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William C. Makler

DUI and DWI Attorney at Santa Barbara, CA

5.0   197 reviews

also known as Bill Makler

Free consultation Virtual consultation available
Free consultation Virtual consultation available
  • Licensed for 27 years
    State CA
    Acquired 1996
    Status
    Active No misconduct found

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

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.

    28 years, 5,000 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.

    28 years, 5,000 cases

TONS OF HAPPY CLIENTS. 191 FIVE STAR REVIEWS SAYS IT ALL. NO BETTER REVIEWED LAWYER IN SB.

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.

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".

Location

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

Reviews

5.0 / 5.0
  197 customer reviews
5 Star
 
98%
4 Star
 
2%
3 Star
 
0%
2 Star
 
0%
1 Star
 
0%
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 Max | April 11, 2024
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
You'd be lucky to find him for help.
I was fortunate enough to be assisted by Mr. Makler, who was exceptionally helpful and attentive. Not only did Mr. Makler resolve my problem efficiently, but he also showed great patience and understanding throughout the process. His professionalism and dedication to providing excellent customer service were truly commendable. Thanks to his assistance. I really recommend this law office. If you have any problem.
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Posted by anonymous | April 11, 2024
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Life Saver
In August of '23 I had gotten a DUI and my life was turned upside down. I hired Mr. Makler, and his team ran me through of what needs to be done to avoid additional headaches and/or more legal issues. They handled the legal workload so I could continue with my day-to-day responsibilities and always updated me (via email) of what was needed and the current situation of the case. His team also has various means of communication if I had questions during the day or night. It's important to note that as the client you have a due diligence as well through the legal process, stay out of trouble; AA meetings; DUI classes; etc. That said, the final outcome was as good as it could be and I highly recommend William Makler and his legal team!
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Posted by Don | February 1, 2024
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Bill and Company were honorable and trustworthy advocates for my case
Bill was a godsend after I found myself in a once-in-a-lifetime predicament with serious ramifications. I had never faced such a challenge before, and I was at a loss for how to proceed. While the outcome was not ideal, I have no doubt that Bill did his utmost with the resources at his disposal. Moreover, I felt confident that I was in good hands and that he was an honorable and trustworthy advocate for my case.
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Response from William Makler February 25, 2024
Thank you, Don. We really appreciate you and the time you took to recommend us to others. It was an honor to represent you and feel free to call on us whenever the need (or a question we can answer) arises.
Posted by Flores | September 3, 2023
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Great Choice
My experience with Bill was nothing short of exceptional. As a first-timer getting into a legal bind, my anxiety levels were sky-high. However, Bill's dependable, clear, and empathetic approach helped ease my concerns. The process was slower than I had anticipated due to bureaucracy, a factor that tested my patience and stirred my worries. However, Bill's patient and calm demeanor, his clear communication, and his reassurances were constant throughout the process, helping to keep my nerves in check. He was always accessible, ready to explain any delays, and kept me updated on each development. The outcome of my case was a testament to Bill's expertise and unwavering commitment. I am confidently looking forward to my graduation and embarking on my professional journey. This peace of mind is invaluable, and it would not have been possible without Bill's exceptional legal services. Choosing Bill as my attorney was one of the best decisions I made during this ordeal. His timely interventions, knowledgeable advice, and dedication to my case led to a successful outcome. I highly recommend Bill to anyone in need of a competent, dedicated, and results-driven lawyer. His professionalism, paired with a personal touch, makes him truly commendable. I am forever grateful for his assistance during one of the most challenging times of my life.
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Posted by Mike | May 23, 2023
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Bill Makler review
I was extremely fortunate to be referred to Bill Makler after an incident occured while traveling in Santa Barbara County. Through the duration of my case Bill showed a very genuine demeanor, trustworthy character, and always proved to have a tremendous working knowledge of law and past practice. He also has a great reputation among his colleagues and well established working relationships. I highly recommend Bill to anyone needing legal services that are within his wheelhouse.
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Posted by Laurel | March 11, 2023
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Professional, experienced, diligent, kind
Everyone at the Law Offices of William C Makler was very helpful and professional — and unexpectedly kind and empathetic especially given the nature of our brother’s transgressions — during a very difficult time. I’m so glad we chose them.
Posted by Tyler | March 3, 2023
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
CASE DISMISSED
Bill was able to get my case completely dismissed! Highly recommend him to anyone dealing with legal issues.
Posted by anonymous | February 5, 2023
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Best Attorney in Santa Barbara
Bill is a very professional and competent attorney to work with in Santa Barbara. He and his team are very meticulous, detailed and organized. We hired him to solve a case for our child who got falsely framed. The truth was that our child was not at all involved in the crime and being a young adult never came across jargons or words used to communicate with the cops. The UCPD then mistook our child as the culprit without doing their own evidence search and filed an erroneous report to the DA's office. Bill handled the situation very well as he started to collect details, evidence and all possible data from the get-go. His team consoled us and told us not to worry too much. Bill took his time and we were anxious to know what progress is being made. The team worked together and finally helped get us out of the situation. Bill exhibited his wisdom, intellect and was kind enough to help us. He and his team were instrumental in resolving the situation and eventually the case got dismissed. I would highly recommend Bill for his professional behavior and utmost care provided to the clients. Really appreciate all the work he did for us. Kudos Bill! Thank You.
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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
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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

Sample of 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

Honors and 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)
Endorse William
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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Divorce and separation
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