I would highly recommend William. Not only did he communicate well with me, he was so proactive and got me the results that I was hoping for. Thanks again
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Response from William Makler December 5, 2020
Thanks, Clifford! I appreciate it very much.
Posted by anonymous | October 4, 2020
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Truly Committed
I have to say that William Makler's commitment to his clients is truly awe-inspiring. If you ever need a lawyer I can't say how happy you will be hiring Mr. Makler. At the moment I hired him as an attorney he made himself and his team available to me whether it was to answer questions or inform me of any updates regarding the case. Whenever I had a question he would answer within hours if not minutes. And in case you'd think that fires and a pandemic would affect his level of commitment and service to his clients, you would be sorely mistaken. At no point will you feel lost with regards to the circumstances surrounding your case, he makes himself available every step of the way. With regards to the outcome, I'm more than satisfied. He explained everything so that I had a good idea of what I was facing and prepared me every step of the way. He inspires as much hope as he does confidence. He is a true professional and you should know that you are gonna be in good hands as soon as you hire him to be your lawyer. I hope no one finds themselves in the circumstance where they might need an attorney, but if you ever do, just remember the words, 'Call Bill!'
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Response from William Makler December 5, 2020
Thank you very much for your kind and thoughtful comments!
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Cost

Rates
  • Free Consultation 30 minutes
Payment methods
Cash, Check, Credit Card

Resume

AVVO RATING 10.0 (Superb)

Work Experience

  • Attorney
  • Law Offices of William C. Makler
  • 2004 - Present
  • Faculty Member
  • Santa Barbara College of Law
  • 2006 - 2008
  • Deputy Public Defender
  • Santa Barbara County Public Defender's Office
  • 2001 - 2003
  • Deputy Public Defender
  • Santa Cruz Public Defender
  • 1997 - 2000
  • Staff Attorney
  • Federal Public Defender
  • 1996 - 1997
View all work experience

Education

  • McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific
  • JD - Juris Doctor
  • 1996
  • University of California - San Diego
  • BA - Bachelor of Arts
  • 1991

Legal Cases

  • People vs. Stephen K.
  • Not guilty
  • People vs. Carol R.
  • License reinstated.
  • People vs. Joshua T.
  • Public Intox./Driver’s license reinstated
View all legal cases

Associations

  • Santa Barbara Defenders
  • President
  • 2017 - Present
  • Santa Barbara Defenders
  • Board Member, Officer
  • 2017 - Present
  • Better Business Bureau
  • Admitted
  • 2006 - Present
  • National College of DUI Defense
  • Member
  • 2001 - Present
  • California DUI Lawyers Association
  • Member
  • 2001 - Present
  • Santa Barbara County Bar Association
  • Member
  • 2000 - Present
  • California Public Defenders Association
  • Member
  • 1996 - Present
  • State Bar of California
  • Member
  • 1996 - Present
  • California Attorneys for Criminal Justice
  • Member
  • N/A
  • National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
  • Member
  • 2001 - 2007
View all associations

Languages Spoken

  • Spanish
  • English

Awards

  • AV Preeminent Rated
  • Martindale-Hubbell®
  • 2021
  • AV Preeminent Rated
  • Martindale-Hubbell®
  • 2020
  • AV Preeminent Rated
  • Martindale-Hubbell®
  • 2019
  • AV Preeminent Rated
  • Martindale-Hubbell
  • 2018
  • AV Preeminent Rated
  • Martindale-Hubbell
  • 2017
  • AV Preeminent Rated
  • Martindale-Hubbell
  • 2016
  • AV Preeminent Rated
  • Martindale-Hubbell
  • 2015
  • Top One Percent
  • National Association of Distinguished Counsel
  • 2015
  • AV Preeminent Rated
  • Martindale-Hubbell
  • 2014
  • AV Preeminent Rated
  • Martindale-Hubbell
  • 2013
  • Peer Review Rated
  • Martindale-Hubbell
  • 2012
  • Peer Review Rated
  • Martindale-Hubbell
  • 2011
  • Peer Review Rating
  • Martindale-Hubbell
  • 2010
  • Peer Review Rating
  • Martindale-Hubbell
  • 2009
  • Honors in Trial Advocacy
  • McGeorge School of Law
  • 1996
View all awards

Publications

View all publications

Speaking Engagements

  • DUI Training
  • DUI
  • 2017
  • Defending DUI
  • DUI
  • 2016
  • DUI Defense
  • DUI
  • 2015
  • DUI
  • DUI
  • 2014
  • Know Your Rights
  • Constitutional Rights
  • 2012
  • Know Your Rights
  • Constitutional Rights
  • 2009
  • Know Your Rights
  • Constitutional Rights
  • 2008
  • CPDA Basic Trial Skills Institute
  • Trial Skills
  • 2008
  • DUI Defense
  • DUI Defense
  • 2007
  • Crash Course in Legal Rights
  • Legal Rights
  • 2007
  • Scientific Evidence in DUI Cases
  • Scientific Evidence in DUI Cases
  • 2005
  • DUI Defense
  • DUI Defense
  • 2005
  • Bench & Bar Conference
  • DUI Defense Practice tips
  • 2005
  • Know Your Rights!
  • Know Your Rights
  • 2004
View all speaking engagements

Attorney endorsements

Received (52)
Given (72)
Criminal defense Attorney | Jan 05
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I have known Bill for over twenty years. He is a knowledgeable, experienced, skilled attorney. I highly recommend Bill for any DUI or other criminal matter."
Criminal defense Attorney | Mar 27
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I am have referred several clients to Bill Makler for criminal matters in Santa Barbara. It is a unique county that requires knowledge of the local rules and politics, and Bill is a respected and reliable lawyer there."
Criminal defense Attorney | Feb 04
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"Having known Bill for nearly two decades, I can say that Bill is an honor to our profession. Bill is smart, aggressive when necessary and strategic in his handling of cases. I have referred a number of cases to Bill over the years and I can say that my clients have never been disappointed. Not only has Bill achieved great results for my clients, he has worked, hard, charged a fair fee and considered the long range consequences to the client. This is whole picture approach is imperative to a complete and effective representation. Hire Bill or recommend Bill. You won't be disappointed."
Unknown Attorney | Mar 15
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer."
Unknown Attorney | Aug 01
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I've known Bill for over ten years. He's professional and very knowledgeable in all areas of criminal defense."
Criminal defense Attorney | Aug 22
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I highly endorse Mr. Makler. Very experienced and caring attorney who produces great results in representing clients! I want all people with legal problems to contact him first."
Unknown Attorney | May 07
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"One of the absolute best. Exceptional attention to detail, service next to none. I endorse this lawyer."
Criminal defense Attorney | Apr 04
Relationship: Other
"Mr. Makler has an impressive background, outstanding client reviews and is a great asset to this forum. I endorse this lawyer."
Criminal defense Attorney | Apr 03
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer."
Criminal defense Attorney | Apr 01
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer. He is an excellent attorney and well respected in the field."
Criminal defense Attorney | Mar 30
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer. A great advocate and fights for clients in court."
Criminal defense Attorney | Mar 29
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I wholeheartedly endorse this lawyer. A brilliant, trustworthy and highly respected attorney in the legal community."
Criminal defense Attorney | Mar 11
Relationship: Other
"I endorse this lawyer."
Criminal defense Attorney | Feb 23
Relationship: Other
"I endorse William. Hard working and aggressive attorney who is dedicated to the success of his clients. Respected by his colleagues within the legal community."
Unknown Attorney | Feb 10
Relationship: Other
"Such a remarkable attorney. I endorse this lawyer."
Criminal defense Attorney | Feb 07
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse attorney William Makler. He demonstrates an impressive knowledge of the law based on his outstanding legal answers on Avvo. He is skilled, experienced, and dedicated to his profession. A respected member within the legal community."
DUI and DWI Attorney | Dec 12
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer."
Criminal defense Attorney | Sep 28
Relationship: Other
"I endorse this lawyer."
Unknown Attorney | Sep 15
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse William. Highly respected in the legal community with a strong reputation for client advocacy and dedication."
Criminal defense Attorney | Aug 03
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I wholeheartedly endorse this lawyer. A brilliant attorney, highly respected in the legal community."
View more endorsements
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Santa Barbara DUI and DWI Lawyer William Carlos Makler
William Carlos Makler
DUI and DWI Attorney
Santa Barbara, CA
Licensed for 26 years
Free Consultation
Virtual consultation available